Goats/goat coughing


  I have 2 miniature female pygmy goat sister's,they are almost 2. They are the only goats I have and are kept in very clean and cared for environment. This winter(their 2nd) one had been dry coughing,it's a deep hoarse cough,but otherwise she's eating and drinking and acting completely normal.She doesn't cough all the time,but enough that when I'm out there I hear coughing at least one full time which lasts about 5 seconds. It's been very cold here,but they have a small barn with a heat lamp in case they need to cuddle underneath it..and plenty of straw,no drafts in the barn at night,but during the day they have the bottom door open for fresh air and to go in and out. They have a heated bucket inside and fresh water always,as well as free access to hay..and I feed sweet feed in the am,about half a cup each.Is the coughing something I need to worry about? I adore my 2 girls,and am very concerned about the cough :(

ANSWER: Any dust or mold in the grain? What type of hay do you feed them?  Is the hay dusty at all - looking for true dirt dust or even a moldy dust.  Any nasal discharge? Peeing and pooping okay? The cough could be from lung worms or it could be from dusty/dry hay.  Could start by first wetting down the hay before feeding - this would be using water to spray off/wet down a flake of hay and let them eat that and repeat when you feed them their next hay.  Would not have free choice hay in the environment they are in as it can get moldy easily.  You can also use Children's Benadryl to help relieve the irritation and inflammation that could be causing the cough from the hay - use one half tablespoon per 50 pounds of weight.  If this does not help you could treat for lung worms - the regimen for this is using Safeguard oral horse wormer using three times the goat's weight to find the dosage on the plunger, then give that amount orally one time every 7 to 10 days for three times.  Hope this helps - let me know.   

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QUESTION: I only give fresh hay each morning and it lasts them the day,,I put it in their hay feeder off the ground(although they do waste a lot of it as it falls to the ground)
pooping is normal,peeing is clear,no discharge at all. I de-worm them in the spring and fall and I use Ivermectin pour on..
 They have been using the same hay source for 2 years, it's from a farmer beside us who supplies his hay to all the local farms.  Should I maybe shake it before I give it to them? If I were to wet it,wouldn't it go moldy even more afterwards? I will try the benadryl :) thank you!

Thanks for the update.  Re the Ivermectin pour on, I advise against this as it is made for sheep and cattle with tougher hides.  Goats have a much faster metabolism so it is possible for the ivermectin not to work and also cause intestinal issues.  With that said, most regular wormers do not kill lung worms or keep them away, except for fenbendazoles (Safeguard).  The Safeguard oral horse wormer in the three week time period is the best to kill the lung worms.

So this is grass hay then? Even when hay comes from the same source it can be dusty at times due to where it comes from in the hay field and some farmers cut closer than others when cutting hay so can pick up more dirt than wanted.  

Yes, shaking a flake of hay can help but also wetting it down - wetting down just one flake or two - I'm assuming that is the most you would put in their feeders in the a.m. - would not mold as you are just slightly wetting the hay - just spraying a little with a hose - and as I understand they eat all the hay in one day.  

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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