Goat Health Management/Diseases/Medications

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Raising dairy goats has been my passion for a long time, however, I’ve had to make a very tough decision in my life. Due to some health problems I have had to let my precious herd go. I have so loved my time and experience with them and I miss them dearly.  This has been a very heart wrenching decision for me and I cried alot, trust me, alot. But for the sake of my own health and family I had to prioritize things in my life. The only peace I have had in this decision making is that my good friend took in my whole herd, Girls, Boys, and babies. Nobody got separated and they are all together. I didn’t have to go through the stress of selling anyone or finding individual homes and worry about their well being and wonder if they are being taken care of. I know for sure they are being taken care of and spoiled rotten. They get treats everyday and loving. She takes care of hers just as I would and I trust her. I am at peace with this decision. 

But, let me say, just because I cant raise them anymore doesnt mean all my knowledge and experience has to go to waste.  I will still be here to help anyone I can.  Alot of things I will be talking in present tense. Thats because I have had this page up for a long time.  But I didnt want to go back and change things. 

I want this page to be so educational to serious goat owners. I am by no means an expert nor am I perfect at this raising goats thing. What I am sharing with you is simply things that I have learned from experience, research and observation and throw in alot of trial and error.
Please be informed that this page will constantly be updated and information added to as I learn more. So what you see today, may be something more tomorrow so visit often to find out new updates. Also, at the end of my page there will be “plenty” of helpful websites that you can gleen more information from. There is no way I could put “everything” on this page, you would never leave, well, that might be a good thing. lol You can always bookmark it and scroll through. Later when you need to find something it will be there. I dont mind if you copy and paste either.

I want to start by telling you a story I came across in my grandmothers journal that she wrote about when I was just a young kid. Its kind of sad but just bear with me.

It was such a sad but sweet funeral. Our small granddaughter’s baby goat had just died and all of us were in tears to see the grief and sadness in the granddaughters heart. You’d think a member of the family had just passed away.
From birth several days earlier, the mother goat had refused to let her baby nurse, and moved with compassion, our little Tracy had bottle-fed and held the baby goat almost constantly hoping to nurse it through the crisis.
We could see that it was slowly getting weaker but she clung to it and cared for it all the more. So many times as she loved and cared for it, I saw tears well up in her eyes.

This concerned us because we felt the baby was going to die and she was becoming so attached to it. I prayed that God would somehow teach us all a lesson from the experience. Just before it passed away, we even allowed her to bring it in the house where I made a bed for it where all of us could watch it more closely.

The time came when it drew its last breath and then we really did have a problem dealing with Tracy and her two older sisters who were also heart broken. She kept asking her PaPa, Why? Why did this have to happen to such a sweet little baby goat that was so innocent? When you see your grandchildren so heartbroken you just cry with them and try to console them, so we cried too. Then it was time to plan for the funeral.
Her PaPa told her that he would build it a little wooden casket to bury it in out behind his study. This he did and I also told her that I would get some flowers to put on its grave. I had several artificial flowers that I got together and gave to her. Then it was time for the funeral procession to begin.

All of us went out to the car house where PaPa placed the baby goat in the casket which he had built. Little Tracy let the procession holding the casket out in front of her, crying like her heart would break. Following her, were her two older sisters also crying. Behind them came their PaPa and me. Now this may sound silly but believe me, it was serious and sad business to the three grandchildren, especially Tracy. We came to the grave side where PaPa had dug a deep little grave. Tracy walked up and put the casket in the grave, lovingly hesitating. PaPa covered the casket with dirt, and Tracy placed all the flowers on the grave which covered it completely. Then looking at her PaPa and me she said she would like to say something. With her head down and still crying she talked to the baby goat as though it heard every word she spoke. Her PaPa, being a minister, spoke a few words too for her benefit. This seemed to help her feelings to see that she was not alone in her grief.

It took a long time for Tracy to get over the passing of her pet goat and maybe she never did completely. Even now, when she comes to visit us we find her still going out behind her PaPa’s study to the little grave and just standing there in deep thought. And every time I hang out clothes on the clothesline, which is close to the grave, I live through that experience all over again. And I remember what a loving, compassionate heart that she has.

Who know’s what is in the heart of a child?
I still cry everytime I read that story. I never knew she wrote that in her journal until we were going through some of her possessions after she passed. My mother let me have her journal and some letters she had wrote. My grandmother and I share a passion for writing too.

Years later, when I was visiting my sister, I drove to that old home place and asked the owner if I could just go out there where it was buried. I had Dakota and Dallas with me too. They saw the favorite place where I spent alot of my summers growing up. The lady who lived there was an old friend of my grandparents.

I told my boys of how when it was still alive that I would sneak out of the house at night or anytime, and go get the baby and get underneath the barn and feed it. If I ever came up missing they knew where to find me.

So, there started my passion for goats.
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Sometimes even the rest gets involved a little. Right now Dallas is helping take care of the bucks and he does an awesome job and they just love him.Dallas wanting to learn how to take care of the boys. Legacy was right on his heels the whole time. 2012-05-16_09-09-43_353 Dallas says he's feeling a little toooo much love. Lol this is my big baby Yaz. He looks like a big eore.

Even my momma and daddy love to play with them when they visit.My momma absolutely loves them. My husband and Dakota has “curiosity from the house” syndrome. Its where, they will be in the house and holler down to the pasture and ask things like, “Are you alright?” “Do you need anything?” “Has she had the babies yet?” “How many did she have and what are they?”They will come and “gander” at them and thats about the extent of it. The only thing Dakota helps me with is disbudding. My husband (I found out) as tough as he is, does not like the hollering during disbudding. He did it one time and said never again. He doesn’t even want to be around. Dakota helps because he is the next strong one in line. He holds them just right to keep me from burning them or me. Next, I will teach Dallas because Dakota is tired of doing it. My husband and Dakota will only help if there is something I cant do, like um, mend a fence. They will pitch in and feed and water if I am sick and cant, but by no means would they ever try to milk one. Dallas tries but just hasn’t got the hang of it yet. Bless his heart.2012-07-08_21-16-04_934
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I always told my husband(earlier in our marriage) that when we got land of our own I was going to have a farm some day. So here we are.Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App


Proverbs 27: 26-27

The lambs are for thy clothing, and the goats are the price of the field: and thou shalt have goats milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance for thy maidens.

Isaiah 40:11

He shall feed his flock like a shepherd, he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.

Let me start by begging you, dont just go buy a goat and tie it in the yard and forget it. Or buy one just because you dont want to mow your yard. Or even because Little Sally wants one because they are cute and she wants a pet. They do grow up and you have to at least know how to take care of them. There is alot more to it than that. Serious goat owners know this and are concerned about the health and well being of their goats. Also goats are sociable animals, they dont like to be alone, you may need to get a companion. Just dont get a brother sister combo or you will have “inbreeding” issues. Goats have a personality all their own. I have stubborn ones, timid ones, and nice and loving ones. They will make you laugh, cry and sometimes push your buttons. The thing I have learned best about goats personalities is they catch on to some things pretty quick, like milking order. Mine stand in line come milking time and they know who goes first and whose next. God forbid anyone breaks line or your gonna get butted. If they are having a difficult time learning something new, trust me when I say you need PATIENCE!!!!!!!!!!!!! They will eventually get the hang of it, until then you will get frustrated but keep your cool, cause they can sense your anger and that does not help.

An animals Angel I try to be, taking them in to live harm free. Showing them love and that life is good, so many are just misunderstood. Taking in rescues to do my part, healing their wounds as well as their hearts. From birth to death, farmers witness it all. And we truly understand that there is a time for everything under heaven.

Disclaimer Statement:

I want to say one thing, If you don’t remember anything else you read on this blog, remember this. This is my disclaimer: I am by no means a veterinarian, or do I have a license in Veterinarian College.  Nor do I have a degree in Animal Science. What I do on my farm is through countless hours of my own research and helpful advice of other goat owners. What I do on my farm, works for me, it may not work for you. I’m not stating anything that you have to claim as your own. You do what works for you and your farm life. Do research, get into goat groups on the internet. And most importantly, have a good relationship with a vet in your area. BY ALL MEANS IF YOUR GOAT GETS SICK AND YOU HAVE TRIED EVERYTHING AND NOTHING WORKS OR YOU ARE AFRAID TO TRY SOMETHING, TAKE IT TO THE VET!

I have a good relation with my vet, although he doesn’t know everything there is to know about goats. Hes great with small animals and maybe horses and cows. Sometimes I have been at a loss and had to do my own research and finding counsel from other owners. Sometimes I have learned through trial and error, and I hate the error part. I hate to loose one and “then” find out something I could have done to help. That’s how it goes with livestock on a farm. If you do not have a reliable veterinarian find a good source you trust and is knowledgeable about goats. Texas A and M University is good. Maybe a college that has a good Small Ruminant Specialist.

My second Disclaimer(just a repeat from the first) is the things on this page is what I do on my farm. By no means am I telling you to do it exactly the way I am or as I say. I have many goat friends and none of us do things the same way concerning our farm and animals. We can help give each other advice and help one another, but you have to do what is right for your circumstances and situations in your herd. By all means do your own research. We do not condemn each other for one anothers practices and comments pointed toward that will not be tolerated.

An Ounce of Prevention is worth a Pound of Cure:

This next statement I say with the upmost respect. I know all the big controversies of Natural Versus Chemical dependency. But trust me when I say I have tried both ways, and let me tell you, I will always go the route of “An ounce of Prevention is worth a Pound of cure!” I have tried natural and not treating until I “see” symptoms, but sometimes by then it is already too late. I know this without the shadow of a doubt. Its ok to try herbal alternatives for prevention measures, I have. But when an animal is going down fast, herbals take longer to work and you may be running out of time. You may have to resort to other measures. You may have to go chemical in order to save them in a timely manner. I will take no criticism for how I maintain my goats health. If you get sick you will go to a dr. and tell them to do what ever they need to do to get rid of your ailment. Well, I do the same with my livestock. I will do whatever I can to save them from harm or hurt. I do take a preventative measure when it comes to vaccinations.  Please consider a vaccination program. Find out what is common in your area and what your herd might be susceptible of getting and vaccinate accordingly.  Know how the vaccine works and the proper way to use it according to doseage and booster. If it is not labeled for goats you might want to ask a trusted goat breeder. There are new vaccines coming out all the time. Stay on top of them. Study up on them. Find out what is available for goats.

What kind of breed should I choose for my herd:

I will start off first on some basics. Lets talk what kind of breed you want. Well, the choices are endless. You have your meat goat, which around where I live is Boer Goats. Then you have your fiber goat which is Angora Goats and Cashmere. You have miniatures like Pygmies and Dwarf breeds. Then my all time favorite is Dairy Goats.
In your dairy goats there are many breeds, Nubians, Saanens, Sables, Alpines, LaMancha, Toggenburg, and Oberhasli. You need to know what you want out of your animal to bring something back to your farm and purpose. I raise Nubian Dairy Goats because I want the milk for its nutritional value. You can make other things with the milk like cheese, yogurt, ice cream, sour cream and butter. The whey can be used in breads and you can even feed it to young livestock. I also like Nubians because their ears…
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Ok, one of my girls got into some blue paint, can you tell which one?


Now for housing, I chose to buy(or rent to own) one of these nifty, already buildings. I love it. They built it, delivered it, and set it up.Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

My girls love it, especially on a snowy, winter day when they say, “No way am I coming out there!” lol Since my husband works out of town alot, I didnt want to bother him with building me something. But bless his heart, he did build me a kidding pen and a feeding stall.Photobucket

He also spent a few days putting my fence up too:Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Do not skimp on a good fence, especially if you have bucks. Go high and tight with their fence, cause in the fall when they are in rut, they will go through or over a fence to get to a doe because their adrenaline and hormones are raging and all caution is in the wind or should I say out the window. I have repaired many a fences due to this.

