You are here:

Goats/Goat down - diagnosis meningeal worm


QUESTION: Our 7 month old Nubian male weighs 60lbs has been down for 6 days now. We found him in with our horses on Tuesday and assumed they trampled him. He got worse so we took him to the vet Thursday. Vet said he had meningeal worm. At this stage he was not moving at all. I was syringing electrolyte fluids into his mouth and his neck was cocked back to the right side touching his body. Vet gave him 2 shots - Ivomec Plus and a shot to relieve the pressure off his brain. He said to continue with the fluids and sent us home with a shot for Friday and 1 for today(Sunday) the same to relieve the pressure. Also said to dose him for 125lbs of Safeguard that evening. I am suppose to call him back tomorrow for a progress report. He is now blinking his eyes, moving head just a little, can keep neck straightened out and wagging tail every now and then and moving front right leg. Seems like small progress to everyone else I talk to but I am very excited. After reading other things on here about treatment for meningeal worm I feel like we did not take a more severe approach. I feel like we were getting brushed off a little to just see how the weekend went. Is there anything else we can be doing for him. I like your answers that you do not give up on an animal and this little guy is my 5 yr old daughters. Anything else we can be doing for him. We have also been giving him Vitamin B once a day - 6cc. Thanks!

ANSWER: What symptoms brought on the diagnosis of meningeal worm?  Had he been eating and drinking up until you found him? What was and is his temperature (a measurement please)?  The head turned back is due to a secondary disease from not eating called polioencephalomalacia - this is not the first illness.  Would like some other symptoms that he had.  Not getting up can be due to pneumonia or anemia or a number of other illnesses and then with him not eating the polio came on.  Did the vet start him on penicillin or another antibiotic?  Do you have him on thiamin injections or at least vitamin B complex oral pills? Is he eating yet?  Is he on probiotics too?  Let me know - there are lots of things this can be - where are you located - are deer coming into the goat's pasture? Let me know - Donna

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

QUESTION: He was staggering around, pushing his body into fences, he would get up and try to walk and then stagger to one side and fall down. He was eating and drinking up until the day we found him but noticed he stayed a little ways away from the other goats while grazing. Took his temp last Thursday in the morning and it went down to 98.6 and we put a heating pad and warm blankets on him. A couple hrs later it came up to 101.5 and it has stayed between 101 and 102.8 ever since Thursday afternoon. We take it every 3 hrs. His temp right now is 101.2. The inside of his eyelids are a very light pink color. The vet said with the meningeal worm penicillin would not work so we only gave him that on Wednesday and Thursday morning before we went to the vets office and stopped after we saw him. We are giving him Vitamin B Complex injections every day 6cc. Says on the bottle each ml contains 100mg of Thiamine. He is not eating yet on his own. He is just starting to get more motion in his mouth. I have been syringing 1/2 qt electrolytes every 3 hrs into his mouth and he takes it very well swallowing. We have LOTS of deer running around everywhere out here. We live in the northeastern part. The goats are in a a 7 acre fenced area and have lots of brush and small trees to munch on. When I walked into our mud room this morning he was trying to lift his head to look at me and actually started talking to me. He looks to have a lot of life left in his eyes. I really don't want to give up on him too soon. We are definitely willing to put in the extra time with him. We are suppose to call the vet back this morning with a progress report but wanted to hear your thoughts first.

ANSWER: Thanks for the info.  The symptoms you describe can be pneumonia, leptospirosis, listeriosis, poison intake (plant/mushrooms).  The thiamine is what is helping him get out of the secondary disease of polio, very glad the vet knows about that.  Also, if he is not eating still he must have something in his rumen to keep it alive.  Probiotics (yogurt works well) along with a nutrient mush that is thinned enough to allow you to orally drench him with it.  One tablespoon yogurt (any kind or flavor) mixed with human oatmeal (mixed) or other cereals along with molasses, blend in blender and add electrolytes until thinned.  Give 1/2 cup every 4 hours.  When you are looking at the eyelids, you are looking at the lower inner eyelids, correct?  The lack of color is usually a sign of anemia which can be from the meningeal worm but more often it is from liver flukes or the barber pole worm.  None of the wormer your vet has used will kill the barber pole worm or liver flukes.  With goats it is best to use a kitchen sink method - especially since there has not been a brain biopsy to prove that meningeal worm is the ultimate diagnosis.  So, if I have a goat like this brought to me or asked about I suggest the following:

Penicillin intramuscular (thigh muscles - 1/2 inch 20 gauge needle) at 3 cc/100 pounds body weight (this can be purchased at feed and farm stores) twice a day for 7 days; continue with thiamine injections of if you have no injections use of vitamin B complex at 5 times the dose for a human twice a day works well (these must be ground up and dissolved in a little hot water, cooled and given orally); continue with electrolytes orally; start on liver fluke/barber pole worm regimen using Safeguard oral horse paste (yes, horse) using a dose at three times the goat's weight given orally once every 7 to 10 days for three dosings; give the rumen nutritional mush until he is starting to eat himself.  Give iron in the form of Geritol liquid (same dosing as for an adult) or you can use iron tablets (again must grind up and dissolve before giving orally).  The above will not hurt him but generally this regimen helps from any of the illnesses that he could have.

Do hope this helps - Donna

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

QUESTION: Donna thank you so much for the quick responses. We are doing everything that you recommended. Called the vet today with our progress report and we picked up 2 more Dexamethasone injections. They recommended giving one tomorrow(Tuesday) and another one Thursday and then to call them again with any progress. He is talking much more this evening and lifting his head a little more. I did notice that is tongue is grayish in the front and very white from the middle to the back. Didn't know if it was from anything or not. Again thank you for all your help. My 5 yr old daughter has been syringing everything into him. We put him in her lap and she holds his head up for him. We will keep you updated on our progress with Smokey.

Hi there - thanks for the update.  The color of the tongue is from his systems not working as well as they should - circulation is lacking - but, with the talking more and lifting his head a bit more, I would say that circulation should be getting better.  Your 5-year old sounds like a real trooper - goats tend not to be good patients and they need all the help they can get - sounds like she is doing a great job.  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

©2016 All rights reserved.