Hello!  I have a 9 month old goat who stands up against the fence and arches his head backwards like he's stretching his neck to look at things behind him upside-down.  At first I thought he was just being weird, or pretending he still had horns to scratch his back, but he's been doing it for about three weeks.  Other than that, his behavior is normal.  I noticed that with the other questions about Listeriosis that have been answers here, the goats have multiple symptoms.

We have given him B1 shots for five days at the vet's recommendation and after we researched Listeriosis online.  He still is stretching his head back- never all the time, but often enough that I notice it.  What's confusing me is that he has had no other symptoms at all- he's not uncoordinated, no diarrhea, no muscle tremors, etc.  He seems just like his usual self.  

Could this just be an odd behavior of his?  Or should we continue with the B1 shots?  Our hay and grain isn't moldy.  I give my two goats about two cups of grain twice a day.  Is that too much?  I did give them a pumpkin to eat a few times in October and they ate each one quickly.  I also gave them some dry field corn on the cob, but no more than one cob a day a week or so ago.  I'm sure there was a small amount of mold only on the tips of the corn because it's been outside all year.  Since I suspected his behavior was more than him just being goofy I haven't given them corn or pumpkins.  

These are my first two goats so I'm still trying to figure out what's normal and what's not.  Thanks so much for the help!

Is he an intact male? What is his temperature? Is he eating normally and drinking water normally?  Is his poop normal? Any mushrooms in his pasture?  B1 or thiamine injections would only help if he was not eating and as such suspect the secondary (always secondary) disease of polio.  Usually though with polio they are not eating or drinking, unable to stand up easily and the head stays turned to the back.  Listeriosis could be a cause of the head turning, but usually this head turn is not able to turn back and forth as you describe.  Has he suffered any type of anxiety in the recent time frame - attack by a dog, coyotes outside their pasture, etc.?  Another cause of the head turning can be a fever (anything over 102.5) and this causes their brain to not function correctly, so would take a rectal temp and let me know.  The field corn usually has mold and so is not advised against feeding to sheep and goats, but cattle and hogs can easily eat it with no listeriosis concerns.  Is his tongue sticking out at all?  Last item is that some goats just get this quirky action of twisting their heads as you describe.  Hope this helps - let me know the temp and other answers to my questions if you could - appreciate it - 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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