Make sure they have a place of shade to get in out of the hot sun in the hottest part of the summer. No, their not dead their just chilling in the sand and being lazy.Photobucket

They scratch up some of that sandy dirt where it is cool underneath and flop down in it. lol But they also have a shade to relax in too.Photobucket Photobucket

Your shelter does not have to be elaborate, use your imagination and google some shelters. It can be a simple 3 sided lean to or anything you have on hand. As long as theyve got something to get in to out of the weather. If yours is like mine, they dont like getting wet. This will make your goats very happy see…Photobucket

If you have a building or build a floor for a shed, make sure you line it with something. Hay, straw, shavings or rubber mats. You will need to keep it clean everyday or as often as possible, because uderneath muck, there can grow parasites and bacteria, not to mention the smell of amonia from their urine is enough to make them sick. I have used all. I like the rubber mats option because you can sweep them off everyday and you can take them out once or twice a year and bleach them and clean them really good. I have a friend who experimented with herculiner. She really likes it. Sweeps it out everyday and urine doesnt soak through and ruin the wood. Once a year you need to do a thorough cleaning with detergent or bleach and water and throw some lime down to get rid of the urine smell. Another thing I like to use is Diatomaceous Earth. After I clean the floor, I sprinkle this on the floor and Wholah! No flies! It kills them and the larvae they lay, hence, no maggotts or worms. DE is also a natural dewormer. We’ll talk about that later. There is nothing worse than trying to milk on a hot summer day and you are already pouring down with sweat and flies are biting you and them. I do not have trouble with flies in the barn by using DE. Make sure you keep spider webs at bay, you dont want them getting bit.
Photobucket Remember everybody and everything needs cool fresh water. Its hot out there. Me I prefer a glass of cold milk goat of course or a big glass of sweet tea. Yall come back now ya hear. Lol


Make sure they have plenty access to water. In the summer you may have to change it to refresh it after it has set in the sun for a while, or you can add ice cubes or something of that sort. In the winter, they like warm water, its like their morning coffee, and it helps get them warm. You might want some kind of solar powered heat in the trough or some way of keeping the water from getting froze in the winter. THEY NEED WATER!!!!!!! The more water they drink, the more milk they produce too. Water is also essential to flushing out parasites. Make sure to clean and scrub water and feed troughs at least once or twice a week to cut down on parasites. Laying them in the sun helps too since sunshine kills parasites.  Goats will get really sick if they get dehydrated.  Electrolytes in the water is good in summer. In winter you can use warm water and molasses to encourage more drinking.  You can also check into Solar Powered Water tanks for summer and winter. Find some way to keep then defrosted or frost free in winter.

Oh, and it helps to have a watch cat too. Sorry, I thought Id just throw that in there for the laugh. Now back to business.


What kind of weed is this mommy? Its Bermuda grass and its good for you. What kind is this one mommy? Its just a weed but we eat those too. But why mommy? Why? Why?
Goats are browsers not grazers. They will eat anything (except tin cans thats a myth by the way). There are some plants that are poisonous to goats. I have seen on an occasion where one might be picky as to what they eat, but not many. There is a controversy of pasturing versus grain fed goats. People have their preferences in this category. You do what is best for you. My goats have plenty of pasture, and they get plenty of hay free choice.
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Hay is essential to a goats diet because the roughage helps their rumen function properly. They need the fiber. They also need it to chew their cud. They are ruminants, if something happens to the rumen, they get sick.There are all types of hay you can get according to your region. Alfalfa is the best but in our zone, we dont have it because we cant grow it here. So alot of farmers go to legume, or grass hays like bermuda, etc. Again,do your research. Your local CoOp or Farmers Market can help you. Also your County Extension Office. Your local Co-Op and County Extension Office can also help plan a pasture for you to plant to grow your own hay and pasture etc. One thing to remember dont mow it down or bush hog it too short, I let mine grow. Reason for this is, parasites come up the grass stems before the sun comes out. They go back down to the soil when the sun comes out because the sun kills parasites. It is safer to let the grass get high so they do not eat close to the ground where they will pick up eggs and bacteria. Also, never let them get a hold of moldy or wet hay or feed. This will make them very sick and cause rumen problems.  Its a good idea to sometimes give Probiotics as a prevention to help condition the rumen and keep it functioning properly.

If you choose to feed grain, at least get one with 16% or higher protein. I feed grain especially to pregnant does for the energy and nutrition to grow a healthy kid, and milking does to produce good milk. During breeding season bucks can use a little more to help keep up with energy benefits for breeding. If you can mix your own feed, I am so glad, I wish I could. Just dont overdo on the corn. Corn has been noted to cause diarrhea and Urinary Calculi (stones) in bucks. Another important thing about grain or anything you want to feed them. Dont do it in excess, or switch feed all the sudden. You can throw the rumen off balance and they will get diarrhea. If you have to switch feed, do it gradually. Put a little of the new in with the old each day til all the old is gone and all you have is new. Make sure you store your food properly. Choose air tight containers like barrells, tubs with lids, or something to keep the food from getting moldy or loose its freshness or quality. When babies are being weaned and they start eating grain, watch carefully to make sure they do not get too much at one time, this will cause Enterotoxemia (overeating). They can get diarrhea to and dehydrate. They can also bloat. Bloat is sometimes a number one killer in kids.
Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App Davis took time out of his spoiling day to help me bury me sweet cocoa. She has been sick for some time. I will miss her sweet little face. RIP Cocoa. This I was Dallas buddy too they grew up together. We are comforting each other.

Some other essentials is baking soda, to keep good bacteria in the rumen and for proper function of the rumen. If they get bloated, it makes them burp like we have to sometimes. Keep goat minerals free choice. Alot of people keep salt free choice. Usually, the minerals you buy have salt in it. You can be sure to ask your local Co-op or feed supply store. Make sure your mineral has copper in it. Goats need copper, sheep don’t. If you purchase a sheep mineral, there will not be enough copper. If you notice the minerals are not being eaten by free choice, sprinkle some on their food. Try to keep on hand, Pro-Biotics or yogurt. Anytime you see clumpy poop, it could be a rumen inbalance due to stress or they could have gotten into something that didn’t agree with them. Buff it back up with this.

I cover Copper benefits for your goat on my Goat Parasites Page.  Very good read. Another good read just off the top of my head is also in the Dairy Goat Journal: B Vitamins in Ruminants. Why they’re so important!

The only other thing a buck might need different than a doe is Ammonium Chloride. This helps the bucks from getting Urinary Calculi aka…kidney stones. It can be purchased at any goat supply place or co-op. You can sprinkle it on their food or you could mix it in with their minerals.

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Trimming Hooves:

This is very crucial to your goats health. You may be thinking, “What’s hoof trimming got to do with their health?” Well, ALOT. If you do not take care of their hooves they can get Hoof Rot which can cause alot of health problems. Bacteria gets in through the walls of the hoof. If you let them get too long it causes walking problems, lameness and sore legs and stiff joints because they cant walk properly. Their are vaccinations for hoof rot. If you notice them starting to walk around on their knees, check their hooves. Check between toes for infection. If there is a fowl smell, something is wrong.

Here are some basic tools you will need:Photobucket Photobucket

A good set of hoof trimmers, you can find these at goat supply stores or your local Co-Op. I don’t use the plane, I don’t know how and really haven’t needed one.

See the difference in these two hooves:Photobucket
See how the outside walls are overlapping, this is where your dirt and bacteria get caught. In wet conditions, it gets worse. This is how their hooves are suppose to look:Photobucket
You will have to hold your goat somewhere like on a milk stand or tie them to a fence to make them stand still. You pick up each hoof and position it in your hand, it might be a good idea to wear gloves since I have cut myself plenty of times. Start with the outside walls and trim that extra away going all the way out to the end of the hoof:Photobucket

Then you can start to trim away some of the heel that if it gets too bad the ball of the hoof will get too big and make them sore. You want to make sure everything is kept even and straight: Photobucket

That looks so much better doesnt it. Here is a diagram showing you the parts of the hoof:Photobucket

Winterize Your Goats:

Here’s a few tips to keep them warm and safe during winter. Things I havent thought of.
Frostbite : Goats are indeed susceptible to frostbite. If your does udders have been clipped,(hair shaven around udder) they are unprotected and can be damaged with prolonged exposure to freezing temperatures. Dr. Naylors Udder Balm can provide a protective layer to prevent frostbite, as well as prevent drying and chapping of the skin itself. Nubian and Boer goats can suffer frostbite on those long ears, so a coating of Udder Balm on the underside of them is a good way to protect them as well.

Immune Booster:
Now is the time to order any antibiotics and immune boosting serums like Bovi-Sera or Goat Serum. When the outside temps dip down, the more their immune system is compromised. Just like you when you get a cold during winter. Give them a shot of one 0f these to boost their immune system to get them ready to ward off anything in the winter. You should check expiration dates on any medications you have around and re-order any that are out of date, or ones that were stored in the heat of summer. Those high temperatures wreak havoc with medications! Another little trick is Childrens Chewable Vitamin C or Gummies. yummy!

In a recap: always monitor your animals everyday. I mean physically look at them everyday. There are clues that let you know when something is wrong. Notice coat, it should be shiny and healthy looking. If it is beginning to look rough, brittle, changing colors, or loosing hair, there is an issue. Notice eyelids, they should be bright pink when you pull down on lower lid. If they are pale pink to white, you have an issue. (look at famacha chart on my Goat Parasite and Management page). If they are grinding teeth, isolating themselves from the rest of the herd, standing hunched up or just not acting like themselves, then something is wrong.  If you notice clumpy poop or wet poop, there is an issue. You will have to rule out things and do process of elimination to figure out what is going on. Goats are pretty hardy animals but they do get sick sometimes. They can be sick for a long time and not show any symptoms. Then when they do start showing symptoms you only have an open window of time to get them healthy again.  Get involved in some goat groups on facebook or yahoo. I have gleaned lots of information from these.

Now comes the best parts. Im going to try to take you from breeding to birth to taking care of babies and mommas to milking and such. So, buckle up. Boy, we got alot to talk about.

Keeping your goats de-wormed will help them utilize the calories you are providing to them for warmth. If they cant absorb the calories because of a worm infestation, they are doubly at risk from the little evil invaders! If you keep your goats in a barn for warmth, that cozy confine can also concentrate parasite infestations and sources, so de-worming is crucial . Once you have de-wormed your goats with your choice of de-wormers, you should provide a dose of Probios or another probiotic(yogurt) to restore healthy Rumen. I explain alot of these procedures and different wormers on my Goat Parasite and Management page.


In order for a dairy goat to produce milk, they have to have a baby first. I know what your thinking, DUH! but believe it or not some people didnt know that.
Lets start with breeding. Make sure your bucks and does are in optimum health before breeding season by trimming hooves, worming, vaccinating, and a shot of Vitamin E and Selenium wouldnt hurt either. Breeding season usually starts in August and goes to February of the following year. Some areas are different. Coolness and daylight hours can play a part in this too. Let me also forewarn you that the bucks put off a pungent smell this time of year. You will have to get accustom to it. Make sure you dont skip out on putting up a good fence for your buck pen. Around breeding season and hormones are raging, bucks are nortorious for jumping and destroying a fence to get to a doe. Make it high and tight. (as previous stated).

If you dont own a buck of your own, you will need to find a breeder or learn Artificial Insemination. Now, my husband is picky and want let me breed with anything that doesnt have papers on them. I am a member of ADGA (American Dairy Goat Association) so I need papers on all my animals so I can register them.

Before I got my own bucks, I would always have to load up my girls and take them to the breeder. Now, first this can get annoying after a while and tiresome. Not to mention, it stresses them out and it can throw their heat off cycle. URGH!!!! Alot of times I would get to the breeder and my girls wouldnt like the buck of my choosing or they were not “in the mood”. They would run the poor buck to death making him chase them. I had one that would literally do that. She insisted on being WHOOED! like flowers, candy, and no kissing on the first date. Oh, Please! I could get so aggravated with her. She had to have it her way.

Believe it or not, they sometimes like to choose to whom they are bred with despite what you say. I had one that didnt like any buck I took her to til she found her Prince Charming, then she fell in love.

