In this complete guide to goat illnesses and symptoms, we describe illnesses that are common to goats, along with their symptoms. If you’re a new farmer, you should be aware of these problems so you can be prepared!
It is a nutritional and metabolic disease that mainly affects the ruminants, including goats. This disease is more common in the areas where there are intensive management conditions and goats fed on more concentrated feed to make the goat overgrow.
Goat polio has signs of blindness, seizure, recumbency, and coma. The animals suffering from symptoms of the acute form of polio will isolate them from the entire herd, and they will stop consuming any feed with twitching ears and face. There will be an erection of the head in the goats.
The goats will be unable to control their movement. As the disease progresses, the animal will stop responding to the light, will start press the head against a hard object, and begins to grind the teeth.
The ideal treatment for polio in goats is the administration of thiamine at the dose of 10mg/kg thrice a day. Administration of steroids, like dexamethasone, at the dose rate of 1-2mg/kg, in muscles or under the skin, will help to reduce the fluid accumulation in the brain. If the recovery is not as expected, then better to continue the treatment for more than three days.
Enterotoxemia in Goats
The causative bacteria are “Clostridium perfringens”. The disease usually occurs due to two types of C. perfringens, i.e. type C and Type D. Enterotoxemia is mainly caused by type D.
The signs include the onset of the diarrhoea, off feed, lethargic goats. There may some signs of abdominal pain as the animal will start kicking the belly and may lay down repeatedly.
In severe cases, there will be blood with the diarrhoea. The goats will have a drunken appearance and depressed. The goats will have low body temperature, pull their heads backwards, may have convulsion and eventually die.
The initial treatment for enterotoxemia includes the administration of type C and D anti-toxin under the skin of the goat. Application of Milk of Magnesia will aid to remove the toxic feed from the body of the goat.
Ringer lactate administration under the skin or providing electrolytes orally will keep the goats hydrated. The active charcoal will bind the toxins, pain killer injections will reduce the pain, and antibiotic will help the recovery of the goats.
CAE in Goats
A contagious viral disease that spread from female goat to the kid during nursing the kids with colostrums or milk. However, the spread within other goats is possible through secretions and feces of infected goats. The common signs include the stiffness of the muscle, lameness, swollen joints, in-coordination, blindness, depression, and death of the goats.
There is no particular treatment for this disease; however, supportive treatment may help the goats to survive.
The supportive treatment includes administration of antibiotics, pain killer, and fluid therapy.
It is a disease that results from overcrowding, dirty, and wet pens and unclean water. It is a highly contagious disease, and it spread through a herd quickly. The goats with appear normal physically but may suffer from the reduction of feed intake, growth performance, and feed conversation.
For the goats exhibiting the clinical signs, there are several medicines available including sulfa drugs, amprolium, and tetracyclines.
Amprolium can be used as both the treatment and preventative measures for coccidiosis. It is available in powder and liquid form.
The bloat is also known as rumen tympany. In bloat, the left side of the goat becomes extended due to gases. The signs include restlessness, depression, salivation, distension of stomach, kicking abdomen, respiratory distress, collapse, and death.
The survival of the goats depends on the immediate base treatment. It is better to stop the goats from eating more feed to prevent bloat. Administration of peanut or vegetable oil will help to relieve the bloat.
CL in Goats
This disease is bacterial disease and is high contagious disease of goats. The causative agent of this disease causes the formation of abscess both internally and externally on the body of the goats.
The bacterium of this disease doesn’t respond to most of the antibiotics. Therefore, surgical draining of the abscess is the only treatment for external abscesses formed by the bacteria. However, this can contaminate the environment.
Copper Deficiency in Goats
The copper deficiency lead to the fish tail, faded hair coat, and lose of hair from the face in goats. The color of goats changes, i.e. from black it turns rusty, the red color of goats become gold, cream color goat will turn into white, and gold color of goats will turn into cream color.
If the copper deficiency remained untreated then there will be feritily issues in the goats.
A buck will become unable to conceive the female goats. The female goats will not able to come in heat or may get silent heat. If the female goat conceive and gets pregnant, she may abort within a few days.
The goats with copper deficiency will become anemic, and more prone to the internal parasites and will eventually die.
The best treatment of copper deficiency is to evaluate the level of copper of the goat. After evaluation, provide copper in the form of copper glycinate or copper sulfate orally to the goats. Or the best easy way is to provide substances that contain copper and allow goats a free-choice consumption of the copper through those substances. However, make sure that the goats don’t consume more copper as it may lead to the toxicity.
