Even though they’re becoming more and more popular, goats are not a common farm animal in North America. For this reason, there aren’t a lot of medicines that are made specifically for goats.
Development and testing of goat medicine can often cost more than is justified due to the small number of goats, so most medications that are used to treat these animals are known as “off label” or “extra label”, whether they are over the counter or prescription. These medications are not government approved, but this doesn’t mean that they are not safe for you to use on your animals.
One of the biggest problems you will likely find with goat health care is that there aren’t a lot of veterinarians who specialize in goats, or who know much about goats at all. It is a good idea to find a mentor who is already an experienced goat farmer and has the knowledge you need to raise healthy animals.
Once you find someone who has the knowledge and experience to help you with your own goats, stick with that person. Going online to forums or to contact other goat farmers will only get confusing in the long run.
Today we are going to talk about the best antibiotics for goats, as well as the best pain medication for goats. Some of the latter goat medicines are actually treatments that are made for human consumption, but can work with many types of animals, including goats.
Best Antibiotics for Goats
As of December 2016, antibiotics are no longer allowed to be used as feed additives, so goat farmers have had to rely on other sources of antibiotics for their animals. In fact, it is going to get to the point where the only way to get goat antibiotics is to get them by prescription from a veterinarian. For the time being, there are some antibiotics that are still available over the counter.
Antibiotics are used to treat numerous conditions in goats. Some are available by prescription only, while others are available over the counter. One thing that you will need to keep in mind is that goats have a very fast metabolism. This means that antibiotics must be given every day for five consecutive days in order to have any effect (your vet may even prescribe longer treatment times). Antibiotics can be given either via injection or orally.
You may have heard that micotil is a good antibiotic for farm animals. While this is commonly used on horses and cattle, it is not an antibiotic to be used on goats. It can cause heart attacks and death.
Here are some of the most common antibiotics that are used for goats.
This is an antibiotic that is only available with a prescription from a veterinarian. This is an injectable respiratory antibiotic. It is not always the best option for goats though, with Nuflor Gold or Excenel RTU being more popular with veterinarians.
This a teat infusion medication that contains procaine penicillin. It is used to treat mastitis in goats that are not lactating, and for drying up goats that are lactating. It can be used topically to treat staph infections. Before using this medication, have the contents of the udders tested to be sure of what is causing the infection in the first place.
Biosol (Neomycin Sulfate)
This is an over the counter, sulfa-based antibiotic that is used for kids and adult goats that have diarrhea when the underlying cause is not Coccidiosis. It is effective against E.Coli, as well as other bacterial infections in the digestive system. Kids should be given 3 cc orally every 12 hours until feces has returned to normal. Adult goats should have a dose of 5 to 10 cc orally. Keep in mind that overdosing can lead to constipation. Make sure you know the cause of the diarrhea before beginning any course of treatment.
Baytril 100 (Enrofloxacin 100 mn/ml)
This antibiotic is available by vet prescription only. This is an off label antibiotic that is used by many vets, and is effective against gut illnesses. It can also be used to treat Joint Ill if other antibiotics haven’t worked. This is usually the go-to antibiotic when others have failed to work. The usual dosage is 4 cc per 100 pounds of body weight, to be given for five consecutive days. Do not use without the approval of a veterinarian or without supervision.
This injectable antibiotic is for respiratory infections and is available by prescription only. It is an expensive medication that requires one-time usage, but because goats have a fast metabolism, it must be given daily for five days. Less expensive alternatives include Nuflor Gold and Excenel RTU.
This is another prescription only antibiotic, and it is injectable. It is the equivalent of Naxcel and is effective when used for respiratory or urinary tract infections. The usual dosage is 6 cc per hundred pounds of body weight. On the first day, dose twice with 12 hours between doses. On days two through five, give the animal one dose daily.
This is a prescription antibiotic that is injectable. It is not authorized for use in all jurisdictions in animals that are raised for food because there is a concern about antibiotic residue in the meat. This antibiotic works better when used with penicillin to treat bacterial and post-birthing infections. If being used to treat pinkeye, it should be mixed with Dexamethazone and sterile water, in equal parts to create a spray, but be sure to not use it on eyes that are already ulcerated.
LA 200, Maxim 200, Byomycin (oxytetracycline 200 mg/ml)
This is an over the counter, broad-spectrum antibiotic that is used to prevent and treat abortion diseases. It can also be used to treat pinkeye and hoof rot.
The usual dosage is 1 cc per 20 pounds of body weight daily for five or more days. This antibiotic may sting, and if you want one that doesn’t sting but works just as well, you may want to try Biomycin. This drug is sold under many brand names, and it is important to make sure you have the correct strength.