And then it was really bad if they didnt “take”, which means did not get pregnant and you get them home and 21 days later they come back into heat. URGH!!!! Back to the breeder we would go.Ive had one to absolutely what so ever not want to get pregnant, she would literally lay down and not get up for the buck. URGH!!!!! Finally, one year, my friend made my girl stay there until we got a confirmed pregnancy test that said POSITIVE! (sometimes we draw blood to test for pregnancy). I think she wound up staying with her for 3 months. My friend said she is not leaving here until she is pregnant. Hallelulliah, I was so excited. This same girl wound up giving me twins.

Trust me when I say every goat is different and they have their own personalities.You also need to choose a good buck. Look for genetics, pedigrees, most of all, do a good look over. Make sure he is healthy. Shiney coat, bright eyes, not fat, but muscular looking, check hooves to make sure they are trimmed properly. You can throw in a little handsome if you want to. lol

Now, back to the buck part. Also if you dont have a buck, it may be hard to tell the signs of heat on your doe. Some are easier to tell than others but trust me, a buck knows everytime, even when you cant tell. Now that I have my own bucks, this is so much easier. But here are some signs: wagging of the tail, hollering or bawling, a little loss of appetite, isolating themselves from the rest of the herd, the vulva might swell and enlarge and even turn a pinkish color, with a little white discharge. If you have bucks near, they will be walking around hollering trying to “find” them or walk their fence line. Mine can get close to my bucks fence and tease my bucks. If you still are having trouble find a friend who has a few bucks and get them to rub a rag all over this buck and bring it to you. Get it out and let your girls sniff it..then watch that tail. This may bring them into heat.

Their cycle is every 18 to 21 days. You will need to time it if you dont want all your babies born at the same time. You can stagger your breeding dates. When you see these signs it is time to breed them. If you are having trouble telling the signs and you have a buck here are the ways he will let you know. He will smell the air and pucker out his top lip, he will stick his tongue out and blubber like hes talking to her, he will urinate on himself, and he will try pawing at her at first, then he will mount her. If she runs from him, she is either toying with his emotioins..UHHUM!! or she is not in “standing heat”. Standing heat is when they literally stand still for breeding. If you see a good “connection” then you can bet they bred and you will have babies. If they dont get down to business right when you put them together, or if the doe is not ready yet to let him mount her, you can choose to house them together for the duration of her cycle. Be sure to mark it on the calendar, if she didnt “take” she will come back into heat 18 to 21 days later. Then you will have to try again.Photobucket

When you do find out she is “with child”(or children) lol then its time to take care of the doe. Ok, I spoil mine.
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A does gestation (or pregnancy term) is  148 to 152 days or 5 months, give or take a few days.You’ll start noticing changes in her mood, behavior, and she’ll start showing before long.You can even draw a blood sample YIKES!!!!!! thats the only thing Im scared of doing. Nope, not me! You can go to Bio-Trackings website (below) and their is a link that shows a 9 year old girl drawing blood. I know if she can I can, but Im a wuss. If you are like me and scared to do this..she will start showing. One way I could tell was the belly starts getting rounder and hanging lower when you look at them from the side. Babies on the right, Rumen on the left. Remember that. Also, when you look at her from behind you will notice her udder or teats being pushed toward the back (between the legs instead of the waist). Ok, maybe I spend too much time looking at my goats rear ends. Go figure! They start fighting alot because of hormones raging.

Great goat news

Look what I stumbled across on the internet. Goat pregnancy tests. Yep yep yep. I will definitely be getting some of these next year. We have been waiting on something as simple as this. They finally made some for goats. They are a little pricey but well worth the wait and worry of “Is she or is she not pregnant?”


If this is a first time mom, go ahead now and start getting her use to the milkstand and touching her udder and teats. If you dont, your gonna have trouble when you try to milk them for the first time after babies are weaned. Trust me I know. They will kick and possibly tear up your milkstand. I have gotten a busted lip before and almost kicked in the head. You may need to hobble them. I hate this, but eventually they learn and get the hang of it. Ive got one that was such “DRAMA” when she would get on the milkstand. If the neighbors didnt know me any better, they would swear I was torturing her or something. You can even start them out when they are little like trimming their hooves while they are on the milkstand. Just rub them all over and get use to being handled and they want be so wild.2012-09-02_17-51-06_350

Ok, where was I? Oh, yes, taking care of doe. Keep her hooves trimmed because shes on her feet alot and shes going to put on some more weight. Make sure you dont change her diet. About a month before she is due increase her grain a little to help give her energy to carry these babies or baby. Note: goats can have up to 5 babies at a time. You may get one, or several depends on genetics too. They can get so big they get miserable. This is Joe Joe with twins she moans when she breathes. Bless her heart.

Ginger surprised me with triplets one morning:
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At 4 to 6 weeks before she kids (gives birth) vaccinate her with a CD/T Vaccine. Any brand name is fine, its just the diseases you are looking for as to what to vaccinate against. This protects her and passes a little of the vaccine to the baby but not much. I give a booster 6 months later.Also, some ranchers vaccinate against Mastitis with J-5 and Lysigin. This is an option I may look into. Keep a watch on Calcium levels around two weeks before kidding. A little trick is one Tums tablet everyday. Fruity flavor. Also, watch her energy level. These two things are Hypocalcemia (low calcium) and Hypoglycemia (low sugar). You can find these two articles at  http://www.tennesseemeatgoats.com under Health and Management Articles.

Close to Labor:
You will then start noticing her udder getting bigger, its beginning to fill up with milk. It will start appearing shiny on some that dont have alot of hair on their udder. Some start early, some may not form one til the day of birth. Every goat is different, dont panic. Her vulva will start getting larger and expanding. She will get even moodier. You might notice a little discharge. The last thing I look for and I can pin point when mine are gong to deliver usually with in 24 hrs or maybe less. I will try to describe it as best as I can. It is checking the trail bone ligaments. Run your Index and forefinger down both sides of the tail bone with the bone between these two fingers. When you get to the end of the tail bone you will split off and feel something like two cords, one on each side of the tailbone. As soon as these cords disappear or you cant feel them anymore, you can just about touch your index finger and forefinger together around the tail bone, she could go at any time. The best way to know how this feels is to start practicing on a doe and see what it feels like, so there will be no mistake when you cant “feel” them anymore. This has helped me many a times.

Around this time, I would get her in the kidding pen or a good, clean, dry designated area for her to give birth. Preferably away from the other goats so she can be peaceful and not disturbed. She doesnt need to be stressed. I like to be present at all births if at all possible. I have only missed one. But Im glad I put her in the kidding pen that night. You dont want then having them out in the cold because mom might not get them dry and warm quick enough before hypothermia sets in. Plus, you dont want other does being nosey and bothering mom or possibly hurting babies.

I pack me a “to do” bag with magazines, etc. to keep me busy while Im waiting on her to go into active labor. I will usually have the boys to bring me something to eat too. I had one girl that I sat with her “all” day one time, and finally my husband begged me to come up to the house to eat, and the minute my back was turned, she had done had it. She had already had it about clean when I came back to the barn. I was mortified. I think she did that on purpose. lol

You should start noticing a brown mucousy discharge like brown slime coming out of the vagina area. Active signs of labor are: pawing at the ground, getting up and laying down repeatedly, becoming affectionate towards you, like licking you and staying close to you. When she lays down one final time, she will start pushing.She will start moaning and grunting.

From this point on, Dallas could probably write. That kid knows everything thats gonna happen and if something doesnt look right, he knows. He has done his share of drying off babies, helping tie umbilical chords, to helping nurse. The only thing I havent let him do yet is give shots. When he gets older I will teach him.

You will start seeing a little bubble with fluid. Inside this bubble will appear two tiny hooves and then the head. (this is normal birthing postion). If you dont see hooves or head first, the baby may be turned or hung. I have had one to have a breech birth, butt first. She had a hard time and the baby was stressed. Sometimes they correct themselves, sometimes you may have to intervene. I have been lucky so far and not had to “go in”. If you have to do this, wash your hands and arms up to the elbows with a antibacterial detergent or soapy water, or wear gloves. You can get these at your vet or goat supply store. Remove all rings and other jewelry. You should go in and feel for front hooves and the head, try to position them to where they will come out first. If you are afraid to do this please call someone who is experienced. If you dont help, you may loose baby and mom. If you have to help pull, do it when she is pushing. When the baby comes out, dont pull the umbilical chord or try to rip it. You can hurt the baby. Let it tear on its own. If you have had to go in, after all is done and settled down, give an antibiotic like Penicillin to ward off infection in the uterus.
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Bring baby around to momma and let her start licking on it and bonding with it. You can assist to help the process go faster by having some old towels, sheets or bounty paper towels(they hold up better) to wipe the baby with. Clear the eyes and nose so it can breathe. If she is going to have anymore, she should start pushing again about 10 minutes later. Repeat the process as to how many babies she has. After I get them dry and they are alert I try to see if they will start nursing by helping them “find” mommas teat. The sooner you get colostrum into them the better. I let them calm down some. I tie the umbilical chord with dental floss about an inch past the belly. Then dip in Iodine to keep bacteria and germs out. I then like to give a shot of Bovi-Sera to boost the immune system. You can get this from Hoegger Goat Supply. I am a firm believer in it. You can also give them Nurti Drench to jump start them. It is high in vitamins and minerals that gets into the system fast. I then give mom some honey and water or molasses and water. This will give her back energy and electrolytes. If mom has not expelled afterbirth after a few hours, you might want to call someone. If she doesnt expell the afterbirth, it could be dangerous. Now, when she does expell it, you can choose to clean out the pen and bury it or you can let her eat it. I know that sounds gross, but it has nutrients that replenishes what she has lost. This is just nature and how God designed animals. Just remember, if she has pushed far too long and nothing happening go in or call someone who can help.

Let me back up here and say, some mothers do not have that natural mother instinct. I had one that absolutely scared of those things that just came out of her bottom. She would not lick them, so after we wiped and dried off baby and it started walking around, it came toward her to nurse and she ran behind me and hid. You will have to intervene and be patient. You may have to collect some milk from mom or get a milk replacer and bottle feed baby til you get the mom use to her babies and teach her what to do. This will take some time, I would put mine up on a milk stand and collect milk, then eventually sneak the babies up there til she eventually was letting them nurse all by herself. I was sure to praise her for this. You can try an old amish trick and rub a little syrup on top of babies head to encourage mom to lick it. Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

If you have babies when it is cold weather, you might want to put something on the baby like a sweater or something. I have doggie sweaters that I buy when they go on sale. They come in handy. (notice some pics with them on). People sell goat pajamas. They have them for boys and girls. You can also find things at a thrift store like toddler sweatshirts or baby onesies. They work great. I have even used womens sweatshirts on my does to keep them warm.  If it is winter time, get those babies dried off as fast as possible and warm. Pay close attention to drying legs off too. If they are cold and wet kids will not want to stand and this can cause issues. Youve got to stable their body temp or they get chilled. A chilled goat is an almost dead goat. Get some of moms colostrum in them. They need this within the first 24 hrs. It is crucial to their immune systems. If baby will not or can not nurse or suck bottle, you will need to tube feed it. Remember to stabalize temp first before feeding. Pushing liquids in while its cold will make it sick. If your not sure how to tube feed there is plenty of videos on you tube.

Me and Dallas likes to spend the night in the barn or “camp out” the first night to make sure babies are going to make it and mommas are ok.Photobucket Photobucket

Now lets cover an issue here. To nurse or not to nurse.
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Some owners choose to take the babies and bottle feed them. This makes the baby more friendly to humans and sociable. Some do this to prevent CAE or any other disease that is passed through milk. If you choose this, do not let her lick the baby or even see it after she has it. If she bonds, you might be in trouble because she will grieve. I have known some does to just refuse to let the baby nurse at all and not even want to have anything to do with the baby. They do not have that mother instinct in them.(See info above on this issue). You will have to intervene on this one. You will need to purchase some colostrum powder then milk replacer to feed the babies or you can milk mom and put it in bottles and feed the baby. Either way works. (see above notes about tubing babies if they can not nurse or suck or mom rejects them).  Babies usually get bottles every 4 hrs. The first few days, little milk, more feedings. After a few weeks, increase milk, fewer feedings. Around 6 to 8 wks, you can start weaning them. Some goat owners go longer before weaning. But the sooner they get that rumen working by nibbling hay and grass and grain, the better.

