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Goats/Goat stomach problems


QUESTION: I have a young goat born in March that is having stomach problems. About 3 weeks ago he was not eating and was bleating and stretching out his back legs. He also seemed to be in pain when trying to lay down. The vet saw him and gave him a shot for pain, that's it. So after a couple of days he got better. Now on Monday of this week he isn't eating and just stands in the barn. He doesn't seem to want to lay down. I have been giving him 4 ounces of Milk of Magnesia four times a day since yesterday evening. I haven't seen him drink or pee and he poops just a little bit. I also put out some baking soda but he didn't seem too interested. I'm not sure what else to do.

ANSWER: What is his temperature? What feed regimen have you had him on? The bleating and stretching sound like either urinary calculi or constipation.  Is he eating now? Is he drinking water? 4 ounces of milk of mag four times a day is a bit much for a little guy.  

It could be a pneumonia with secondary constipation.  

A temp would help us figure out closer to what is going on.  Perhaps the vet took a temp, and if so what was the measurement then?  Is he standing up hunched up?

Let me know about my questions and I will get back to you with a more definitive answer/regimen.  Thanks - Donna

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

QUESTION: I have not taken his temp but the vet did and it was normal. He has been eating alfalfa pellets, a very small amount of grain and some black oil sunflower seeds (handful). This is his normal diet with some tree branches thrown in. He will eat the tree leaves and that's all. I have not seen him drink. He is standing but is not hunched up. As far as him being a little guy, he probably weighs about 80 lbs.

Thanks for the update.  Unfortunately "normal" does not help - to many vets up to 104 is normal and it is definitely not normal.  And, even low temps some vets consider to be normal but, again, are not.

Alfalfa wether hay or pellets has too much calcium for wethers and bucks and can easily cause urinary calculi (stones).

Anything around his pasture that he could have eaten that should not have been eaten to include sticks, pieces of wood, pastic bags, etc.?

Re the milk of magnesia, the regimen is usually 1/2 cup per 75 pounds body weight once or twice a day.  

Since we do not know what he has I would advise treating as a "kitchen sink" method.

If the goat were mine, I would do the following:

Take a temp if possible.  Then start the goat on intramuscular injection of penicillin at 3 cc/100 pounds twice a day; probiotics twice a day (yogurt at one teaspoon thinned with a little water to give orally); give 1/4 cup of human mineral oil twice, 4 hours apart just today (for possible constipation); also give 1/2 cup concentrated lemon juice (not diluted) per 75 pounds body weight now and again in 2 hours (for possible urinary stones), giving again the second day, same dosing; give aspirin (human 325 mg one per 100 pounds) every 4 hours for 2 days - tablet needs to be crushed and dissolved in a little hot water, cooled and given orally; orally drench with electrolytes (pedialyte type or gatorade or livestock electrolytes) to keep him hydrated or if you can get him to drink some water flavored with kool-aid or other sweetener; give him 4 tablets of vitamin B complex (human) tablets (with vitamin B1/thiamin in them) or 2 tablets of human vitamin B1 - again you need to crush the tablets and dissolved in a little hot water - give twice a day until he is eating well again.  Would stop the alfalfa pellets.  Put him either on a good grass hay or orchard grass hay and general livestock pelleted feed (look at the label to be sure calcium to phosphorus ratio is at least 2:1 but best is 3:1), which usually has about 12 to 14% protein level.  Would take him off the sunflower seeds too, as it is possible that he ate too much of the seeds at once and now it is bolused up in his intestine causing a blockage, which the mineral oil may or may not help (may need more oil to get that to move - mineral oil (human type) is best and I would stay away from cooking oil.  

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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