This is a procaine-penicillin based antibiotic that is used as a teat infusion. It is used to treat mastitis in lactating does. This is an over the counter medication, but you should never use it without first having a recommendation from your veterinarian and have them offer the correct dosage.
Naxcel (ceftiofur sodium)
This is a prescription, broad-spectrum antibiotic that is used to treat pneumonia and other respiratory illnesses. It comes in two separate bottles, one with a powder that must be refrigerated and the other with sterile water with which to mix the powder.
The usual dosage is ½ to 3 cc. You can have syringes ready with correct dosages and freeze them until they are needed. Keep in mind that they thaw quickly, and you need to hold the needle upright to keep the medication from settling in the cap of the needle and end up being lost when the cap is removed.
Nuflor Gold (florfenicol)
Here is another vet prescribed antibiotic used to treat respiratory problems, as well as to prevent mastitis from turning systemic. Many goat farmers prefer to use this antibiotic on adult goats, and the usual dosage is 6 cc per 100 pounds of body weight over five consecutive days. If you are treating newborn kids, they should have no less than ½ cc. This medication should be refrigerated.
Penicillin, Benathine (long acting penicillin)
This is an over the counter antibiotic that is often overused, thereby rendering it ineffective. The correct dosage is 5 cc per 100 pounds of body weight for five consecutive days. This medication must be refrigerated, and it should not be used if you suspect Listeriosis or goat polio.
Penicillin, Procaine (300,000 IU)
This is an antibiotic that must be used in higher than normal doses, along with Thiamine (vitamin B1). It is used to treat Listeriosis and goat polio, as well as infections that are a result of injuries, bites, and difficult births. It is an over the counter product that must be kept refrigerated.
Primor (Sulfadimethoxine & Ormetoprim in 5:1 Ratio
This antibiotic is available by vet prescription only. It is an oral, sulfa-based antibiotic that comes in tablet form. It is used to treat gut-related infections such as Coccidiosis. Tablets are scored by weight, so it is easy to get the correct dosage, which is twice the appropriate weight dosage on day one, and then by weight for the next nine days.
Spectam Scour Halt
This is an over the counter, sulfa-based antibiotic that is used to control diarrhea in ids. It can also be used to stop peristaltic action in the gut in adult goats. It comes in a liquid form, and the dosage should be according to the package label directions.
Sulfadimethoxaine with Trimethoprim (SMZ)
This is an oral, sulfa-based antibiotic available by vet prescription only. It is available in liquid or tablet form, and is used to treat gut-related illnesses, including watery diarrhea. It is often used to Baytril 100 to treat E Coli and other infections that are hard to cure.
Tylan 200 (tylosin)
This is a prescription only antibiotic that is used to treat respiratory problems. The correct dosage of this antibiotic is 1 cc per 25 pounds of body weight, to be given for five consecutive days, intramuscularly. It is best to keep this medication refrigerated. This is not always the most effective antibiotic, and many farmers prefer Nuflor Gold and Excenel RTU.
Best Pain Medication for Goats
In most cases, goats that are experiencing pain can be treated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), and you can often use the same over the counter medications you would use for your own pain relief.
For instance, many goat farmers swear by regular Aspirin, and it is often the first thing a veterinarian will recommend as well. An interesting thing about Aspirin and other low dosage medications, because goats metabolize medications quickly, you can dose them more frequently than the manufacturer’s recommended dosage.
Another option is to use a time-release formula. In addition to Aspirin and other NSAIDS, check out the following medications you can use to treat pain in your goats.
This is not actually a medication, but it can help to relieve pain from injuries and cuts. It is an aluminum-based aerosol bandage that is meant to be used topically, and it is water-resistant.
This is an anti-inflammatory drug that is only available through a prescription from your veterinarian. It is mainly used to reduce fever and soothe the gastro-intestinal tract or gut if your goats have diarrhea or other gut-related illnesses.
It can also be used to relieve pain and soreness that is caused by injuries and animal bites. The correct dosage is 1 cc per 100 pounds of body weight, and it is important to never give more than the recommended dosage, unless the goat is in severe distress and dying. Keep this medication refrigerated, and always have a supply on hand.
This is a vet prescribed cortico-steroid that should only be used under the direction of your veterinarian as it can have very negative side effects. This medication is typically used for inflammation and swelling following an infection that is now under control.
It can interfere with the repair of bones and is not to be used if the animal has any broken bones. It can also be used to induce labor in pregnant does if a slow labor is necessary due to pregnancy diseases such as ketosis and pregnancy toxemia. It can also interfere with an animal’s immune system.
When using this drug, do not stop suddenly. Use must be tapered off slowly, over a five day period. Dosage depends on the problem it is being used to treat. This medication should be refrigerated.