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I choose to let the babies nurse on mom. I love the way God made them to do this by nature. The baby learns alot from the mom just by watching. They will start to nibble on hay, grass and grain and even drink water just like mommy.Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

The babies learn so much more from the mom besides eating and drinking. They learn herd order and survival instinct. Everyone knows who the herd queen is. She is the boss and she will get respect. I have a bossy one, but she also protects everyone. If anything comes in that barn, it dont stay long cause she will butt it completely out of the barn and make them wish they had not dared to step in. They send out alerts to the herd and everyone listens. Its called survival of the fittest. If we interfere with that and what instinct God gave them, we might be making a mistake. I do not condemn other people for what they do on their farms cause we all do not do the same thing. To each his own. This is just how I choose. I love to see the moms teaching and the kids learning.

Milking Time:

Come weaning time, I use what is called an udder support from Hoegger Goat Supply. It covers up the udder so the baby cant nurse but they can still stay together.Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

Notice the white harness contraption, that is the udder support. It can be removed when you need to milk and tightened.When it is time to wean,you can choose to start cutting down nursing times just like the mom does. Maybe twice a day, then after a few weeks, once a day nursing. This helps the baby emotionally because they can still be with mom but being weaned at the same time. If you have bucks, they will need to be separated after weaning. Does can hang with the moms, but when the bucks become of breeding age, well, you dont want inbreeding.Do they like this bra….Uh, No.This girl escaped hers several times before she knew I was persistent. 2012-07-18_09-47-41_85 2012-07-18_09-47-50_392

When it comes time to milk, you want a clean place to milk in. Keep it clean and sanitary as possible. Secure the doe onto milk stand (if you do not have one, tie their collar to the fence and grab a bucket and sit down.) Give her a little grain and get comfy. I clean the udder with teat wipes, baby wipes, or just plain old soap and water and a towel. Then dry the udder and teats so your hands dont slip.2012-09-02_18-00-41_156 Gently squeeze the teat and pull slightly in a downward motion til the milk squirts out.2012-09-02_17-59-51_423

Here are some natural teat care recipes:
Udderly Natural Teat Spray
15-20 drops Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE)
12 oz. water
Add water to a spray bottle and then add GSE. Shake gently before each use.
Udderly Natural Daily Teat Balm
1 cup coconut oil
30 drops peppermint essential oil
30 drops tea tree essential oil
Incorporate essential oils into the coconut oil and place in a small mason jar (shallow with wide mouth is best). Apply after teat spray daily or as needed to prevent chaffing.

Some does are easier to milk than others. They have different teat sizes and udder sizes. Ive got all kinds. Ive got one that milks like a cow. Some people use milk buckets, pails, jars, whatever you want to use to catch your milk in is fine. Make sure it is clean too. Afterwards, clean the udder and teats again. Give her a little treat and thank her for her milk. Bring your milk in asap and filter it either with a strainer and a milk filter from Hoegger, or you can use a mason jar with a coffee filter rubber banded around the mouth and filter. Then refrigerate asap. Then drink up.My girls milk is so good I think it deserves a goblet. Here here...

Photobucket There are all sorts of milk stands out there. You can buy one out of steel, aluminum or iron. Or some websites have plans to build your own.
Since I have Rheumatoid Arthritis, my husband bought me my handy dandy milker. I got it from Udderly EZ milker. I love it.
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In order for momma to produce alot of milk, she needs plenty of water and good quality hay. Grain can be give to her on the milk stand. You give a lb. of grain for every lb. of milk she is giving. (I think thats right). You can google it. You dont want her to get fat. Enjoy your milk, but remember what goes in must come out. You dont want her eating little wild onions or something that has an odor, cause it comes out in the milk. If you smell an off smell, consider what she has eaten or her health. Just because they are goats doesnt mean the milk should taste goaty. If you are having to worm or give medicine, you shouldnt consume the milk. Give it to the animals or dump it. Find out the milk withdrawal times on medicines and wormers.  I hate to waste such good milk.
There are all kinds of other milkers like big milking machines, to smaller ones. You can google them to find which is best for you. If you dont have electricity in your barn you might check out:  http://segelmade.com    I have recently bought this one since my hands have gotten worse. I  do not have electricity in my barn and this works fine for me. Watch their website video. I love the way it gently pulsates. It is not hard on the udder at all. The milk is contained in the bucket so it can not get dirty. Not to mention clean up is easy and the price is right.

I will cover Udder issues like Mastitis later in Diseases of the Goat. I dont want to overwhelm you at one time.

Low Milk Production:
There are alot of things to take into consideration if your does milk supply starts getting low. First is diet. Is she getting enough grain, hay pasture for the amount of milk she is giving. It takes energy and calories to produce milk. Next, might be some kind of health issue like parasite overload, vitamin or mineral difeciency, Mastitis or if she has been bred and she just needs the extra energy to raise healthy strong kids. There may be more issues, but these come to mind first. Please monitor your does everyday, keep a chart. Some does milk better and longer than others. Ive known some to milk good for 6 mths then all the sudden go down in production. Ive known some to milk clear up to the time she kids again. Every doe is different. I also believe it depends on genetics.

Utilize that fresh milk:

By all means, when you start getting an over abundance of milk, do something with it. Make cheese, yogurt, ice cream, butter, soap, etc. Dont waste it. If you dont want to do any of those, give it to other farm animals, especially cats and dogs. Other animals benefit well from it because of the nutrition. Donate some to animal shelters, vets, etc. Be careful selling it because in some states its illegal to sell raw milk. URGH!!!!!! People just needs to get a clue as to the benefits of raw milk.As a matter of fact people can read about it on my page: Benefits of Raw Goats Milk.

You can freeze milk for other purposes besides drinking. After it has been frozen it will not taste fresh and not taste good for adults to drink, but now babies can because they dont have taste buds yet. Remember moms freeze their breast milk for later use. I have froze ALOT of milk and then started practicing my cheesemaking.

You can can it. Here is an article from Hoegger Goat Supply (reprinted with permission in exchange for helping promote websites) on canning milk. 

How to can milk

While freezing milk will taste more like fresh, it takes up a lot of space in the freezer which costs energy to keep it frozen. Canning milk is one way to preserve your milk and save energy at the same time. It will keep for a long time on the shelf and will taste like any canned milk available from the grocery store. It will not be suitable for drinking, but will work great for making soups, sauces, gravies, puddings, fudge, etc. I like to have at least 100 quarts and a few pints put away so that when I dry off my does before kidding I have enough canned milk to get by until they freshen again.

In my book,  Goats Produce Too! I have included two methods of canning milk: hot water bath method and pressure canning.

Hot water bath canning is not a recognized or USDA approved method for canning milk. It is a low acid food and the biggest fear is contamination with botulism. Botulism is found in all soils and can be killed with high heat temperatures. It is a bacteria that can grow in air tight containers and it is important that home canners take precautions to keep everything as clean as possible. I personally never had a problem with it because we never drank the canned milk and only used it for cooking. Therefore, everything we made with the canned milk was always cooked at boiling temperatures. My goats are very clean and we make sure that no debris or dirt is on the udders before we milk. However, because I dont want to promote a method that could prove risky for some people, I will not print a recipe that I would consider dangerous. I recommend that you use a pressure canner only so that you can get the milk to a high enough temperature to kill any harmful bacteria.

When canning milk it is important to only use fresh milk. Do not try to can milk that you have stored in the refrigerator for a few days. Older milk will be more acidic and there is a risk that it could curdle at the high temperatures required to can in a pressure canner.

Equipment needed:

Pressure canner

  • Quart or Pint jars
  • Canning lids with rings
  • Jar lifter to help you get the hot jars out of the canner

Most canning recipes will say that you should use sterilized jars. There are various ways to sterilize the jars. The dishwasher is good, especially if you have a high heat setting on it. They can be washed in hot soapy water, rinsed well and filled with boiling water. Another method is to place the jars in a hot oven for several minutes. Having said all that, I usually just wash in hot soapy water or use my dishwasher. The high heat of the pressure canner is super hot inside and out.

Before filling the clean jars with your milk, you will need to run your finger around the rim of each jar to check for nicks or cracks. Discard any jars that are not smooth and free of defects.

Place your canning lids in a pan and pour boiling water over them. Let them soak in the hot water while you are filling your jars. I dont worry about sterilizing the rings as they do not come in contact with any of the milk.

Keep in mind that this whole process will usually take a good hour for the pressure to build up to 10 lbs and another 30-60 minutes for the canner to cool enough to open it up.

Ready to begin:

Put water in the pressure canner to a depth of 2.5 inches and place on the stove/burner.

  • Fill clean jars with fresh milk, leave 0.5u8243? head space, making sure you donrquote t spill any milk on the rim of the jar. If you do, be sure to wipe it off.
  • Place a lid on the jar, screw on the ring and put into the canner.
  • Once canner is filled, put on the lid, tighten down and turn on the heat.
  • As the canner gets hot and begins to steam, let it exhaust steam for at least ten minutes before closing the exhaust nozzle.
  • Watch the pressure gauge, if your canner has a different set up then follow the manufacturers instructions. It can take up to an hour for the pressure to reach 10lbs. Once the pressure has reached 10lbs, turn off the heat and allow the canner to cool a long time before trying to open the canner. On my canner, I open the exhaust valve and if no more steam escapes, then it is safe to open the canner.
  • Lay a towel on your cupboard, carefully remove hot jars from the canner and place on the towel. Jars should not be touching each other. Allow to cool for 24 hours before checking to make sure they are sealed and moving to storage.

Label them with the month and year the milk was canned. Milk will keep for 1-2 years or more if stored in a cool dark place.
Note: If you live in a high altitude area you need to bring the canner to 15 lbs. pressure.
It is normal for the milk to turn a slight tan color, as the milk sugar will darken the milk at high temperatures. The cream will rise to the top, just shake well before using.


Dairy Herd Improvement Program

The Dairy Herd Improvement program is sometimes referred to as DHI, DHIA, or DHIR. This valuable tool helps evaluate the progress of your herds milk production. You can set goals for your herd so your breeding program has clear direction and a measure of your progress over time and earn permanent dairy stars (those little symbols you often see after the names of registered dairy goats) for all the hard work you re already doing. DHIR is also fairly inexpensive, useful, and exciting!

By testing your goats milk at regular intervals, you have a means to track their production using three or four key components: milk weight (in pounds), butterfat (in pounds and percentage), protein (in pounds and percentage), and somatic cell count (SCC). Generally, the better the goats genetics, condition, and management, the more the goat will produce. Genetics and diet also play a role in how much butterfat and protein the milk will contain, along with the natural lactation curve (how long since the doe last freshened). As one indicator of the health of the does udder, the SCC may clue you in to early changes so you have an opportunity to catch an infection before it gets out of control.

Going on DHIR doesnt require radical changes for most people. You can even dam-raise kids while you participate in DHIR. If you dont normally bottle-raise your kids, you will have to pull the kids 12 hours prior to the first test and keep them away from mom until youre done testing (about 24 hours). This is done so that one can gain an accurate measure of what the doe is producing in a typical day, which cant be done if all the milk goes directly to the kids tummies before being weighed and sampled! Of course, depending on the age of the kids at the time of the test, separating kids from mom may require some interim bottle or dish feeding for that day, similar to the demands of exhibiting in a show.

There are a number of programs from which to choose and now with the improvement of the  Owner Sampler program, there is something for everyone. There are several, very specific rules for DHIR that may direct your selection. If youre not yet ready for the commitment of a full 305-day lactation (about 10 months) or if you dont wish to test all your qualifying does, try a one day test and just test a few. Last year, with sponsorship from Fair Skies, the Alaska Mini Goat Cache put on an ADGA-sanctioned One-Day Group Milk Test at the Alaska State Fair in Palmer and were hoping to do it again this year. Its an easy, fast, and fun way to earn a dairy star for your goat without a huge commitment or even a lot of advance planning.

No matter what program you choose, its best to contact your chosen registrys DHIR committee to get started. From there, you pick a lab anywhere in the US and contact them for a list of certified/licensed testers in your area. Although the sign-up process can seem rather daunting at first, its generally just a matter of listing all your does information on a spreadsheet and submitting this to your lab and registry of choice (you can elect to report to more than one registry).

