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Goats/Goat still down


QUESTION: Hi Donna! Had a couple follow up questions about our little guy that we thought had meningeal worm. We have been doing everything you recommended. The Vitamin B shots, probios, penn shots, and electrolytes every 3 hrs. We started this Monday evening and my husband was curious when we should see a dramatic improvement. He seems to think that he won't get back up and walk ever again. I don't want to give up too soon, but thought I would ask for thoughts. Is there an amount of time where you just know the goat won't get up any more. He moves his legs around some, so I wouldn't think he is paralyzed. His head will still fall back to the right side when we try and left him up to stand on his legs. My husband seems to think there is something wrong with his neck. Still not eating and drinking on his own either. Any other suggestions or have you had any cases like this where it just takes a long period of time for improvement? Thanks again for all your help :) We really do appreciate it!

ANSWER: Hi there - thanks for the update.  Since the little guy was 6 days without treatment, and we have the possible diagnoses covered, it may take as long as 4 to 6 weeks before you see a definite huge improvement.  The vitamin B injections you are giving him, are these the complex with thiamin in them?  If not then he is probably selenium deficient.  And, if there is not enough vitamin D given at the same time (that is why I use oral selenium/E/D - all given at the same time in large amounts orally) then the selenium is not working to help with his muscles.  How is his temperature? What color are his lower inner eyelids?  Did we talk about getting him started on some "mush" so his rumen has something to stay alive with, along with the probiotics?  You can use any human cereal ground up well (including prepared oatmeal), mix with molasses or karo syrup, and if possible mix with a multivitamin as well as ground up rabbit alfalfa pellets (these are smaller than regular alfalfa livestock pellets and easier to grind up in a blender) - mix well, add electrolytes until the mixture is thin enough to draw up into an oral drenching syringe or turkey baster and given orally at 1/2 cup every 4 hours.  Also, you have been giving the penicillin intramuscularly, correct?

I usually give a goat 4 to 6 weeks of treatment before thinking about euthanizing because of lack of improvement.  Hope this helps - let me know - Donna

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QUESTION: Thank you so much for the response. The vitamin B injections are complex. It says on the back that each mL contains Thiamine Hydrochloride (B1) 100mg. We have been giving him 5cc a day. Is this correct? His temp has been very good. It is always anywhere between 101 and 102.5 We take it every 3 hrs. His lower inner eyelids are a very light pink. We have started him on oatmeal with yogurt and started on probios yesterday. Is there anything else we should be putting in the mush? Penicillin has been given 2xs a day since Tuesday @ 2cc in his thigh. I think he has already made huge improvements just by talking ALOT more and trying to lift his head. I had to hose him down yesterday outside to get him cleaned up a little and when the water hit him and was moving all 4 legs and trying to roll up to his feet but didn't have any success. BUT I thought it was a HUGE improvement just seeing him move so much. If there is anything else that you would recommend please let us know. We are open to all options and we will definitely be calm and not lose our patience with him. Also, we stopped by the vets again today and picked up Dexamethasone injections. Is it worth still giving him these? Do you think it will help with his neck still being very tight and turned to the side.

Thanks much for the updates.  You are correct about his moving being a good sign.  Re B complex injections, I do not use these as I try and use oral human vitamins and such - easier to get than going to the vet and less injections to the goat.  But that's not to say they are not good.  For an oral dose I generally give 500 mg twice daily - I use human vitamin B complex tablets, crush them and dissolve them in a little hot water and give orally.  You could add vitamin D 2000 to 5000 units twice a day to help increase his own immune system - again you can either use the capsules and squeeze out the oil or you can get tablets and crush and dissolve them.  Glad you started the mush, sometimes the goat will start wanting to eat this himself from a bowl and then at that time I add less liquid so he has something to start chewing on.  Re the dexamethasone, if it is meningeal worm this could help as it is a steroid/anti-inflammatory.  With that said I use aspirin more often than not for anti-inflammatory needs.  But, again if you have it and give it to him it should not hurt him, so no worries there.  The neck being tight and turned to one side is from the secondary disease of polioencephalomalacia which happens when the goat stops eating and therefore gets no thiamin - once the goat starts getting enough thiamin the head gradually begins to turn back to normal.  Some goats even go blind with this thiamin deficiency and again with enough thiamin the blindness usually goes away.  

You are doing a great job - I know it is hard and tiring and you wonder if there he's ever going to get back to being a normal goat - all we can do is try our best for them - which you are doing an excellent job at - keep up the hope - call me too if you want, anytime - or e-mail is fine too - 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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