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Goats/sick baby nubian


QUESTION: We have a 5 week old Nubian doeling that has run fever and been off her bottle for about 4 days. Her temp averages 104.5, but has been up to 106.3. The vet saw her the 2nd day, gave her injections of Bramamine, and Nuflor and Excede. She took her lunch bottle that day, but nothing else. The next morning she refused her bottle and still had fever of 104.7 so I took her in again. After checking her, he diagnosed joint ill, because she should have responded to the strong antibiotics and didn't, and because her navel felt a little pedunculated, although no inflammation or infection appears present. He didn't give much hope, but at my request, continued to treat her, with another injection of both Bramamine and Excede, and administered some electrolytes sub-q. He also sent some of all that home with me. She continues to run fever, and is subdued in behavior, but we have seen her out nibbling, eating some hay, drinking water, running with her brother, and has taken a few ounces of oral electrolytes over the past days....not much, but last night she drank 12 oz. in her bottle. We wonder about the diagnosis, because she really doesn't have the symptoms we've read about. Obviously, something is causing the infection, antibiotics aren't knocking it out, and we are just hoping we can keep her hydrated enough to see if her body can fight it off. I have been doing the sub-q fluids, and measuring how much oral fluid she gets. I also have tried to dose her with Nutri-drench and Goatade, as well as dissolved Tylenol (instructed to do 1/2 a tab by the owner we bought her from).  We know the breeders did everything right when dhe was born, and the castrated buckling we bought with her is doing great. For first time goat owners it has been very discouraging.

ANSWER: If the joints are swollen then it could be joint ill, but for that the only treatment is oxytetracycline - LA200 works well - this is 1.5 cc once a day for 7 dosings, and must be given intramuscularly.  If joints are not swollen then she has a pneumonia most likely - needs penicillin at 1.5 cc twice a day for 5 to 7 days - this must be given intramuscularly.  Also needs aspirin at 1/4 of a 325 mg human aspirin - grind this up and mix in a little hot water along with one vitamin B complex tablet that has also been crushed.  Mix well, cool and give every 4 hours until fever breaks.  Let me know - give me a call too if you would like - 360-742-8310.  I would do the above and discontinue the vet items as they are not going to help in this situation in my experience.  To cool her down you can use a cold compress to her body.  No tylenol - this can be toxic to goats and is of no help either.   

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QUESTION: No, her joints are not swollen or tender, and she is not limping at all.  The vet said her gut was quiet, not a good sign he said, but could that have been because she wasn't eating?  While holding her doing the sub-q fluids, I think I've heard and felt it, but I am a newbie and not sure. She has continued to urinate, which encourages me that we're keeping her at least minimally hydrated, and I saw her poop normal goat berries today. Should we keep her on only electrolytes for now, or could we try some milk?  She had straight goat milk for her first 3 1/2 weeks, when we began to slowly introduce cow's milk 2 oz a bottle every 2 days. Since she's been feeling bad, any time we offered milk, it was straight goat milk, but she hasn't really wanted any. What is the minimal amount of fluid required each day to keep her alive? I know the sub-q only gives a little and when I try to administer anything orally, she probably only gets half. She is not cooperating and I'm still on the learning curve. She weighed 19.6 # at the vet Thursday, but probably has lost a little.

ANSWER: Thanks for the update.   She most likely has a pneumonia or she could have another infection from her mom.   The lack of rumen rumbles is from her not eating.  I don't like to use subcu injections to hydrate - I use a small syringe (without the needle of course) to give electrolytes and milk off and on - holding the goat's head a upright and at a little angle upwards will allow the liquid to go down its throat properly.  Would not give cow milk as it is harder for the kid goat to digest as its fat molecules are five times bigger.  It also does not have the nutrition needed for a kid goat.  You need to get the fever down as fevers can cause brain damage in kid goats.  If you can get 20 ounces a day down her that will help.  Would give her probiotics too - can mix in with the vitamin B and aspirin mixture - I use yogurt, 1/2 teaspoon for a kid goat her size, twice a day.  I am assuming you are keeping her inside so you can keep an eye out on her.  Hope this helps - let me know - Donna

Have you given intramuscular injections before,  if not let me know.  Intramuscular injections gets the medicine to the goat much sooner and subcu injections only allow part of the medicine to get to where it is needed.  

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QUESTION: No, I have never done IM injections, and could use advice. I'd never done SQ either, but I'm learning and will do what I can to get this sweet little girl better. I have given probiotics every day in their morning bottles since we've had them (4weeks). I hope it was okay to give her milk (she's only getting goat milk from now til weaning), but she really seemed hungry for it tonight and took a whole 16 oz. She acted like she wanted more, but as she has eaten very little lately, I was afraid to allow her too much. She has acted more like herself today, but still not where she should be. Still very content to just let me hold her on my lap. Oh yes, another question:  What size needle should I use for the injections?

You are correct about not giving her a lot of milk, let her slowly build back up otherwise she could come down with enterotoxemia.  Intramuscular injections are given in the rear thigh muscle of the back legs - use of a 22 gauge 1/2 to 3/4 inch needle is best.  Once you have the needle in the thigh muscle (you are directing the needle from the back of the goat towards the front straight in) you need to draw back a little on the plunger to be sure you are not in a vein - if you are you will see red color/blood fill the barrel - then pull out and re start with re filling a clean syringe.  Probiotics are really only needed once the goat is 4 weeks of age as they don't have a rumen before that age.  Glad she is eating better.  The being content in your lap is from the fever, so would use aspirin to help with that.  Hope that 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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