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Goats/goat gasping for air ...HELP looks like suffocating


QUESTION: nigerian dwarf..milk doe with 7wk old baby.. noticed watery stool. started herbal worming for 2 days..was listless laying down a lot..not nursing (no milk coming out) so I safeguarded her. she is now gasping for air standing up with neck stretched out..looks as if afraid to lay down. drank some molases water (wanted to see if she would drink at all) when drank from water bucket didnt leave head down long began stretching her neck out and gasping again. saliva is hanging from open mouth. both sides are low so thinking it cant be can see her heaving for air. please help. Vets closed..its late at night.

ANSWER: Please call 3607428310
Sounds like the doe has an infection, possibly pneumonia.  Start on penicillin injectable if possible - 3 cc per 100 pounds body weight, twice this amount for first dose, regular dose, twice a day then for 5 days.  What is her temperature? If she has not been eating for several days this is also probably secondary illness of polio - needs B1 vitamin/thiamin immediately - human B complex works 10 tablets crushed and dissolved in a little hot water, cooled and given orally now and again in 6 hours.  So, antibiotics (penicillin if possible and this needs to be given intramuscularly) and B1.  Keep hydrated with electrolytes given as an oral drench if she is not drinking.  Please feel free to give me a call anytime, literally anytime, at the 360-742-8310 number.  Donna

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QUESTION: Thank you Donna for your response. She died in our arms this morning. I am thinking that it may have been a rumen issue? What I percieved as "gasping" as I look back on it now seemed a bit like when they regurgitate the cud. Im thinking maybe it was bloat after all (without the extended side?) She was breathing fine..but I think what I thought as breathing heaving was actually the "regurgitation" effects. But nothing was coming out. when I rubbed her side we saw alomost a vapor like steam come from her open mouth. Now I need to figure out how to take care of her baby who still has diarrhea..even tho we gave him safeguard. And are giving him Immune boosting herb mixture. Im afraid after loosing him mom the stress of not having her could turn his situation ugly. Any tips? He is affectionate and follows me but I cant be out with him all day. He licks at the bottle nipple but wont suckle it.

ANSWER: Sorry to hear of the loss.  The symptoms sound like polio which is the secondary illness to many other illnesses, and it sounds like she could have had a pneumonia or another bacterial infection.  If no distension then no bloat.  Regurgitation effect issues are also part of the polio illness.  Had she not been eating for a few days before she went down? The stretching of the neck is also a symptom of both pneumonia and polio.

Re the kid goat - need to get her on the bottle as soon as possible.  I advise using the Pritchard teat - red nipple with yellow band - these work very well.  Putting the kid goat between your legs with the face pointing out, then using one hand put the nipple into its mouth and with the other hand hold the muzzle closed gently.  Usually takes a few tries before the kid realizes this is where the milk will be coming from.  What color is the kids diarrhea?  Green is coccidiosis, brown is either bacterial infection or digestive upset, yellow is enterotoxemia and white is E. coli.  Let me know and I can get you a remedy to start it on.  Also, please don't hesitate to call me too.  But, I generally try to look at my e-mails often.  Donna

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QUESTION: The diarrhea is more a dark green I would think then brown. I grabbed my grandson's bottle ( I use these type all the time for bottle kids)and put a little molasses in it to entice him to drink it. Took a bit of coaxing but finally got him to drink about 2oz..he was more interested in the grass sticking out of the dirt (tons of grass and they focus on the bare stuff). He drinks water, eats his momma's grain and grazes so hoping a bit of milk here and there will finish him up for weaning time. Another kid was very into drinking it tho lol. I also just gave him a fingertip of probiotics. I cleaned him off about 8:30 and its 11 now and he still is nice and clean. Not seeing any poo yet. But before I cleaned him it looked like fresh Dk Green poo under his tail.

Did the mom also have diarrhea? It is possible the kid does have coccidiosis which kid goats easily get when stressed.  All goats have coccidia in their systems and all pastures carry coccidia.  When stressed because kid goats do not have a full immune system the coccidia grow rapidly and cause the diarrhea, taking all nutrition from the kid goat.  Great idea on probiotics.  Would at least start him on pepto bismol (human type) at one tablespoon every 2 hours for two doses and then see if that stops the diarrhea.  If not and the diarrhea gets more watery and/or mucousy then would advise starting on oral sulfa (feed stores have the powder) given in with the pepto at 1/8 teaspoon twice a day for 3 days.  Glad he is eating other things.  Baby bottles certainly can work with some goats so glad you tried that.  Sounds like you are watching  him closely.  Hope this helps - 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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