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Goats/Disbudding Infection? Followup


QUESTION: Last week I got both of my 2 month old Alpine Nubian cross boys castrated and dehorned. Clark, one of the goats, is doing fine aside from a little bow-legged walking. The holes in his head aren't gaping anymore, and they sort of look like they scabbed over. I'll include a picture, since no one seems to know what their heads are supposed to look like after dehorning. (Clark is the one with the big white patch on his forehead)

Lewis on the other hand, has a hole within the hole in his head, and it is leaking a very thick yellowish, whitish discharge. It's so thick and gooey that it isn't falling out, it's just sticking to his head. He had scratched at his head with his hoof and broke through his scab, and that's what caused the hole. I tried cleaning it today, but the goo just stayed put, even when I tried to rub it with a warm wash cloth. He isn't showing any signs of discomfort, he's still being his happy go lucky self, but I'm worried that this goo is an infection.

I'm a first time goat owner and haven't dealt with this before, and I don't know if I should panic or not. Should I take him to the vet? Please help!

ANSWER: Looks like whomever did the disbudding did it wrong - the photos show disbudding that was done too hard to the skull and so damaged the skin and underlying tissues.  Thanks much for the photos - those always help.  Lewis definitely has infection in his disbudded areas - he should be started on intramuscular penicillin injections - 1 cc twice a day for 5 days.  During this time he also should be on probiotics such as yogurt - you can mix the yogurt (about 1 teaspoon) with a little water to thin so you can give it orally, twice a day.  I would also use something called NFZ puffer to cover the infected areas - this is a powder that is "puffed" onto the affected areas - many feed/farm stores carry this.  If you have flies around you would also want to use some fly away horse ointment or spray around the area.  As Clark's disbudded areas look like they may have infection under the scabs I would start Clark on the same dosing regimen.  Hope this helps - let me know - Donna

PS Penicillin is usually always available at feed/farm stores - you would use a 22 gauge 3/4 inch needle for this - given in the thigh muscle of the rear legs - let me know if you have not given intramuscular injections and I can walk you through it.  

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QUESTION: Thank you so much for answering so quickly! I'll definitely get started on this right away. Do you know if they infection can lead to any permanent damage? Also, I've never given any kind of injection to goats before, so a walk through would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much again!

You're welcome.  Infections can certainly spread across the body but think you have caught it early.  In this case the scalp/hair there may not grow back well or it may be scarred a bit.  Re the injections - best place to give intramuscular injections is in the rear thigh of a goat - sort of the same place our thighs are - in kid goats these will of course be smaller but if you gently squeeze the large area in the rear legs you will feel the muscles there - use of the small gauge and short length needle usually keeps you away from any nerve or vein issues - the longer needles may touch a nerve below the muscle and cause a limp (not permanent); and the longer needles can also reach the veins in and around the muscle and goats can be allergic to antibiotics in their veins.  The short needle should keep you away from these issues but I would recommend once the needle is in the muscle that you draw back just slightly on the plunger (this is a very short amount, barely millimeters) - if you are in a vein the barrel of the syringe will immediately fill with blood - if that happens you just pull out, squeeze out the contents of the barrel and draw up new penicillin - can use the same needle though if you want.  Once you pull back a touch on the plunger and no red color in the barrel, inject the medicine.  Do hope this helps - Donna  


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Donna Ruelas-Semasko/Edelweiss Acres


All goat health care, nutrition, judging questions about all goats - packgoats, dairy goats, pygmy goats, meat goats, fleece goats.


27 years health care/nutrition of all types of goats, 17 years experience in packgoats, 20 years experience in 4H goat projects as leader, superintendent and judge. 20 years experience in putting on goat care/nutrition seminars.

NAPgA, The Evergreen Packgoat Club, 4H, ADGA.

Hobby Farm, many newspapers, 4H newsletters, Packgoat Manuals (youth and general), judging information pamphlets, seminar handouts about health care and nutrition.

4 years of college, ongoing education in goats.

Awards and Honors
Small Farm Award of Thurston County

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