The costs to test vary by registry and lab, but usually they run less than $5 per goat per monthly test over a standard lactation, including the sign-up, testing, and even sample shipping fees! Of course this depends on the size of your herd and the more does you test, the less you will be required to pay per goat. Note that some labs require monthly fees regardless of the number of samples you send (even if you send in none!). Be sure to ask about the options they offer and ask for help in selecting the most manageable avenue for your herd.

Among all these advantages of participating in DHIR, perhaps the most wonderful is that it provides a means to network and socialize with other like-minded goat enthusiasts. Even if youre new to goats, consider becoming a tester! Its usually free and requires only a simple open-book test annually. Once you have your certification, you can test for others. Its a great way to meet other goat enthusiasts and learn how others manage their herds. Whether you decide to test for others or have your own herd tested, youll get to meet up with a friend and talk goats about once a month.

Now to take care of all those kids.

First let me say, I disbud for many reasons. One, I dont like horns when they get bigger cause they butt you one good time and it hurts, especially if its in the face and your walking up in church with a fat purple lip. lol Or they get their horns caught in a fence and cant get out and could meet with tragedy like predators or chocking to death. Then, if the does fight, they will hurt one another or the baby when butted in the stomach, or if butted in the udder with horns can cause udder damage and the possibility of loosing a doe. I choose to disbud, but to each his own. I have one that I disbudded twice but for some unknown reason they still continued to grow so I just left them alone. They are not incredibly long, they are at a reasonable length. I would like to have them removed by my vet but they kind of fit her personality since she is my She Devil, get it? Plus, she is older and I dont want to stress her out.
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Your vet can remove them but to me it is more intense and excruciating the older they get.

Disbudding with an iron is a humane and safe way to disbud. If it were not I would not use this method. I do not recommend the pastes since they can burn for longer periods of time and can cause too much discomfort in your animal. It is better to do this as soon as you feel those little pea size buds on their head. The earlier the better, they will not remember this later. The longer you wait the harder it is. I have to keep telling myself this cause this is a dreaded part of raising them. I am nervous as all get out and I am tender hearted. It is not for the weak of heart let me put it that way. For my husband to be such a strong man, he is a wienie when it comes to this, I told you that before. I really have to physc myself up come time to disbud. Which means I have to put my big girl panties on and deal with it. I am only helping them out in the long run. I do not want to see any harm come to them. Keep in mind they will holler, mostly because they dont like being held still. This is what I do:

First, have all your supplies ready. You do not want to be scrambling around looking for things when you need to grab them fast. You will need a disbudding,kidding, holding box(whatever you want to call it) or someone strong enough to hold them down.
Make sure if the person who is holding wears gloves so you dont accidently burn them.Photobucket

You will need to plug your disbudding iron(compliments of Hoegger Goat Supply) up to be heating.Photobucket

Next, I have ready ice pack, bottle of milk, ( if they are bottle babies), tylenol or ibuprophen with a dropper syringe, CD/T anti toxin (not toxoid, toxoid is the actual vaccine but anti toxin is immediate and short term), or you can just use Tetanus anti toxin, needle, syringe, and clippers.

Before putting kid in the box, I give them 2 tsp. tylenol or ibuprophen to help with the pain or any swelling. PhotobucketThen I give the kid a shot of anti toxin at 2 cc’s. (Directions for giving shots will be discussed later on page). Photobucket

Gently place kid in box and bring head out so other helper can hold firmly so they dont move. Shave the hair around the bud with clippers so you can see better.

Next, test iron to see if hot by touching it to a piece of wood for a good round burn. Now, breathe deep and say a prayer. While other person holds kids head gently not chocking them, but firmly, take iron and place over bud, press down and rotate the iron in a circular, clockwise motion, tilting more with the wrist, count to 10 and take a break. Photobucket

Immediately take ice pack and place over bud to cool the head. This also allows your iron to heat up between burns. A cooled iron will not do a good job. After iron has heated and kid has rested, I repeat the same process on the other side. I will keep doing this same process over and over alternating between both sides til I am satisfied I could not do any better. You should have two perfectly copper rings around buds. If not DO IT AGAIN! Photobucket

You do not want to have to go back and do this again another time because it was not done right the first time. Trust me. Now give baby something to drink, and love and cuddle it or take it to momma and let it nurse and it will for get all that has happened in about 5 minutes. Photobucket

Do however, keep a watch for any abnormal behavior like waddling or dizziness. This seldom occurs but keep monitoring. Now they are all happy and disbudded. Phew!!!! Glad thats over now I can go puke!!!! I literally get so nervous I could puke!


If you register your kids, you will have to tatoo them since they were born on your farm. Goat supply stores carry these kits or your local Co-Op etc. The are inexpensive. I usually tatoo the same time I disbud, that way its all over and done with at the same time, hence the green ink on the holding box above. lol

All goats get tatooed in the ears except Lamanchas because they have no ears. They get tatooed on the tail web. I choose to tatoo because I do not like ear tags which can rip off and sometimes they can cause infection. I dont like number chain collars cause they get lost.

You will need to register a tatoo ID from ADGA (American Dairy Goat Association) to make it legal. After receiving confirmation and Certificate of Herd Tatoo ID, go ahead and tatoo your kid. It would not be wise to tatoo before you get your certificate because the ID you request might not be avaliable and they may issue something else.

To tatoo your kid you, load the tatoo gun with proper numbers or letters. Herd ID goes in right ear, in the left ear you will have an assigned letter from ADGA for a certain year( like 2012 was letter C) then followed by the number in order sequence they were born. For example: my herd ID is 4D so that goes in the right ear of every goat. Now, in left ear, I put the letter that matches the assigned year followed by the number in which each baby was born. C1, baby number two would be C2, C3 etc and so on. Dont start over with number one from kids from a different doe. Every kid no matter who the mom is, is kept in number sequence according to who was born first, second, third on your farm for that whole year. If you have 10 babies born from different does, they will be C1,C2,C3, C4,C5, etc. I hope Im explaining this well enough.

After your gun is ready for first ear, clean ear with alchol to get rid of any dirt. Punch a test run on a piece of paper with the pliers to see if gun is loaded correctly better to be safe than sorry before you pierce the ear the wrong way. Hold ear in your hand, with the other hand, pad side down, place ear between pad and needles and firmly press. (The pad goes on the outside of the ear and the needles go toward inside the ear. The holes will be inside the ear.) Try to get between veins, not right on a vein or it will cause bleeding. Yes, they will holler. You just pierced their ear. Ouch! Then rub black or green ink into holes. Repeat process on other side. I hope Ive explained it well enough to understand. Be sure to kiss them and let them go to momma.2012-05-21_09-55-35_734

They might hold it against you for a couple of days but they get over it. lol


This is contraversial, some people vaccinate some dont. I prefer to vaccinate cause an ounce of prevention is worth a pond of cure. I only vaccinate against the things that goats normally get, I dont go all out and vaccinate for things that a cow gets, they are goats. If you want to vaccinate for other diseases, do your research and give doseage and boosters accordingly. I am thinking of adding some new vaccines to my program. Over the years more issues have shown up in different states.

I like to follow ADGA’s recommendations on vaccinating(everyone is different). I vaccinate at 4, 8, 12, and 16 weeks. Then yearly after that. For the first 3 shots, I give 2cc’s then on the 16th week I give 5cc’s. This will protect them til their yearly shot and then you would give 5cc’s again. Your doe will need to be vaccinated 4 to 6 weeks before she kids, some of the vaccine is transported to baby in the womb. This will help. Be sure to keep your vaccine in the fridge. DO NOT ALLOW IT TO GET TOO WARM OR HOT AS IT WILL KILL THE VACCINE AND WILL BE NO GOOD. Keep good records of vaccination schedules, if you sell your animal new owners will appreciate this.

How to give shots:

I was scared to give shots at first,but once someone shows you how its ok. First, you want the proper needles and syringes. Different sizes for different amounts and thickness of liquid. A small syringe like 3 or 6 ml will work for small shots like vaccinations or worming. There are larger syringes for more amounts. The gauge (width of needle hole) is different because some liquids are thicker than others.

Place the needle on the end of the syringe making sure it is screwed in tight, you do not want it blowing off when you push on it. Next, turn bottle of vacc. or medicine upside down. Puncture needle into gray rubber opening and “draw” out recommended amount by pulling out on plunger. Make sure there is no bubbles and there is no air.2012-09-02_17-52-39_694

Now, if your girls are like mine, they will run for the hills when they see you coming with a needle, so it would be wise to Uh, “restrain” them somehow. Either on the left or the right side on the shoulder, “grab” some skin and pull up to make a tent. Inject needle into skin of “tent” making sure not to poke through to the other side, and push on plunger to inject medicine. This is known as a Subqutaneous shot or SubQ. Wholah! You have just given a shot, you can do a little victory dance. Of course your companion is not dancing at the moment, it is probably looking at you wondering what they can do to you as pay back. lol Rub the sight very vigorously to spread the medicine and comfort them. Give them a treat and praise them. Always praise good behavior, its helps for the next time and maybe they want be so terrified.

The next shot is an Intramuscular shot, which I have only given one time. It goes in the muscle. You will need someone to hold the animal. I will try to explain it as best as I can since I dont have alot of experience with this shot.

According to Hoegger Supply- An IM injection is given directly into the muscle in the lower hip (primary) or shoulder (secondary). Use a 1/2 inch needle for IM as well as Sub Q. To insure that you are not hitting a blood vessel, pull back on plunger a little and look for blood in the syringe. If you see blood try another site. You can also give one in the back of the leg in the thigh. You can google how to give a goat an IM shot and see if there are pics. I will eventually learn to do this one as well. So far Ive been lucky and had to only give Sub Q shots. Phew!!! At the end of the page I will have good website references to go to that has good pics and info you can browse.

Now, as cute as they are, you know at some point you cant keep all the babies you have, especially bucks, if you you still have the momma, grandma, sister or any relation around, or youll have inbreeding issues. Every so often you will need to rotate out bucks or everyone will start becoming related. This want be that much of a problem if you dont keep any of the babies.

I have had to “part” with two of my breedable bucks that I have raised from babies. I helped bring them into this world so I wanted to insure I found them nice farms where they could, shall we say, serve their purpose. They are now happy as can be bucks cause they are in with a bunch of “ladies” and going to have lots of babies.

A good way to advertise is your newspaper or online ad like Craigs List. I like to send out flyers and business cards to all my local 4H clubs, Extensions Offices, FFA members (local high schools), Local Co-Ops, Tractor Supply stores and Local feed stores. You may have other suggestions. Unless you know your sale barn, this would be my last option, cause you dont know sometimes where they go and what happens to them. Check with the owner or organizer of your local sale barn for your goats safety.

Be sure to list your location, price and especially if they come with papers (registered). Alot of serious goat owners want to see papers or at least pull up their ID number on ADGA so they can see their pedigrees. Price your animals according to pedigrees. For instance, a kid with an awesome pedigree like Grand Champion, or Champion status, DHIR testing, Linear Appraisal results, Butterfat Content, Star Milkers, etc. brings more money. Some people dont care about papers, they just want a goat as a hobby. Keep in mind if you plan on showing or entering contests most require they are registered because you have to bring papers with you.

Keep good records on your goats of all schedules of vaccinations, wormings and illnesses. Future owners really appreciate this information.Give this information and all necessary papers to new owners. Also, include a bill of sale. The might need this to register their goat.

Do not sale a sick goat, this will ruin your farms reputation and no one will ever buy from you again. Be a good, honest steward of Goat Management.
Buck Services:

If you own bucks, you can offer buck services for other owners that do not have bucks. You can offer to house the doe for a few days or up to a week and charge a fee for feeding and housing and a stud fee. I usually charge $50.00. $25 for feeding and housing doe, $30 for stud fee. I would rather keep the doe for a few days to insure a positive breeding, than thinking they have bred and you get them home to find out they are not pregnant and have to bring them back. If this should happen, I would not charge a second trip.

