Bottle jaw is one of the significant dangers to a herd of goats that is usually caused by internal parasites. The most common internal parasite that generally affects the herd of goats is the barber pole worm. These worms will reside in the digestive tract of the goats and create bleeding by chewing on the lining of the gastrointestinal tract.
The worms will then suck the blood that comes out of the wounds generated by chewing the lining of the GI tract. A smaller number of infections will not do any harm to the goats. However, the large number of worms is a danger for the goats as a larger amount of worms will suck so much blood from the goats that there will be anemia in the goat.
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What is Bottle Jaw?
Bottle jaw is a term that describes an area of oedema (accumulation of fluid) under the chin of the goat. Oedema or fluid accumulated under the chin is a clear fluid when drained. Bottle jaw is not a disease; it is just a sign of any underlying issue.
The goat suffering from bottle jaw tends to get worse through the day. There will be a reduction in the swelling during the night and may vanish from the day before. The swelling will return once per day progress. The bottle jaw usually occurs in the anaemic goats. The goats having bottle jaw should receive the treatment on an immediate basis.
What Causes Bottle Jaw in Goats?
Bottle jaw itself is not a disease but an indication of the underlying issue in the goats. The underlying matter is usually anemia and caused by quite a few things. The use of FAMACHA to determine the score of anemia is the best idea. The goats will have a higher score on the FAMACHA test.
Bottle jaw reflects the low blood cells and protein level in the blood. Most of the causes of bottle jaw are rare when compared to the stomach worm or the barber pole worm. The most common issue of anaemia is stomach worm or barber pole worm. Some other causes of bottle jaw in goats are:
The most common source of bottle jaw in goats is stomach worm, also known as Barber pole worm. The stomach worm has sharp teeth, and they feed on the blood released in the blood vessel. The excessive loss of blood can cause anaemia in the goats along with the accumulation of the fluid under the chin, known as bottle jaw.
Lower Protein Level in Blood
Sometimes, bottle jaw may occur due to the lower protein level in the blood. This lower protein level in the blood may cause the fluid to remain in the interstitial spaces (space around the tissue cells).
Trauma is a reason of bottle jaw occurrence in goats. The injury can be due to the attack by the predators or hit by any object that results in excessive blood loss and the goat become anaemic. This blood loss from the goat may result in bottle jaw.
An infectious cause of bottle jaw in goats is “Coccidia”. Coccidia usually causes diarrhoea that is not the major sign of the barber pole worm. The goat may become anaemic in the severe case of coccidia when there extreme damage to the GI tract and result in excessive loss of blood.
“Liver flukes” are another cause of the bottle jaw that is most common in the Gulf Coast region. Liver fluke is a parasite that causes anaemia, poor body condition and even death in the goats.
“Johne’s disease” is a bacterial disease that leads to anaemia in goats and develops bottle jaw in the goats. Diarrhoea is not the primary symptom of this disease, but the goat can anaemic and may suffer from diarrhoea and weight loss.
Nutritional Causes of Bottle Jaw and Anemia
The nutritional cause of anaemia and bottle jaw in goats is due to “Copper”. Both the excessive copper and deficiency of the copper can cause anaemia in the goats. The copper deficiency can be due to lower copper amount in the soil or excessive molybdenum in the soil that binds with the copper and make it unavailable for the animals leading to anaemia and bottle jaw. The goats may have poor body condition, loss of appetite, poor fleece, musculoskeletal problems and bottle jaw.
The copper toxicity can also lead to the anaemic goats as the toxicity of copper can lead to the rupture of the blood cells. The copper toxicity makes the animal depressed, weak, anaemic and may cause death too. Copper toxicity often happens due to feeding mixing errors.
Some other “Mineral Imbalance” can also lead to the anaemic goats. However, the chances are far less as compared to the copper. A few plants, like Brassica plants, can cause toxicity leading to anaemia in the goats.
The clinical signs of bottle jaw include the formation of cold, pitting swelling under the jaw. There will be the development of diarrhoea in the goats suffering from bottle jaw due to the presence of the internal parasites.
The formation of oedema is generalised in the body but mostly occur under the lower jaw in the grazing goats. The reason for lower jaw oedema is because the gravity causes the fluid to accumulate in the loose tissue while the head of the goat is down during eating.
The other clinical signs include white mucous membranes due to loss of excessive loss of blood, intolerance of exercise, dry faeces, blockage of the salivary duct. The animal begins to lose weight and there will be a failure to thrive. The animal may die within the seven days of massive infection without any significant signs and symptoms.
Treating Bottle Jaw in Goats
Before treating the goats, it is essential to diagnose the exact cause of the bottle jaw in goats as the treatment depends on the causative agent of bottle jaw. De-worming the goat is an efficient way to make sure that the worm load may get reduced. De-worming with broad-spectrum de-wormers will help to eradicate the internal parasites like liver flukes, or other worms.
Apart from de-worming, move the goats to the clean pasture (pasture that doesn’t have other animals on it for six or more months) after the initial treatment. The goat may get the injections of B-12, Nutri-Drench and Red Cell therapy for goats. These injections and red cell therapy and nutria-drench will help the goats to restore from the anaemia. Providing alfalfa hay, leaves, high protein pellet goat feed will help to rebuild the blood cells.