Goats/Ailing doe

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QUESTION: Donna, I wrote you earlier about my goats' urinary problems. They strain to pee and seem "off." Actually, one is much improved; she is alert and eating as much as ever, though the pee stream still is scanter than usual. The latest veterinary theory is that they have uterine tumors and that there is nothing to do other than keep them happy and comfortable as long as possible. However, no ultrasound has been done, and even if they have a genetic predisposition to developing uterine tumors, I find it hard to believe that they both would start showing symptoms at the same time. It seems more likely environmental to me.

One very odd symptom (and if this is characteristic of uterine tumors, tell me): the goat I'm worried about expels air from the vulva on occasion. Sort of a fart from a place that usually stays quiet. I neglected to mention this to the vet, and I'm unsure of its significance.

If this is a uterine infection, would penicillin or Biomycin be the better drug to use? Bactrim did absolutely nothing for this one in two weeks, so I started her on Biomycin shots last night. But I've read that Biomycin and LA-200 are not effective for uterine infections. I'm unsure what to do. She has lost weight and seems lethargic, but she continues to munch on hay and, lately, has green pasture to graze on. Vines are not leafing out yet here, so the goats can't browse.

Any advice you can give me is appreciated.

Thanks very much.

ANSWER: The symptoms could indicate a tumor, but as you say having both come down with same symptoms is unusual.  The expelling of air from the vagina can indicate an infection.  I always start with penicillin at 3 cc/100 pounds body weight given twice a day for 7 days and also must be given intramuscularly.  Along with any antibiotic the goat also needs probiotics to keep the rumen healthy.  Is either running a fever?  Anything above 102.5 would indicate a fever and then that indicates an infection.  Biomycin is not best used on goats, it is a cattle drug, and I advise staying away from it, as one of the side effects is death.  Is there any vaginal discharge? Did we talk about bedding?  Shavings can cause urinary tract infections.  For urinary infections - change in color of urine or odor of urine - an oral antibiotic would help - sulfa methoxizine works well - this is a powdered antibiotic - 1 teaspoon per 50 pounds body weight given twice a day for 10 days - this should be mixed in apple juice to help make it more palatable - it tastes terrible otherwise.  Hope this helps - let me know - Donna

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

QUESTION: Thanks for giving me hope. I didn't realize that expelling air could be a byproduct of an infection. No fever, plenty of Probios, no shavings. In the summer the hay goes only in the feeders, but in the winters I give them hay wherever they are so that they can stay warm. By this time of year, the dirt floor is covered with hay.

t have sulfamethoxine powder on hand. Same thing, right? (I've given her Sulmet before; and you're right, it tastes horrible--I tasted it). And can I give her the powder while she is on penicillin?

Since I gave her the Biomycin last night, I won't start the penicillin until tomorrow; my impression is that oxytetracycline cancels out the penicillin. What I have here is the Procaine G Penicillin from the feed store. Why an intramuscular shot? I always give shots subQ, including this one. So why intermuscular in this particular case? Is it the drug, or is it her condition?

Answer
Thanks for the update.  Yes on the sulfa you have.  But, I would advise making a choice between penicillin and the sulfa.  Any antibiotic generally cancels out another antibiotic.  You could start with penicillin and go for two or three days on that and if you don't see improvement/change in symptoms would switch to the sulfa.  If you see a discharge from the vagina/uterine infection symptom then I would start with penicillin.  Hope this helps - Donna  

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Donna Ruelas-Semasko/Edelweiss Acres

Expertise

All goat health care, nutrition, judging questions about all goats - packgoats, dairy goats, pygmy goats, meat goats, fleece goats.

Experience

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.

Organizations
NAPgA, The Evergreen Packgoat Club, 4H, ADGA.

Publications
Hobby Farm, many newspapers, 4H newsletters, Packgoat Manuals (youth and general), judging information pamphlets, seminar handouts about health care and nutrition.

Education/Credentials
4 years of college, ongoing education in goats.

Awards and Honors
Small Farm Award of Thurston County

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