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Goats/Weak 8 month old goat kid


QUESTION: We live in South Africa and have recently started raising indigenous veld goats. We have a 8 month old goat kid who is very weak.  She has gotten progressively worse and we don't know what to do for her anymore.  

It started with us noticing that her stool wasn't normal about three weeks ago.  We treated her for diarrhea, but she didn't get better.  We noticed that her eyelids were white and treated her and all the other kids for worms.  She still didn't get better.   Some days she would be stronger than others, walking around and grazing with the others.  

A week later when we took her temperature and saw that it was low, we thought she might have acidosis from eating too much concentrated feed and started treating for that.  She seemed to get better and her stool was turning normal - it was still clumpy.  But she still got weaker, some days she can't stand at all, others she can walk around and graze if we help her to her feet.  

Her mother completely abandoned her about two weeks ago.  We keep her separate from the rest of the herd, because they bully her.  None of the other goats have shown any symptoms.   

Last week we heard a rumbling in her chest as she breathed and started treating for pneumonia.  The rumbling went away and her stool became normal.  But she is still weak.  Monday she could get up by herself (with a lot of effort) and walk around fine, yesterday her front legs were weak again and she could stand if we set her upright, but fell down as soon as she tried to take a step forward.  She would still crawl around on her elbows energetically though.  Today she can't even manage that.  

The whole time she was sick she never lost her apatite.  We feed her lots of green leaves, but cut down on the concentrated feed.

We are really worried.  Every time she seems to start to get better and we start to think she is getting better, but then her health dips again.  Today she is looking really bad.

What are we missing?  And how do we make her better?

ANSWER: What is her temperature exactly? What color was the diarrhea? What type of wormer are you using.  When you say you treated her for worms, did you treat her for the barber pole worm or liver flukes which are what cause the "white"/anemia in a goat and not regular worms.  She could have a pneumonia which may or may not come with a fever.  She could have the barber pole worm which would create the anemia and make her weak.  The color of the diarrhea would tell us what was causing it.  Re the temperature - anything over 102.5 is a fever and low would be under 100.  I would start her on a regimen to kill liver flukes or barber pole worm; I would also start her on injectable penicillin; would also start her on probiotics; would also use iron to help with anemia if indeed her lower inner eyelids are white to very light pink in color.  Let me know about my questions and I will get back to you - Donna

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


Thank you very much for the quick response.  Bettie is looking better again and is walking around a bit.

I measured her temperature and it is about 104 (I'm converting from degrees Celsius 40.2) so she definitely has a fever. Her lower inner eyelids are still white.

The wormer we use is CEVA Maxicare, it includes liver fluke and barber pole worm.  Would you suggest we dose her again?

The diarrhea was grey-ish in colour, but it was like really soft clay rather than runny.  Her stool is still a bit lighter in colour than normal.

Thanks again,

Thanks for the update.  Yes, she has a high fever.  She would need human aspirin at one 325 mg aspirin tablet crushed and dissolved in a little hot water, cooled and given orally every 4 hours until the fever goes down.  The fever indicates an infection that could be either enterotoxemia or pneumonia.  I have not used Maxicare, but it is known that a goat must be treated with high doses of fenbendazole once a week for three weeks in order to kill barber pole or liver flukes - these are not regular stomach worms and need the higher dose and longer dosing.  We use Safeguard oral horse wormer with fenbendazole in it - using three times the goat's weight to find the dosing on the plunger.  Then this is given once a week for three weeks.  During this time the goat also must have iron to treat the anemia - human iron tablets work well.  The diarrhea being a grayish color and clay like can be from the barber pole worm or from pneumonia.  I would also treat for both enteroxemia and pneumonia - penicillin at 3 cc/100 pounds intramuscularly twice a day for 5 days and give a CDT booster at 2 cc now, then again in 6 hours, then again tomorrow - this is the CDT toxoid (antitoxin is only available on the internet) and use of the toxoid can sometimes give the immune system enough help to create antibodies needed to go against the enterotoxemia.  Hope this helps - let me know - 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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