Goats/Goat Polio


QUESTION: Hi Donna, if you recall a goat named Peanut, down with Goat Polio died a while back. Since then i have had 2 other's come down with the same thing. One of these has made a full recovery, but another started a week ago, stargazing, then staggering, and very starry eyed. Treaded with B1 tabs 5 100 mg 4x a day and also loads of Pen-g . Today i let her out for a minute and she is still stagering, but much less starry eyed. So i'm on the right track, but extream use of Pen-G has me wondering. Should i continue the Pen-G, which was to target Listerious. The B1 i will keep dosing for sure. Thanks

ANSWER: So the polio is always a secondary disease and is really only treated itself with high doses of thiamin/vitamin B1.  The antibiotics are for treating the main illness which has caused the goat not to eat well and then it gets the polio.  Generally I treat with penicillin for 7 days and treat for the polio until the goat is out of it - that is eating on its own and drinking well and standing well.  I usually use a super B complex that has the 100 mg in it per tablet and so give 8 to 10 tablets at least 4 times a day, sometimes more often if the polio is more severe.  I also give the probiotics to keep the rumen going and if the goat is not eating well on its own then I give a nutrient mush 3 to 4 times a day.  Hope that helps.  Donna

PS Is she running a fever?

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

QUESTION: Hi Donna, she is not running a fever, 101.4. She never really stopped eating, a few days before she really started staggering i noticed she was depressed ears hanging down, sometimes head to the wall, but always followed the herd to graze and always came to the milk room. At first i thought a cold or parasites, but then she was loosing balance and holding her head real tight like a seahorse. Her eyes were large and glassey and seemed like the polio. I started the pen-g 4x a day and the b1, first couple days she seemed to get worse and then she slowly bounced back. She never got into circleing like the last one and always ate good. I think i have been under dosing the B1 as she is 40 more lbs than the other two that had this. She is very alert and aware ears up, eyes no longer have that starry look. She was on pen-g for 8 days and i decided that was enough, but if you think i should continue i will. Thanks
   PS By the way it is what you taught me that saved the second girl and that has kept this girl from getting worse. Trased the problem back to the feed, new feed supplier and 4 of 6 bags had clumps and black mold, just wasn't really a lot of it to notice till i got a smell of it and really started looking. Seller says my fault stored wrong, bull as i stored it in the same place i always have cool dry and even a little dark.

Thanks for the update.  Sounds like this could have been the start of polio from listeriosis.  Sounds like she is on the way to recovery and yes I would up her vitamin B1 amount - cannot overdose on that anyway.  Would assume whatever caused the polio symptoms has been taken care of by the penicillin amount given so far.  Re the feed, sounds like it was definitely a production issue and not a storage issue.  Some months ago I opened up a bag of grain and was skeptical of it to begin with as it felt "hot" when I picked it up and sure enough when opening it up a lot of "dust" came out of it (green/blue in color).  I contacted the supplier and gave them all the information but it didn't sound like they could care - I ended up contacting our local USDA folks and got the ball rolling on an inspection of the facility where that grain was packed - they never did find anything but I think at least they were put on alert that some of us livestock caretakers do look at the feed.  I ended up getting the store manager to take away all the bags with the same production number on it just in case other people did not bother looking at the grain.  

Re the staggering, this could be from weakness of her still - may need more probiotics and containued vitamin B1 for a while.  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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