Let me back up and say this. I have had several people ask me about younger bucks. Their question is, “Do you think he is ready to breed now?” Well, I have always read that a buck can start breeding as young as 5 mths, but now Im beginning to beg to differ. Let me give you two examples. My friend had an 8th month old buck and she used only him to “breed” all her does. Come next spring there was not one single baby. No pregnancies. No milk. BIG DISAPPOINTMENT!! However, I had a 7 mth old buck who was the only buck on my property at one time and now I have a buck from him. I believe it depends on genetics if you ask me. All bucks start, shall we say, “practicing” their rights of passage to manhood when they are young, but whether they are “fertile” or not can make a huge difference. You can always have their semen tested. When looking under a microscope you can see them swimming and have tails, they are fertile. Yes, I have seen this. Its called live semen. Its fascinating, and to think out of possibly 1,000 it only takes one……no pun intended.Photobucket

Make sure the does owner has her vaccinated, and wormed before bringing them to your farm. You do not want to bring something contagious to your farm and risk getting your bucks sick. Make sure your bucks are well taken care of too. You dont want to “give” something contagious either. Management is the key to insuring safety to all parties involved.

You can put her in with the buck and wait and watch for connection and take her back out to be with the does, or you can leave her with the buck in a secluded area (no other bucks present) for the duration of her heat cycle. If you throw her in with a pasture full of bucks, you’ll be like, “UH Whose yo babies daddy?” lol

Let the owner choose the buck they want to service their does. After all it is their kids they will be having.

Now I will start with Goat Diseases and Medications. This will also be long because it is so informative. Some things may be repeated and Im sorry if I do.

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It has taken me 3 yrs to educate myself and try to compel this article where I can share my information. As I learn more I will add it to this page as well as I can. This page is dedicated to information I have researched on my own through countless hours of internet time. Also through trial and error. Mostly error on my part. If you are waiting to learn everything thing there is to know about goats and every possible disease out there that goats can get before you buy a few goats…forget it, you never will learn it all before. There are things popping up all time and new research is being released all time.

I also have permission by some websites to share their articles in exchange to help promote other websites. All of us are in this for the same reason, to help people and to help one another. I will try to explain things first in my own words and share information I have learned, then I will attach articles from the original writers giving them full credit. I will also attach links at bottom of page for other websites.

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Disclaimer: I am by no means a licensed veterinarian. I do not have a license in Animal Science either. By all means, If your goat gets sick, and you have done all you possibly can do to help,TAKE IT TO THE VET. Establish a good relationship with your vet. If you live in an area where you do not have a vet or one does not know that much about goats, get involved in goat groups, goat forums, and experienced goat owners. I have alot of groups that I inquire from alot. We all help one another. Find a website that has a Small Ruminant Specialist at a college that welcomes email. Use alot of these webistes I will provide to do your own research and print binders. I dont care if you go Herbal or Chemical Medication, do something to help your goat. Stock your medicine cabinet. I will provide a list later on of goat supplies you should have on hand.

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Also, by no means am I saying you have to do things my way, or a certain way someone else practices their management. You really need to do your own research, and go by your own convictions. People can offer suggestions or give advice, but its up to you what you do with it. Take into consideration your climate, whether or not your soil is deficient in nutrients, etc. What may work up North may not work here in the South. I know that sounds funny but just like we cant grow some things here like yall may can up North. We cant grow good alfalfa down here.

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First, your goats health starts with proper nutrition. Goats do not require alot of grain. They are ruminants that do need roughage, hay, pasture, trace minerals (whether block or loose), and baking soda to keep the proper ph balance in their rumens. When all these things start getting out of balance, you can start to have health issues. They get more susceptible to parasites and diseases. Things start to break down their immune systems. Disease creeps in through many forms. Poor nutrition, lack of vitamins and minerals and sometimes negligence. Disease can also creep in silently despite all you do for example…bacteria picked up from somewhere or virus. Goats are pretty hardy animals but they can get sick. A goat can be sick for a long time and not show symptoms. By the time they do, you only have an open window of time to help them get well. You have to work quick. This is where having the right medications on hand comes into play. Sometimes you cant wait to get to a feedstore or vet. Or even have time to order them oline to get them in the mail on time. Your just as well to go ahead and stock up on your medicine cabinet. I will provide a list on this page.

Never feed moldy hay, feed etc. This will make them sick. If you have to change something in their diet, do it gradually. For instance, if you change food, mix in a little of the new in with the old a little at a time til eventually all is the new feed. Same with hay or minerals.
Make sure you are meeting your goats nutritional requirements. There will be plenty of suggestions in articles I share.

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One good thing to keep in mind is to always monitor your animals. I mean physically look at them everyday. Notice coats, a poor looking coat that is rough, brittle and changing colors, or if they are loosing hair, is a sign of an issue. Notice the eyelids. Pull down the bottom eyelid and it should be a bright pink color. If it is light pink to going white you have a serious issue. (Look at FARMACHA CHART on my Goat Parasite Management page. Notice hooves. Keeping hooves trimmed is very essential to keep away foot rot and lameness issues.Check gums and teeth. Notice their skin. Observation is the key to sometimes ward off something before it gets out of hand.

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There are certain things that will give you a clue that something is “not right” and they do not feel good. If they are isolating themselves away from the herd, they are standing hunch backed, not eating, not drinking, grinding teeth, stargazing, most of all fever. When you ask someone for help with a sick goat, or you call your vet, the first thing they will ask is…Whats their temp? This is a start believe it or not. Just like humans, if there is fever they are trying to fight off infection or regulate body temperature…they are chilled. The next question will be…..What age is the goat? Is it a kid or an adult? This has to be known in order to give correct doseage of medications.

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Always notice POOP. Goats poo is suppose to be round pellets always. If their poo starts getting clumped together or runny like diarrhea, you have an issue. Learn how to do your own fecals or take a sample to the vet if your in question. The vet can tell you if your dealing with parasites or bacteria. Fias Co has a great website to teach you how to do your own fecal samples. http://fiasco.com

If nothing can be found in fecal samples then have them draw blood to send off for tests. You can also learn to draw your own blood. Here is a great link to learn how. There are several videos out there.http://nigeriandwarfgoats.ning.com/video/how-to-draw-blood-on-a-goat-by-freedom-star-farm

If nothing is showing up in fecal or blood samples, youve got to go back to square one and reevaluate your nutritional, worming and vaccinating programs.
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Here is a good start as to some clues if you suspect Vitamin or Mineral Deficiency in your goat. There are plenty more websites to research on the internet.


Proper vitamin and mineral levels are essential to the good health of goats. Although no single mineral can be singled out as more important than others, copper, zinc, and selenium levels are especially critical. The interaction of minerals is astoundingly complex. The most difficult task in raising goats is getting nutrition right, and vitamins and minerals are key. Most producers are not knowledgeable enough to formulate their own feed ration with appropriate levels of minerals and vitamins included. Achieving this is a complex task that is best left to a trained goat nutritionist.

Selenium: Major portions of the United States have soils that are deficient in selenium. Selenium deficiency is widespread in most of the eastern coast of the U.S., into the Great Lakes area, and throughout the northwestern part of this country. Plants grown in these soils are selenium deficient and therefore cannot provide adequate selenium to the goats that eat them.

Selenium deficiency, like Vitamin E deficiency, can cause white muscle disease (nutritional muscular dystrophy), causing the goat to have difficulty controlling its muscles. Newborns with weak rear legs may be selenium-deficient. Kids may be too weak to nurse their dams. Pneumonia may result from weakness in muscles that control breathing.

Producers raising goats in areas having selenium-deficient soil must make sure that this mineral is added to feed. Many producers give BoSe injections to newborn kids, as well as to adult goats. BoSe is a vet prescription item. Contact the local county extension agent or your veterinarian for information on your particular area or google ‘selenium levels United States‘ for data.

Zinc: Zinc is needed in the synthesis of proteins and DNA and in cell division. Excessive salivation, deformed hooves, stiff joints, chronic skin problems, abnormally small testicles, and reduced interest in mating are some of the signs.

Copper and Molybdenum: Unlike sheep, for whom copper is toxic, goats must have copper in their diet. Inadequate copper levels can cause loss of hair color, coarse hair that has hooked end tips, abortions, stillbirths, anemia, frequent bone fractures, poor appetite, weight loss, and decreased milk production.

Molybdenum and copper amounts must be balanced or health problems appear. More than 3 ppm of molybdenum binds up copper and creates a deficiency of copper in the goat.

It is also possible to cause copper toxicity in goats by feeding too much copper. Researchers and producer experiences seem to be proving that goats need more copper than originally believed. Make sure that the copper level in feed is correct for your goats by consulting a trained caprine nutritionist knowledgeable about your area.

Water: Yes, water. The goat’s body is normally more than 60% water. Rumen contents must be about 70% water to function properly. Even a slight dip in water consumption can result in a goat with fever and off feed.

Iron: Unless a goat is anemic, iron deficiency is generally not a problem in foraging goats. Certain onion-type plants can, however, cause anemia. Stomach worms, sucking lice, and blood loss are common causes of anemia in goats. Goats that are seriously ill with anemia may be supplemented with injectable iron (Ferrodex 100) or oral adminstration of Red Cell. Conversely, an excess of iron can contribute to decreased fertility in goats.

Iodine: Iodine is as essential in goats’ diets as it is in humans. Goiters are the most visible sign of iodine deficiency. Newborns whose dams are iodine deficient can be born with goiters. Commercial feeds and minerals contain non-iodized salt, so it may be necessary to offer iodized salt on a free-choice basis. A quicker method of getting iodine into the goat is to paint 7% iodine on the hairless tailweb and to offer kelp (seaweed) free choice.

Calcium and Phosphorus: Calcium and phosphorus must be in proper balance or serious illnesses can occur. Female goats that have been bred at too young of an age can develop lameness and/or bowed legs if they are calcium deficient. Calcium is essential to bone formation and muscle contractions (including labor contractions). A calcium-to-phosphorus ratio of 2-1/2 to 1 is proper and helps prevent urinary calculi. Too much phosphorus in relation to calcium causes urinary calculi. An imbalance of calcium and phosphorus can result in birth defects.

Salt: If a goat lacks salt in its diet, it may be seen licking the ground — trying to get salt from the dirt. Offer salt as part of an appropriate mineral mix on a free-choice basis. Do not force-feed salt by mixing it with processed feed; this procedure is used to limit feed consumption. Salt is often used as a feed limiter, as heavily salted rations cause goats to eat less. A pregnant doe who consumes too much salt may have udder problems — edema (subcutaneous accumulation of fluids).

Sulfur: Excessive salivation may be a sign of sulfur deficiency. A properly balanced loose mineral and vitamin mix is required. Direct supplementation of sulfur can result in the binding up of iron and copper.

Potassium: Goats on forage usually get all the potassium they need. Penned animals need potassium added to their processed grain mix. Emaciation and muscle weakness are signs of severe potassium deficiency.

Magnesium: Goats deficient in magnesium have lowered urine and milk production and may become anorexic.

Manganese: Slow growth rates in kids (especially buck kids), reduced fertility and abortions in does, improperly formed legs, and difficulty in walking are general signs of manganese deficiency. Too much calcium interferes with manganese absorption.

Vitamin A: Inadequate amounts of Vitamin A in a goat’s diet can lead to thick nasal discharge, difficulty in seeing or blindness, respiratory diseases, susceptibility to parasites, scruffy hair coat, and diarrhea. Kids with coccidiosis need more Vitamin A because they have reduced intestinal absorption of nutrients. Adults are likely to be less fertile and more susceptible to diseases if they do not have adequate levels of this essential fat-soluble vitamin.

B Vitamins: A sick goat must be supplemented with B vitamins, particularly Vitamin B 1 (thiamine). The B vitamins are water soluble, so they need to be replenished daily. One of many conditions that depletes the goat’s body of B vitamins is diarrhea (which is a symptom of greater problems). Goats whose rumens are not functioning properly or have had their feed regimen changed should be supplemented with B vitamins, particularly B1 (thiamine).

