You are here:

Goats/buck dragging hind leg

Advertisement


Question
I have a Nigerian Buck who is about 5 1/2 yrs. Have never had any problems w/ worms, hair loss, weight gain or anything. I noticed a couple weeks ago he was limping a little and blamed it on the wet weather we all have been having.After no change over a couple days I decided to look over the hoof. I scrubbed it, cleaned out mud and it really seemed to be ok.  Still continued to limp but now seems as if he is more dragging his hind leg then limping. Thought I would try selinium tabs (over the counter) and also vitamin E yesterday.  I gave him 8 100 mg selinium and I think 4 vitamin e pills. ( oil only)   As of this afternoon he does seem to be doing a little better with his motor skills.   What should my next step be?   I ruled out his hoof when I would watch him and when he would go to turn it was like he leg would not and he would fall down.  I rubbed up and down his leg and nothing seems to be bothering him.  I did give him a dose of tetnus a couple days agao also

Answer
HI Julie:
Is there any chance he got  hit by another goat? Almost makes me think it is a spinal injury. Could be something injured in his neck even. The only way to see if the spine is ok is Xray -
The other thing it may be is deer worm.. or more correctly  Meningeal worm -
Are there white tail deer crossing through your yards?  Are there snails or slugs around? This is how they are transmitted..  eating dead leaves with snails or slugs on them  that have been infected by deer - One of the symptoms is  leg dragging -
This is a good article on deerworm:
   

MENINGEAL DEERWORM INFECTION IN GOATS

Goat producers who live in areas where whitetail deer are abundant should be concerned about Meningeal Deerworm infection in their goats. Rainfall, swampy ground, and leaf litter compound the problems but the presence of white-tail deer are the key.

Sometimes called deerworm or brainworm, the parasite Parelaphostrongulus tenuis uses the whitetail deer as its host and passes through the deer's body without harming it. But with goats, the deerworm seems to "get lost" and winds up in the spinal canal . . . causing hind leg weakness and unsteadiness, progressing to hind leg dragging, inability to walk in a straight line, rear end wobbling from side to side, tremors, inability to stand, and paralysis. Once the larvae migrate over the body, the goat oftentimes but not always experiences intense itching and may begin chewing holes in its hide. There may be multiple small patches or one large patch of leathery skin, often behind the front leg of the body and moving up to the neck area. Shaving the hair off the sites where itching and chewing are occurring will usually reveal a straight line of hard nodules leading from the spine over which the skin has thickened. These are the subcutaneous larvae migrating throughout the goat's body. If the producer diagnoses the problem before paralysis occurs, full recovery is possible.

Goats who develop Meningeal Deerworm infection get it by ingesting the intermediate host, a slug or snail, while browsing in wet areas, such as ponds or swamps, or under dead leaves, branches, and trees. Warm weather in early winter and the resulting lack of snow cover has made this disease common in the eastern part of the United States. Goat producers who raise alpacas, llamas, or related ruminants may find that these camelids are even more susceptible to Meningeal Deerworm disease than goats or sheep.

The producer should suspect Meningeal Deerworm disease if the goat displays neurologic signs or any problem involving the spinal cord, from leg dragging to inability to get up. The disease can be a slow progression of symptoms or can strike suddenly. Pneumonia is a common secondary problem, since the goat is down and therefore inactive. The infected goat does not seem to be in pain, other than the itching; most goats eat and drink until death occurs.

