Goats/swollen joints


QUESTION: I have a baby goat, born June 3, with swollen knees and pasterns. He was disbudded ten days ago but these symptoms started showing Monday evening. I have taken his temperature 105 and given three shots of penicillin 3cc each last night (1pm, 6pm and 9pm) and the last one at 6am this morning. I think he may be constipated now. I do know he started eating grain with his mom about a week ago but didn't notice any large amounts since mom is quick to finish it up. I am going to treat for the constipation but can I give CD antitoxin even after the penicillin or are they counter active?

ANSWER: So he definitely has a fever and needs aspirin at one quarter of a 325 mg human aspirin crushed and dissolved in a little hot water, cooled and given orally every 4 hours until the fever is down below 102.5. The aspirin will also help with the swelling. He definitely has an infection and the penicillin is a good start - is this being given intramuscularly? If not then he is not getting penicillin he needs.  If he is not better in another day I would switch to LA200 - oxytetracycline - which is 4.5 cc/100 pounds once a day for 4 days, also intramuscular injection (22 gauge 3/4 inch needle and use of the thigh muscles).  This sounds more like a joint ill that could have been growing and the stress of disbudding caused the bacteria to multiply.  Also, at the time of disbudding did you give him his first CDT toxoid vaccination?  For constipation would give milk of magnesia and mineral oil - one tablespoon of each, given orally now and again in 4 hours.  CDT antitoxin and penicillin are not counteractive.  During the time a goat is on antibiotics it must also be on probiotics so would start those too - yogurt works well - one teaspoon twice a day - I mix in with a little water and orally drench.  Is the little one eating? Let me know - Donna

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: If I switch from the penicillin where can I get the oxytetracycline? Yes I am giving the penicillin IM. Although I did give the last SQ because I was told that was just as efficient. I am doubting that now. This little guy only weighs about 20lbs so would I give 1cc instead of the 4.5cc. We started the probios at the same time as the penicillin. In ten years of goats this is the first baby goat that is sick.

ANSWER: Thanks for the update.  SQ only gets 1/4 to 1/2 of the medicine to the goat whereas IM gets all of it where it needs to go.  Re the LA-200 - feed/farm stores many times carry this.  Although it does sting and therefore I like to get something called Biomycin (same oxytetracycline) which has an added medicine to keep it from stinging.  At 20 pounds for penicillin it would be 1 cc twice a day for 5 days and for the oxytetracycline it would be 1.5 cc once a day for 4 days or once every other day for four doses.  The Biomycin is available online - many goat supply companies carry it.  Glad you started the probios.  Hope this helps - Donna

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi Donna - Well I think the fever is down but not much change in the swelling. He is walking stiff legged and doesn't nurse because he won't bend his knees. Too much pressure I think. I am trying to bottle feed but he doesn't take to it too well. He hollers every time I move his joints. It seems he walks around until he can't anymore and then tries to lay down and ends up flat on his side. I am trying to go out about every two hours and hold him so he will rest and relax and eat something. Will the swelling eventually go away? Am I doing the right thing by treating this or am I making a bad thing prolong?

Thanks for being available!!

Thanks for the update.  Glad the fever is down but would stay with aspirin use to help with pain and swelling.  You can also use either peppermint oil lotion (I make my own - a little peppermint oil in some human body lotion) to rub on and open the tissues to allow fluid in an out, or can try cabbage leaves that are partially boiled and then as hot as you can stand place them as a compress around the joints for a few minutes - this also helps open the tissues.  Can also use liniment - people or horse type to massage into the joints.  It may take a few days before swelling starts to go down and bacteria starts to die from the antibiotics.  What type of nipple are you using on the bottle?  A Pritchard teat - yellow band with red nipple - works very nicely or you could even try a human baby bottle - I stay away from the "lamb" nipples (black ones).  Know it is frustrating, but just keep trying to get that nipple in his mouth and then hold his muzzle closed gently and they usually finally start taking it.  

Most all infections can be taken care of with either penicillin or the oxytetracycline - it may take a few days - I would keep treating him.  You can give him some children's benadryl - perhaps 1/4 teaspoon to start with as this also gives some pain relief and makes the goat sleepy/relaxed too.  Hope this helps - keep me posted - Donna


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


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

©2017 About.com. All rights reserved.