One of the most common examples of Vitamin B1 (thiamine) deficiency is polioencephalomalacia (goat polio). Thiamine must be given to counteract severe neurological problems. Thiamine-deficient goats display rigid bent necks that won’t straighten and a loss of eye focus. This disease usually results from eating moldy hay, feed, or sileage; however, it occasionally occurs because the organism exists under certain environmental conditions and a susceptible goat picks it up. The symptoms mimic those of tetanus and dehydration. Because all B vitamins are water soluble, it is difficult to overdose them.

Vitamin B12, an injectable red liquid requiring a vet prescription, is essential in the treatment of anemia.

Vitamin D: Enlarged joints and bowed legs (rickets) are a result of Vitamin D deficiency. Penned goats must have Vitamin D added to their feed.

Vitamin E: Feeding sileage or old hay can produce Vitamin E deficiency and result in white muscle disease. The injectable prescription product BoSe contains both selenium and vitamin E and is often given to newborns in selenium-deficient areas. Vitamin A-D-E Gel is available for supplemental oral use.

This list is by no means comprehensive but is intended to provide a producer overview. If you get nothing else from this article, understand that proper goat nutrition is very complex and not for amateurs.

For producers affected by Tall Fescue Toxicity, several companies around the USA make a fescue-balancer loose mineral. If mineral deficiencies are widespread in your herd, Mineral Max II is available. An injectable cobalt-blue colored liquid that must be obtained from a vet, Mineral Max II contains zinc, manganese, selenium, and copper in chelated (timed-release) form. It is given to goats IM (into the muscle) usually one injection per year and in decreasing amounts as the goat ages. Mineral Max II is made by Sparhawk Labs in Lenexa, Kansas for RXV Products in Westlake, Texas. It may be available under other brand names. Do not give BoSe and Mineral Max II together.

Producers who live near a feed mill that makes commercial goat feed are encouraged to use their services and purchase their products. Such firms employ livestock nutritionists who have knowledge of the nutritional needs of goats in the areas for which they manufacture their products. If such mills are non-existent in your area, contact your county extension agent or closest agricultural university for assistance. These folks should have knowledge about feed mixtures that the average producer does not possess. Find out what your area is deficient in and make sure that is added into your feed supply.

Do not attempt to formulate your own feed unless you are a trained goat nutritionist. If such expertise is not available in your area, locate and hire a goat nutritionist to formulate a feed ration for you. This service is not expensive but you may be required to buy four to six tons of feed, so contact your neighboring goat producers about working together on this purchase. There are computer programs into which the nutritionist can input information unique to your farm and your management techniques to develop a feed mix specifically for your needs. The health and well-being of your goats are depending upon your making wise decisions about their nutrition. Find a place to cut costs other than goat nutrition. You cannot starve a profit out of a goat.

Suzanne W. Gasparotto

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Not only is minerals essential to a goats health, you have to keep in mind B Vitamins are very important. Goats produce these vitamins naturally in their rumen, but if something disturbs them you start having problems. Here is an article I love from Dairy Goat Journal Magazine:

B Vitamins & Ruminants

By Karin Christensen

Five of the eight B vitamins are required as coenzymes in the complex series of steps to convert propionate to glucose in the liver of the goat. For the average dairy owner and breeder to understand what this means and how it can relate to the health and wealth of his or her dairy goat herd, is important and requires delving into some background information as well as figuring out how to apply it to current feed and management systems.

Some time ago, when vitamins were first discovered, it was thought that there was only one B vitamin. Since then it has been established that there are eight, and although they are still classified as a B vitamin, they are very different from each other in structure and function. The eight recognized B vitamins are: B1 (thiamin); B2 (riboflavin); B3 (niacin); B5 (pantothenic acid); B6 (pyridoxine); B7 (biotin, sometimes called vitamin H); B9 (folic acid); and B12 (cobalamin).

Each B vitamin acts as a coenzyme. A coenzyme combines with another substance to form an enzyme. An enzyme is a type of protein produced by living cells that activates chemical reactions. In one way or another, B vitamins play essential roles in hundreds of these biochemical processes. B vitamins often work together in some reactions and in some cases one B vitamin is required to make another B vitamin available to the cell.

Required only in tiny amounts, B vitamins are involved in metabolic processes. Metabolism is defined as the creation of energy when one chemical is changed (broken down) into another. When protein, carbohydrates or fats are metabolized by enzymes, the result is a release of energy.

The interaction of B vitamins is well demonstrated in an important process that occurs in our goats and all other ruminants. Rumen bacteria produce volatile fatty acids (VFA’s) as by-products of the fermentation of plant cellulose, starches and sugars. One of these VFA’s, called propionate, is converted to glucose in the goat’s liver by enzymes. This is the goat’s only source of glucose. Five of the eight B vitamins play a role, as a coenzyme, in the chain of events where propionate is converted (metabolized) to glucose. Since glucose is included as part of the lactose molecule in the mammary cells, all five of these B vitamins are also essential to the production of milk.

B vitamins are called water soluble vitamins since they can be dissolved in water, but not in fat. It is also accepted that B vitamins, with the exception of B12 and folic acid, are not stored in the body for very long, just weeks in most cases and rarely more than a month. This is compared to vitamins A, D, E and K which are fat soluble vitamins. These vitamins are stored for long periods in the fat of the body which means that overdoses of these vitamins can result in a toxic buildup. Excess B vitamins that are not needed by the body are excreted in the urine. Vitamin C is also a water soluble vitamin.

The specialized bacteria that live only in the rumen synthesize (create) all eight B vitamins, as well as vitamin K, inside their cells. They in turn supply these vitamins to other rumen microbes and finally to the goat. Rumen bacteria have their own requirements for some of the B vitamins. Nearly all of the species require biotin (B7) for their own growth and individual species have requirements for one or more of the other B vitamins.

The goat obtains B vitamins when the rumen bacteria are passed to the abomasum (the fourth and true stomach) along with digested feed. Ruminants are unique in that they produce an enzyme which digests bacteria releasing their B vitamin store.
Propionate produced by rumen microbes

In the rumen, hundreds to thousands times more B vitamins are found inside the bacterial cells than in the free fluid. The wall of the rumen absorbs only a minimal amount of some B vitamins and in normal conditions is completely impermeable to others such as thiamin. B vitamins found in the feed or supplied as a supplement are either used by the microbes or changed by them into a different form, or may be absorbed across the rumen membrane. There is little information on just how much of the dietary B vitamins are degraded in the rumen or manage to be available to the ruminant further on in the intestine.

In studies where the entire rumen has been completely emptied, there is some indication that all B vitamins are absorbed through the rumen wall. And, when large quantities of B vitamins are introduced to the rumen most of them, including thiamin, do appear to be absorbed across the rumen, although the process is slow. However, according to most research, normally in well-fed ruminants few B vitamins are absorbed across the rumen membrane.

Large, single-cell rumen protozoa have a requirement for many B vitamins and do not make their own. They probably get most of what they require when they eat bacteria, which they enjoy in large numbers, but may use up some of those vitamins free in rumen fluid. This could account for some of the ruminal loss of supplemented vitamins. It is known that in normal conditions rumen protozoa use biotin that is available in the diet and seem to have some negative effect on bacterial use or synthesis of biotin under certain conditions.

In order to understand the fate of B vitamins either synthesized by bacteria, present in feed or supplemented by keepers, researchers have placed sophisticated sampling tubes in the duodenum, (the pouch located between the fourth stomach and the intestines) to sample the contents and look for levels of B vitamins that enter the intestines to be absorbed. The results seem to pose more questions than they answer. Depending on the study, either all of the B vitamins that exist free in the rumen disappear before they reach the duodenum, or some, and not always the same ones, do and some do not. The explanations are as varied as the results. Some vitamins may pass through in different, yet still bioavailable forms or attached to other molecules. Almost all researchers state that they do not completely understand whether B vitamins are absorbed in the rumen, used by the rumen microbes, destroyed or degraded by the rumen microbes, or possibly absorbed in the other stomachs or in the duodenum before they reach the sampling apparatus. The most consistent thing known about the fate of B vitamins in the rumen is that the available data is quite inconsistent.

Attempting to study the vitamin requirements of rumen bacteria or the type of B vitamin that each synthesize is a challenge. Rumen bacteria do not like living in laboratory conditions, much preferring the specific requirement of the rumen environment and company of other species which may provide them with necessities that scientists cannot duplicate. They resist being studied as an individual. The B vitamin requirements of some rumen bacteria are known, and it is known that other bacteria produce B vitamins but which species produce or use what is still largely a mystery.

It has been accepted that ruminants do not require B vitamin supplements since the bacteria supply all that they need. However, some new studies have shown that supplementation of some of the B vitamins have positive effects on hoof health, milk production, as well as other health benefits in ruminants.

Niacin has been extensively studied because supplementation in pregnant dairy cows has shown to decrease the incidence of ketosis. Even though niacin has been determined to completely disappear in the rumen, suggesting that the microbes destroy it when supplemented, it seems to wind up getting into the system to help where needed.

Biotin is another B vitamin that has been supplemented with positive results. Biotin is important in helping to build the structure of the hoof wall. Numerous studies have shown that supplementing biotin in the feed of cows improves the health of the hoof wall and decreases the occurrence of several common hoof problems especially those seen in wet conditions. At the same time it was noticed that there was also a positive effect on milk production. In a significant number of trials the amount of milk produced by lactating dairy cows increased when supplemented with biotin. In some experiments there was also an increase in the amount of biotin present in the milk. There also appeared to be a positive effect on conception rates in some cows.

It is suspected that biotin may not be increasing milk production, but is helping to bring production up to what would be a normal level if the cow were not deficient in biotin. Modern dairy cows have been bred to produce more milk than nature intended. The rumen bacteria may not be able to keep up with the high demand of heavy lactating dairy cows. Biotin is a coenzyme required in activating four different enzymes involved in milk production, and it is essential for converting propionate into glucose. It is possible that if a lactating ruminant, such as a dairy goat, is slightly deficient in biotin this could mean that some of these important reactions may not be working efficiently. Adding biotin to the diet would then bring milk production up to full potential. This idea is supported by the fact that biotin supplements help when given up to a certain amount. Supplementing beyond that limit ceases to have a positive effect on production.

Since biotin supplementation clearly improves the health of the hoof this may add to the positive effect on milk production and conception rates. Cows (and goats) that can move around more comfortably produce more milk and are more efficient breeders.

With two exceptions, deficiencies of B vitamins are rare in ruminants. Thiamin, or vitamin B1, acts as a coenzyme in producing a neurotransmitter molecule which is critical to proper functioning of the nervous system. A deficiency of thiamin causes the disease seen in goats called polioencephalomalacia (PEM) or what is commonly called goat polio. If thiamin levels are low, this neurotransmitter cannot be formed and communication between nerves is interrupted. The result is a goat that shows signs of excitability, tremors, muscle spasms and convulsions.

The reason for this deficiency in ruminants is thought to happen due to the presence of an enzyme called thiaminase which destroys or alters thiamin. It is known that the production of thiaminase is related to rumen bacteria, but it is not known exactly under what condition or which species produces thiaminase. It is suspected that diets high in concentrates which causes a more acidic environment in the rumen may either promote the growth of thiaminase-producing species or in some way increases the activity of the enzyme. Another possibility is that for some reason one or more species of rumen bacteria may produce a thiamin “look-a-like” molecule which competes for the uptake of normal thiamin. There is also evidence that high levels of sulfur in the diet produces PEM in beef cattle. Sulfur in the rumen produces hydrogen sulfide gas which is toxic to the rumen bacteria. In addition, some plant species contain thiaminase which may cause a thiamin deficiency if ingested.

Thiamin is not stored in the body and is quickly depleted under high energy requirements. It is one B vitamin which must be continuously supplied. Therefore, if conditions in the rumen cause a destruction of thiamin the goat rapidly becomes deficient. When a ruminant develops PEM, any thiamin given orally will be degraded by the presence or high activity of thiaminase in the rumen. To correct a thiamine deficiency, B1 must, therefore, be given as an injection.

B12 or cobalamin is the largest B vitamin molecule and has the most complex structure of all vitamins. Unlike other B vitamins which can be synthesized in plants, it is only synthesized by bacteria and they require an atom of cobalt in order to make a molecule of B12. Along with assisting in the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins, B12 has the very important role in helping to produce all the red blood cells in the body. It also helps maintain the protective sheaths around nerves and to repair DNA. B12 works with folic acid in the production of an essential amino acid called methionine. In order for folic acid to be used by cells it has to be altered by B12. A deficiency of B12 therefore, results in a deficiency of available folic acid.