The causative agent of tetanus is bacteria clostridium tetani that release toxin within the body of the animal. These toxins released within the goat’s body will lead to the painful contraction of the muscles, specifically of neck and jaw muscles.
Hind legs will extend backwards, severe salivation, the goat will not be able to stand, stiffness of the neck occurs, the head moved to one side, constipation, ear and tail rigidity, seizures, and goat will not be able to open the mouth (lockjaw). The goat will die within or less than 36 hours after the getting down.
Immediate administration of the tetanus antitoxin before locating or cleaning the wounded site is necessary. After injecting antitoxin, clean the wound by using hydrogen peroxide to remove any dirt, hair and other debris around the wound. Inject a broad-spectrum antibiotic like penicillin, for five days at the dose rate of 5 cc/ 100 pounds to stop the release of toxin within the body.
The causative reasons for pneumonia are both infectious and non-infectious. These agents cause the inflammation of the lungs. The infectious causes include bacteria like Pasteurella species (P. multocida, P. haemolytic), Chlamydia species, Haemophilus species, and Mycoplasma species.
These broad-spectrum antibiotics will have effective results against pneumonia as compared to the narrow-spectrum antibiotics like procaine penicillin. Administration of non-inflammatory or pain killer drugs is necessary. Access to excessive water and feed is essential. Severely affected animals should be euthanized without any delay. Usage of anthelmintics will help to remove lungworms.
Floppy Kid Syndrome
It is a syndrome in which the newborn kid of the goat appears healthy at birth, but unable to stand or nurse or even wrap the tongue around the nipples of the female goat. There is no dehydration or appear of diarrhoea in the kid.
The common signs include depression, paralysis, unsteady gait, kids will not able to keep the head up, fever, and respiratory distress.
The treatment includes the addition of baking soda or other electrolytes will help to neutralize the kid’s stomach conditions. The milk of magnesia or mineral oil will help to push the half-digested milk out of the kid’s body. A pain killer will aid in calming the pain of the gut.
Tube feeding is essential for kids suffering from floppy kid syndrome. Add a teaspoon of baking soda with eight ounces of electrolytes and adequately mix it to make a solution. The stomach tube will help to administer 30-60 ml of this solution into the kid’s stomach. Repeat the disease after a couple of hours. However, avoid bloating the kid by over-feeding the solution.
Mastitis is the inflammation or the swelling of the udder or the mammary glands. Mastitis causes a physical and chemical reaction in the milk produced by the goats. Mastitis is more common in the goats kept for dairy or meat purposes and raised in the semi-intensive or intensive feeding system.
The signs of clinical mastitis include the sudden onset of high fever, i.e. above 105o F with an increased pulse rate.
The female goat will become depressed, and there will be loss of appetite in the goats. The mammary glands of the goats become hard, reddish, and swollen. The udder will be hot and sensitive when touched.
The treatment should be based on the results of the milk culture. The treatment of mastitis includes:
- Dry off (don’t milk from the infected goats) the affected half mammary glands
- Administer intra-mammary infusion of 2% chlorhexidine solution in the affect teats
- Administration of steroids
- Antibiotics administration like penicillin, erythromycin, tilmicosin, kanamycin, benzylpenicillin, amoxicillin with clavulanic acid is effective against mastitis.
- Ointments along with the intra-mammary antibiotic infusions are useful to reduce mastitis. However, it is essential to monitor the udder after the infusion as it may irritate the teats.
It is a metabolic disease that appears at the end of gestation or start of the lactation. The main cause is the metabolism of the body fat to maintain the level of the glucose during high energy requirement time. Multiple fetuses or the obesity of the goat enhances the goat’s demand of glucose. If the diet is not sufficient enough to provide the energy to the goats, then goats will metabolize the body fat which leads to ketosis.
The common signs include depress, loss of appetite, and reduction in the milk production. The breath of goats will have a sweet smell that indicates the presence of higher level of ketones within the body. The goat may grind the teeth too.
Drench the goats orally with propylene glycol at the dose rate of 60ml twice a day for three consecutive days. Addition of calcium, potassium, insulin will increase the chances of survival of the goats.
Some oral electrolytes products are available in the market than can be given through the stomach tube. This solution of electrolytes may cause abortion however, it is better to safe the female goat. Administration of steroids will also induce parturition.