Treatment involves very high dosages of Ivomec Plus or generic equivalent. Ivermectin paste or pour-on are not effective. Ivomec Plus or generic equivalent is recommended because if snails or slugs are present, so may also be liver flukes, and Ivomec Plus will handle both conditions at the same time. Ivomec Plus should be given at a rate of 1 cc per 25 pounds bodyweight for at least seven days, followed by a double-the-cattle dosage of fenbendazole (Safeguard/ Panacur) for five days. (Jeffers carries both dewormers.) Dosing too low means that the deerworm continues to do damage. Enough medication needs to remain in the goat's system so that the blood-brain barrier can be crossed in order to kill the larvae that have already penetrated the spinal column. If the goat is down and can't get up on its own, the chance for recovery is not good. An anti-inflammatory drug like Banamine can be useful in alleviating the inflammation of nerve tissue. Dexamethosone should also be used if paralysis is present, dosing at approximately 8 cc per 100 lbs bodyweight and stepping down one cc per day. Dex should be given into the muscle (IM). If the sick goat is a pregnant doe, use the dexamethasone and let her abort, because she isn't likely to survive if she is trying to grow fetuses while fighting this disease. If the producer is concerned about using Dexamethasone and Banamine at the same time, then use the Dex and forget the Banamine. When symptoms are found in one goat, the producer should either treat the entire herd or watch everyone closely daily for symptoms and begin treatment immediately if discovered.

This treatment, if utilized early in the disease, can stop its progression but cannot undo any nerve damage. Permanent spinal damage (including curvature), weakness in the hindquarters, and/or inability to deliver kids may be the residual effect of Meningeal Deerworm infection. Once the spinal cord is damaged, treatment can only do so much and the goat will never be back to full health. Producers should let at least one month pass before becoming convinced that the animal has been successfully treated.

In the northern and eastern parts of the United States, most infections occur in late summer/early fall or early winter, following a wet summer and mild fall. The larval migration of P. tenuis can take from ten days to over three months. If weather conditions produce wet ground, leaf litter or other slug habitat, and temperatures above 55*F, then meningeal deerworm is likely to appear six weeks after the first warm day and exist for the same number of days that the warm temperatures lasted. Said another way, if two weeks of warm weather occurs in November, watch for the appearance of meningeal deerworm in January. During these timeframes, some producers are using Ivomec Plus or its generic equivalent monthly for up to four months during the at-risk seasons.

Although laboratory testing of the cerebrospinal fluid produces an accurate diagnosis, the key to treatment of Meningeal Worm infection is early aggressive treatment. If all indications tell the producer that the goat is infected with P. tenuis, forget the testing and get on with treatment.

Prevention is difficult. The only proven preventative medication is administering Ivomec Plus or its generic equivalent monthly during slug and snail season. Because slugs and snails travel, ponds, swamps, and leafy wooded areas should be fenced off at least 200 yards from the areas to avoid so goats cannot become exposed to slugs and snails. Test for existence of slugs and snails by putting dry dog food in a small plastic cup, place it on the ground, and cover it with a bucket or box. Check the bucket or box at sunrise and sundown. If you find slugs, you have a potential Meningeal Deerworm problem in play.

-------------

With the weird weather we have all had - if the conditions in your area fit the conditions  for deerworm, I think I would  treat for that right away..


goatlady
Goat-Link.com

Goats

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Goatlady

Expertise

Specializing in New Goat Owner understanding of goat physiology, goat anatomy, goat care and herd management. *I am not a veterinarian, any advice and information should be verified by your veterinarian before administering to your goats. (! During times of severe weather in the Midwest, I may experience a delay in internet service due to the interference of the satellite reception - but will answer your questions as soon as service is restored. !) Note: Keep in mind, the goat expert is volunteering her time to help other goat owners, she also runs her farm with her own herd of 100 goats and may not be at her computer at all hours. Questions are answered as soon as she can possibly read and answer them, usually within 24 hours.

Experience

23 years experience of raising goats and herd management. Active hands on experience with goat herd and research with various Caprine University Research and Extension Centers nationwide. 15 years dedicated to helping other goat breeders/owners with goat anatomy, goat disease and goat health care issues via phone, published goat care articles and internet interaction. The information I have to offer is not only from personal experience and years of research updated often as new information is made available to me, but supported by many Veterinary Research colleges and all medications and information I have to offer on how the medications work and what dosages "I" use, is information I have acquired by discussing directly with the company's veterinarians and staff research experts.

Organizations
12 year active member of International Veterinary Information Service

Publications
United Caprine News, Homesteaders Magazine, Columnist for Goat Magazine, Owner and Author of GoatPedia™

Education/Credentials
Graduate Programs in Medicine, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Stanford University

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.