QUESTION: Hi Donna!  I have two Alpine wethers who are both 4 and a half months old.  Last week the vet came out to check on our smaller goat, who has been snorting when he breathes.  He also has lost weight.  We called the vet because he was getting sluggish and not as active as he usually would be.  The vet said he could hear fluid in his lungs and he gave him a shot of Draxxin.  He warned me that I wouldn't see drastic improvement right away.  That was a week ago and he got a vet-recommended second dose of Draxxin today because he still is snorting and his breathing is still a bit labored.  I see you recommend vitamins C, D, and zinc to help the goats recover from pneumonia.  I'm new to all this so forgive my ignorance- but do I buy these supplements from a farming store?  Or do I grind up human vitamins?  What dosage would I use?  He is 45 pounds.

My other concern is that both goats don't seem to have glossy coats.   When I brush them the brush gets full of the soft, white "undercoat" hair.  Their dark, coarse hair seems to have thinned a lot.  They don't rub up against the fence a lot so I don't think they're itchy as if they have bugs...is this a mineral deficiency?  We have a mineral block for them which they use sometimes.  They are outside during the day and inside at night, so they get lots of fresh air and sunlight.

Any advice that you have is greatly appreciated.  Like I said, I'm a newbie goat owner but I love them so much and I feel bad for not knowing what is wrong and how to treat it!  Thank you!

ANSWER: Re the possible pneumonia, I always advise use of Penicillin, which is over the counter, and you usually see improvement in 12 to 24 hours.  Let me know if you want the dose for this to use.  Also, what color are his lower inner eyelids?  Also, this could be lung worm, for which use of oral Safeguard horse wormer works very well.  Is he running a fever? (anything over 102.5 is a fever).  Yes, re the vitamins C, D and zinc to help with increasing his immune system strength - that is human vitamins - for his size would use one 1,000 vitamin C twice a day as well as 2,000 IU of vitamin D twice a day and zinc is one tablet twice a day - you would need to crush all tablets and dissolve in a little hot water and to that add the vitamin D oil to that - cool and give orally.  

Re the glossy coats and thinning - this could be selenium deficiency - for which you can use human over the counter vitamins/minerals of selenium (200 mcg), vitamin D 800 to 1000 IU, and vitamin E 1000 IU - the dosing for his age would be 5 of the 200 mcg selenium tablets crushed and dissolved in a little hot water and to that add all the oil from a 1000 IU capsule of vitamin D and all the oil from a 1000 IU vitamin E capsule - mix well, cool and give orally.  Repeat this dose in 10 days.  These symptoms can also be due to worms, are they pooping regular pellets?  When was the last time they were wormed?  Let me know - Donna

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QUESTION: Thank you for the advice!  We gave him Penicillin the week before we called the vet.  He got a little more perky for a few days, but it didn't help his snorting.  The vet gave both goats Ivermac exactly a week ago when he visited.  That would take care of them (eventually) if it were lungworm, right?  His lower eyelids are pink...not dark pink, but not white.  He wasn't running a fever.

They are both pooping regular pellets and they eat happily.  I wish they would be perkier.  Could a copper deficiency be part to blame as well?  My bigger goat should be black, but his hair is getting lighter as well as thinner.  He has some reddish patches, and my Googling is telling me that's a sign of copper deficiency?  He doesn't have the "fish tail" yet...I just ordered the copper bolus for kids from Amazon.

Thanks for the update.  Re the penicillin, this must be given intramuscularly and at a dosing of 3 cc/100 pounds body weight twice a day for 5 days.  If not given intramuscularly or at the correct dosing, it will not help.  The snorting is concerning for lungworm.  Re Ivermec - that is not the best for goats - whether given as an injection or orally it is not recommended.  Unfortunately ivermectin (the wormer) does not kill lung worm.  We use a dosing regimen of oral horse wormer of Zimectrin and Safeguard - one is given and then 2 months later the other is given and so on - keeps all worms away and is usable and safe for all productions of goats.  I would be happy to talk to you further if you ever want to change your wormer regimen.  Re the possible lung worm, febendazole is the wormer of choice and this is what is in Safeguard - use of the horse wormer is a much better choice than the Safeguard liquid for goats.  The dosing on this is using three times the goat's body weight to find the closest higher measurement on the plunger of the worming tube, set the lock and give orally, and then repeat this dosing in another 7 days and again in 14 days (total of three doses 7 days apart).  

Generally copper is only needed in small amounts in goats and usually a good salt lick/block/loose salt with minerals in it works well.  The color loss is also a selenium deficiency symptom.  In all my 28 years of raising goats I have never given a copper bolus, but that is a decision folks need to make on their own.  Are the goats on a mineral salt brick/loose salt?  What type of feed do you have the goats on currently? Are the reddish patches on the skin? If so that can be from scratching or from ringworm (if a circle with clear skin inside).  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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