Copper toxicity occurs due to high consumption of copper through feed, salts, pesticides, copper substances and poultry litter. The copper toxicity mostly occurs during the stress conditions. The copper poisoning clinical signs include pain the abdomen, off feed, diarrhea, dehydration, depression, and shock in goats.
Occurrence of blood may take place after three days of high copper consumption. The goats will become weak, lethargic; remain in laying position, paler mucus membranes, anemic, jaundice, and death.
Methylene blue is the antidote for copper toxicity and should be given at the dose rate of 4-10mg/kg body weight through intravenous route. Usually, the effect of methylene blue is very rapid and positive results can be visible within 10-15 minutes after the administration of methylene blue.
Injections of sodium thiosulfate application also produces positive results when administer orally. The dose of sodium thiosulfate is 1000mg per goat and for three weeks. D- penicillamine is handy copper excretor via urine. Administration of ammonium tetraiomolybdate will decrease the absorption of the copper and enhances its excretion. Supportive therapy is vital to increases the chances of goat survival and it includes the blood transfusion and fluid therapy.
Improper feeding, sulfur toxicity, high consumption of grains, in-digest anything that affects the microbes of the rumen lead to the deficiency of thiamine. The signs include the softening of the grey matter of the brain, rigidity of the muscles, weaving, diarrhea, tremors of the muscles, head pressing, star grazing, blindness, circling, convulsion, and death.
Administer the thiamine to treat the goats as it is the only treatment for thiamine deficiency within the goats. However, avoid injecting vitamin B complex as it contains insufficient amount of thiamine.
Tapeworms in Goats
Moniezia is the most common tapeworm that affects the goats and other ruminants. Goats serve as the intermediate host for the tapeworms. The clinical signs of tapeworms in goats include diarrhea, pot belly, the goats will become thin, loss of weight, and death of the goats.
De-worming of the goats with praziquantel which is the drug of choice against tapeworms and have good result against tapeworms. Other broad spectrum anthelminthics are not much effective against tapeworms. However, special care is necessary to avoid the development of anthelmintic resistance in the tapeworms by re-usage of the de-wormers.
Tapeworms in Goats
It is one of most contagious disease of the goats. A bacterial disease that causes loss of interest in the feed, loss of weight, depression, diarrhea, and death in goats. The goat doesn’t show any signs until the disease reaches to last stages. This disease quickly spread from one goat to the other through fecal oral route.
Unfortunately, there is no treatment for this disease; however, treatment is done according to the signs and symptoms. Preventive measures are necessary to avoid the entrance of this disease to the herd.
Listeriosis in Goats
It is a bacterial disease and mostly occurs during the cold season. The bacterium is present in the soil, litter of plants, water, digestive tracts, and silage. The disease occurs due to a rapid change in the diet, consuming contaminated silage, stress, or a quick weather change.
The animals will exhibit the signs of stress, depression, loss of appetite, higher temperature, leaning, pulling head to the flank, paralysis, rigid neck, drooling of saliva, and slack jaw. The pregnant female may abort with the presence of this disease.
The efficient treatment for listeriosis is by administering a higher dose of penicillin along with some pain killers to reduce the temperature, and supportive therapy as the goats will stop eating with this disease.
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- Overview of Copper Poisoning
- Goats and copper deficiency
- Copper Deficiency
- Tapeworms: problem or not?
- Johne’s Disease
- Listeriosis in Goats
- Goat Polio or Listeriosis? – Onion Creek Ranch
- Overview of Polioencephalomalacia
- Enterotoxemia (Overeating Disease) of Sheep and Goats – 8.018
- ENTEROTOXEMIA IN SHEEP AND GOATS
- Enterotoxemia aka Overeating Disease and Pulpy Kidney Disease
- Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis Virus (CAE)
- Coccidiosis of Goats
- GoatLink.com – Goat Bloat
- Goat Bloat
- Preventing and controlling Caseous Lymphadenitis (CL)
- Tetanus – Generalized Conditions
- Tetanus in Goats
- Veterinary handbook for cattle, sheeps and goats – Disease
- Weak Kids or Floppy Kids? – Onion Creek Ranch
- FKS – Floppy Kid Syndrome
- Mastitis – Fias Co Farm
- Mastitis in Goats
- Pregnancy Toxemia in Ewes and Does
- Pregnancy Toxemia In Goats
- Ketosis – Fias Co Farm
- Goat Ketosis