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Goats/female nubian not acting right


QUESTION: We have a 1 year old Nubian who would not eat this morning, and was down and wouldnt get up. I managed to get her up and took her temp, which was 103.6. It had rained most of yesterday and they didnt get out to forage, so when I fed them last night, I gave them a good serving of alfalfa hay. She ate her grain last night, and most of the hay is gone this morning. Could she have possibly overeaten on the alfalfa?  Our vet has admitted he really doesnt know alot about goats, and we need to find a goat owner that knows stuff from experience. She had pnuemonia when she was a baby, and ground her teeth and was in obvious distress, but I dont see that now. I can tell she is not herself, but still not acting really sick like with the pnuemonia. Should we just monitor her temp and watch her, or is there something we should be doing? Help!

ANSWER: Is she pregnant? Anything over 102.5 usually indicates a fever which then indicates an infection. With that said with the alfalfa and grain given she could have bloat or other digestive issues. Is she chewing cud? Is she peeing and pooping? Is the left side of stomach bloated? For goats if you cannot figure out exactly what is wrong I advise using kit hen sink method which is treating for multiple issues of which none can hurt the goat. Nothing else different in her currently? Let me know the answers and I will get back to you with a treatment.

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QUESTION: No, not pregnant for sure, our only other goat is a wether. The left side does not appear bloated, but still gave her a little mineral oil and have been walking her while massaging her belly and sides. I haven't seen her pee or poop this morning, but only see little poop balls, no loose feces that I see. We keep baking soda out for them, but they never seem to eat any. She is chewing some, not like grinding her teeth, but not sure if that means she's chewing cud or not. The grain she got last night was her normal amount (Dumour giat feed), about 1 & 1/2 cups. The hay is usually a mix of bahalia and alfalfa, but last night just alfalfa, which they have had before when we ran out of bahalia.

ANSWER: Thanks for the update.  I generally advise against grain and alfalfa which both have high protein for dry does.  Glad you gave her mineral oil, dosing is 1 cup per 75 pounds body weight every 4 hours until bloat goes down or constipation ends.  Although with a high temperature doubt constipation.  I would advise starting her on penicillin injectable, 3 cc per 100 pounds body weight given intramuscularly in the rear thighs twice a day for 5 days to cover her for possible pneumonia.  During that time she also needs to be on probiotics - either powdered or gel or what I use is human yogurt - two tablespoons for her size twice a day - if they will not eat the yogurt I mix in a little water and use a dosing syringe to give orally.  Also, if she is not eating she is at risk for polio (always a secondary disease) and would advise giving 6 crushed and dissolved tablets of human vitamin B complex (this also has vitamin B1 or thiamin in it which is needed to keep her from coming down with polio) twice a day until she starts eating again.  Would be sure she is drinking, if not on her own drench with electrolytes - human type are fine.  Poop balls can be from worms.  Have you wormed her recently?  Also, the high temp could be from the high protein feed she had last night and may go down on its own.  You can also give her human aspirin to help with the fever, one 325 mg human aspirin per 75 pounds body weight, crushed and dissolved and given orally every 4 hours until temp goes back to normal.  Hope this helps - let me know - Donna

PS you are also welcome to call me anytime at 360-742-8310.

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QUESTION: I gave her a dose of penicillin as recommended. She has not been wormed lately, and having just started grazing a new area (checked for any toxic plants and only allowing two hours a day til they get used to it), I believe I need to deworm them. Should I do it while she is on the antibiotic? Also, should I get a fecal sample or is there a general dewormer that covers most parasites, and if so, is there an injectable type? Plus, I took her temp again and it's up to 104.6 now. I have to get some more needles and syringes, so what gauge and length needle do you recommend?  She fights me trying to give her anything orally, and haven't been very successful with the drenching syringe. I caused her to get pnuemonia when she was being bottlefed due to aspiration, so needless to say, I am nervous about her aspirating the electrolytes, etc.
The probiotics and B complex went into her bottle, but worry about her getting it orally now, considering the struggle to drench her. Hubby is gone for the weekend, so I'm on my own treating her and want to do all I can, without making it worse.
Thanks so much for offering your #, I just hate to call and be a bother to anyone. If I don't see any improvement, I will call.

Thanks for all the updates.  And, never worry about calling me, anytime is fine, it is certainly not a bother.  

Glad you gave her the penicillin.  I would go ahead and start her on a wormer, it will not hurt at this time.  My worming regimen is using oral horse wormers, Zimectrin and Safeguard, you use twice the weight of the goat to find the dose on the plunger.  You start with one wormer giving it once and then 2 months later switch to the other wormer, again just giving it once, then every 2 months switch back and forth.  These wormers can be given during any time of the goat's production/life, and you can't overdose with them.  Usually the goats like these oral wormers as they taste like apple cinnamon.  Re drenching, generally it is difficult to aspirate an adult goat.  I either put in a stancion or hook the goat up tightly to a solid area then stand over the goat and lift the head up just a little, then insert the drenching syringe (these syringes have a curved metal tip that makes it easy to get it into the side of the mouth and over the tongue).  And, you most likely did not cause her to get pneumonia from being bottle fed, their airway closes off when they suck so it does not go down into their lungs.  Many kid goats just pick up pneumonia, no ones fault.  

The temperature is very concerning for an infection, could be pneumonia, could be something else.  So the antibiotic is a must.  And I would give the aspirin as soon as you can to get the fever to break.  Electrolytes are also important for the fever.  

Re the needles, I use 20 gauge 1/2 to 3/4 inch length needles for adult goats - the shorter length keeps you from hitting nerves or vessels in the thigh muscle, which is where the penicillin really needs to be given - intramuscular is faster than subcu.  

Hope this helps - let me know.  And, really, call anytime.  The reason I give my phone number out is so if someone needs goat help they have a place to call.  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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