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Goats/Nigerian Dwarf Wether


QUESTION: I have a Nigerian Dwarf wether, 4 1/2 weeks old. He is stiff legged and just standing around.  I thought he was bloated from getting grain so I gave him a little baking soda yesterday.  Today he is not moving much and if he lays down, cannot get up.  I researched on the internet and found Joint-Ill, but his joints are not swollen or warm. Mother will not let him suckle, but he will drink from a bottle from me. After he eats, his stomach is hard like bloat. I have seen him poop, so that is working. Suggestions please! What can it be and also what to try to help him.

ANSWER: What is his temperature? Anything over 102.5 indicates a fever that indicates an infection. At 4 1/2 weeks old he should only be on calf manna, no adult grain.  How much milk are you feeding him? Is this mama's milk or milk replacer?  The stiff legged can be be from pneumonia or constipation or joint ill.  How much is he pooping? Is he still bloated? Let me know and I will get back to you - Donna

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QUESTION: He has a temp of 103.4. Do they get a temperature with bloat? I only fed him 3oz. of goat milk (not his mother's, but still nigerian dwarf) one time because I noticed mama not letting him suckle. I am not sure how much he is pooping, I will watch. Not too sure if he is bloated.  His tummy is tight, but not distended more to one side than the other. He normally only gets mom's milk and alfalfa as he wants and water.  He was one of 4 kids.  The others are doing fine.  He has been eating normally and growing well up until this.

ANSWER: Thanks for the update.  So by the temperature he has a fever and therefore, most likely, an infection.  Because he is stiff legged it could be joint-ill. Did he have his umbilical cord stump dipped in iodine right after birth?  If he had a pneumonia he most likely would not want to drink from a bottle or from his mom.  If his temperature were low, in the 90s, then constipation would be the most likely cause of his symptoms.  

So, with the high temp he could have joint-ill (especially if his cord was not dipped after birth) but he also could have a respiratory infection.  I generally start them on penicillin and for a kid goat his age 1 cc to start with and then 1/2 cc for other doses which are a.m. and p.m. intramuscular in the thigh muscle (have you given these before?) for 3 to 5 days. Usually oxytetracyline injectable is used for joint ill and can also help with pneumonia.  You could start with the oxy which is available over the counter at most farm/feed stores - this is usually LA200.  Whatever antibiotic you decide on he also will need probiotics once or twice daily to keep his rumen healthy/alive.  If his tummy is tight then he also could just have a bloat that is causing all the above symptoms.  You can give him 2 teaspoons of human mineral oil every 4 hours to help with the bloat, this is generally seen on the left side (where the rumen is) more so than the right.  Too much alfalfa can also cause bloat in young kids especially.  Was he the smallest of all of his siblings?  

Hope this helps - let me know - Donna  

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QUESTION: Thank you for your information and quick responses. He was actually the largest of the 4 kids.  I am not sure if his cord was dipped.  I was not aware of the importance of dipping them and therefore was not diligent to get them all done. I will get some LA200 and probiotics to start him on.

Thanks for update.  You can also give him 1/4 of a 325 mg human aspirin (crushed and dissolved in a little hot water and given orally or added to his bottle) to help bring the fever down and help with possible discomfort.  This can be given every 4 hours until he is better.  For probiotics I use people yogurt, does not matter what flavor, I would use 1/4 teaspoon of the yogurt, thinned a little with water and then given orally (I use a 3 cc syringe to give orally).  Re the LA200, if you use the LA200 it is only once a day for 3 to 5 days.  You should see a positive response in 24 to 36 hours.  You can also still give the mineral oil just in case he does have a little bloat.  Hope that helps - let me know - Donna

PS  I use 22 gauge, 1/2 to 3/4 inch size needles for kid goats - the LA200 is thick and can take a longer time to draw up through the 22 gauge but that size is easier on the kid goats.  Also I use the rear thigh muscles to give the intramuscular injection in.  If you need more instruction on that let me know.  



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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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