Rumen bacteria use B12 during the fermentation process of forming propionate. B12 is used in the liver of the goat in the chain of chemical reactions which convert propionate to glucose. Obviously, B12 is an important vitamin, so fortunately it is very potent. In most animals only a small amount in the diet is required. In addition, unlike other B vitamins, B12 can be stored in the liver for a long period of time. Ruminants, however, have a higher requirement for B12 than monogastric animals because the rumen microbes produce a large amount of propionate which requires B12 to convert it into usable molecules. Propionate can build up in the blood stream if there is a deficiency of B12.

Several factors can lead to a B12 deficiency. Since each molecule of B12 requires one atom of cobalt, a diet deficient in cobalt results in a B12 deficiency since the rumen bacteria cannot synthesize it. Diets high in concentrates lead to a high level of propionate production and therefore a high demand for B12. These diets also promote the synthesis of molecules that are similar to B12 but are not beneficial. Therefore, a high concentrate diet causes a higher demand for B12 but at the same time has a negative influence on the amount produced by rumen bacteria.

Severe parasite infections can damage the lining of the intestinal wall, reducing the amount of B12 that is absorbed. At the same time, chronic bleeding from the actions of these parasites causes an anemia which requires B12 to help restore lost red blood cells.

Symptoms of B12 deficiency include depressed appetite, and poor growth in young ruminants. B12 supplied in the feed is not well absorbed through the wall of the rumen and most will be used by the microbes since they have a high requirement. B12 is most useful as an injected supplement when required until the underlying cause of deficiency is corrected.

There are many ongoing studies related to understanding the role rumen microbes play in supplying our goats with their necessary B vitamins. Current focus is on producing B vitamin supplements that are ruminally protected which may help improve the overall health and productivity of goats, cows, sheep and other ruminants.

Karin Christensen has been a scientific illustrator for over 25 years. She recently developed a series of animations on the unique biology of the goat which has proven to be very popular learning tool for people of all ages and levels. She has kept a small herd of dual-purpose Nubian goats for 10 years. For more information: http://www.imagecyte.com.
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I did not know how important vitamins and minerals are to a goats health. Especially these. Next is the rumen, keep baking soda out free choice. This helps reduce bloat and it balances the ph levels in the rumen. And cuts down on Rumen Acidosis. If a goats rumen shuts down you have major problems. A goat knows when they need baking soda. Another note, minerals really need to be “loose” which means granules not a block for then to utilize it more. Goats want lick a mineral block like cows do.

Be careful with Selenium. Too much can be toxic. Alot of people give Bo-Se shots before a doe kids. If your area is not deficient in Selenium there might not be a need to give these. Also if the feed and minerals you feed provide the proper Selenium amount you might not have to worry. You can check with your local County Extension Office to find out about your area. You can also ask about Copper levels. Copper is usually only given twice a year so it might not be as bad.

Copper is also essential to a goats health. I will include a whole article dedicated to Copper in goats later on this page, so hang in there. 

Deworming: You really need to participate in a good worming management program for your herd. Parasites cause many health issues even death. I have a whole page dedicated to Goat Parasites and Management.


You can prevent alot of diseases by simply having a good vaccination program. I know some people do not like to vaccinate. But I have learned, AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION IS WORTH A POUND OF CURE. I would feel really bad if my goats got something knowing I could have prevented it.

Vaccination should start as kids. I like to follow American Dairy Goat Associations vaccination schedule. They can receive their first vaccine at 4 weeks then follow up at 8-12-16 weeks. Then annually after that. A bred doe should be vaccinated 4-6 weeks before she kids.

There are a few things goats need to be vaccinated against. As I continue to do more research, I will probably add more vaccines to my program. When I list a disease I will include if there is a vaccine for it or not. Always remember there are several brand names of vaccines. Don’t let that fool you. It is the ingredient you want to look for found in the table of contents or on the label. Then do your shopping and comparing prices according to how many ml or cc’s they come in and how many doses you an get out of one bottle.

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Here is a few articles explaining the vaccines, but also note the difference between Toxoid and Anti-toxin.


Why You Must Know The Difference

Vaccines are toxoids; they prevent disease. Anti-toxins are used when a problem already exists. The two most frequently-used injectable medications used with goats that come in both toxoid and anti-toxin form are the overeating disease vaccine and the tetanus vaccine.

Toxoids are used for long term protection. The vaccine for overeating disease combined with tetanus prevention is usually called “CD/T.” These letters represent protection against overeating disease caused by clostridium perfringens Types C & D. The “T” part of the vaccine provides long-term protection against tetanus.

CD/T, tetanus, C&D, and pneumonia toxoids commonly used with goats are given to unvaccinated adults and kids twice, 21 to 30 days apart. Booster vaccinations are then given annually to vaccinated goats, although some producers are boosting this protection twice a year. Always booster pregnant does six weeks before kidding to provide immunological protection for the newborn kids via their dams’ milk. Newborn kids are born without a functioning immune system. Many producers use the combination CD/T toxoid vaccine rather than the two individual vaccines of C&D toxoid and tetanus toxoid.

Anti-toxin vaccines are used in medical emergencies when immediate but short-term protection is required. Goat producers use two anti-toxin injectables: C&D Anti-Toxin and Tetanus Anti-Toxin. C&D Anti-Toxin should be used whenever overeating disease, ruminal acidosis, or any rumen-related toxicity is suspected to be the cause of the goat’s illness. As with the vaccines (toxoids), the anti-toxins are used SQ (sub-cutaneously, i.e. under the skin). C&D Anti-Toxin is very safe to use and has a wide margin of error. It is one of the few medications which can be used without fear of hurting the animal. There is no such thing as a pneumonia “anti-toxin.” When a goat develops pneumonia, antibiotics are required.

Tetanus Anti-Toxin is used after castrations are done (wethering a goat), for injuries (bites, cuts, puncture wounds), and when tetanus-like symptoms are present (jaw is locked and mouth won’t open, goat’s neck is dramatically bent to the side and unable to be straightened, eyes unfocused, difficulty standing). Tetanus is commonly called Lockjaw.

Temporary protection provided by anti-toxins lasts about 7 to 14 days. If the goat survives the illness, the producer must wait at least five days after this two-week time frame and begin the two-vaccination toxoid series again, because the anti-toxin has cancelled the benefits of the vaccine.

Vaccines (toxoids) will sometimes cause a knot or abscess known as an injection-site granuloma. This is evidence that the goat’s immune system is having a good response to the vaccine. These are “killed” vaccines so the organisms being vaccinated against are not active in these granulomas. Injection-site granulomas usually don’t go away on their own. I wait several weeks after vaccinating to be sure that a good reaction to the vaccine has occurred, then I lance, clean, and flush the granulomas with iodine.

Suzanne W. Gasparotto, Onion Creek Ranch, Texas 10/2/12

Here is another good article from Fias Co Farm:

Drug Name: Clostridium Perfringes C&D Bactern -Toxoid Brand Names:

  • C&D Bactern-Toxiod
  • BAR-VAC CD/T – also include tetanus toxoid.
  • Fermacon CD/T – also include tetanus toxoid.
  • For treatment of:
    • This is the immunization use to prevent Enterotoxemia.
  • Goat dose: SQ Injection
    • 2ml (no matter what weight)- one or twice annually
      • Give to does one month before kidding.
      • Give to kids who’s mother was vaccinated at 6 weeks and 21 days later.
      • Give to kids who’s mother was not vaccinated at one month of age, a second does 21 days later and a third does 21 days after that.
  • Milk withholding time: none
  • Notes:
    • Usually causes a knot at the injection site.
Drug Name: Clostridium Perfringes C&D Bactern – Antitoxin
  • For treatment of:
    • Enterotoxemia; severe diarrhea in very young kids; toxicity situations in which the goat is frothing at the mouth; sometimes administered to combat Floppy Kid Syndrome. This product provides short-term protection (just a few hours) but works quickly.
  • Goat dose: SQ Injection
    • 5 ml to young kids for prevention of Enterotoxemia (gives 10-14 day passive immunity)
    • 3 ml up to three times a day to young kids for treatment of Enterotoxemia.
    • 10-15 ml to Adults for treatment of Enterotoxemia.
  • Milk withholding time: none
Drug Name: Tetanus – Toxoid
  • For treatment of:
    • This is the immunization used to prevent Tetanus.
  • Goat dose: SQ Injection
    • 1/2 ml repeated in 3-4 weeks, and again in 6 months, and then given yearly
  • Notes:
    • Takes about 10-14 days for the body to begin producing an active immunity to provide protection.
Drug Name: Tetanus – Antitoxin
  • For treatment of:
    • For short-term protection against tetanus and tetanus-like infections.
    • Used after a wound or at the time of any surgical procedure i.e. disbudding, castration, tattooing, etc.
  • Goat dose & treatment: SQ Injection
    • 1/2 ml for newborns
    • 1 ml for adults

There are other vaccines that people are considering to add to their program. Such as a vaccine for Mastitis, Pneumonia, and Foot Rot. It all depends on you and your research what you feel you want to do. There is now a new vaccine for CL (Caseous Lymphadenitis) on the market. Goat owners have been waiting on this vaccine for years and some are skeptical. I would prefer to use it. You can now find it at Jeffers Pet. So far they are the only supply company that carries this vaccine labeled for goats. There was one that people were using but it was made by Colorodo Serum Co. It is only labeled for sheep and was never tested on goats. Although people were warned to use it at their own risk on goats. Now there is one labeled for goats and was made by Texas Vet Labs. You will have to call Jeffers Pet to see if it is available to be shipped to you in your state All states did not sign up to have this vaccine legally shipped to their state.

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If you are not sure what you want to vaccinate from, do your research. Ask other reliable goat breeders in your area. Some areas need protection from more than others. Every area is different. Like I said climate and weather has alot to do with things. Some areas struggle with more diseases than others. Contact your local extension office. Check around with knowledgeable people at the feed stores.

Research your vaccines before deciding. Some vaccines are 3 way, 8 way or 9 way. That means that’s the amount of bacterias or diseases it protects against.

Prevention of Diseases is good to start with. Here is a good article from Onion Creek Ranch.


The introduction of diseases onto your property should be a major concern of every goat raiser. Prevention is your goal, but in reality, control and management are going to be your focus. No herd can ever be completely “disease free.”

Diseases can enter your farm/ ranch from many sources. Introducing new animals is the usual avenue but not the only way that illnesses find their way into your herd. Here are some of the ways:

1) Bringing new animals into the herd from offsite. Quarantine and handling procedures are covered in this article.

2) Offering stud service. This typically involves bringing other producers’ does onto the property for breeding service by an on-site buck.

3) Goat shows. A huge source of infection and illness, shows are like children’s day-care centers — incubators for disease.

4) Visitors. Infectious materials can enter on visitors’ shoes, clothing, skin, and hair; on the tires of vehicles; in hay, water, tubs/buckets, feed and other supplies that visitors have brought with them.

5) Unclean conditions in pens and pastures.

6) Poor health management practices within the herd.

7) Your family members, livestock guardian animals, and pets.

Most of you are aware that you should quarantine new animals brought from outside your ranch property in order to protect your goats from the bacteria and viruses that the new animals might be carrying. However, the reverse is just as true: newly-introduced goats need to be protected from organisms present on your property to which they’ve never had their immune systems previously exposed. These goats are on a new property in a changed environment and often in a much different climate from which they have been previously adapted to living. From the moment they left their previous homes, these new goats’ immune systems were under assault.

Set up a pen and shelter sized to accomodate your anticipated needs and locate it away from and downwind of pens and pastures where healthy animals are regularly kept. The pens should be large enough to provide space for proper exercise and should have at least a three-sided shelter with roof to protect the new goats from bad weather. Nearby but preferably not within this pen/shelter area, there should be several smaller gated pens and sheds where sick and/or contagious animals can be confined for observation and treatment. Place a shallow plastic cat-litter pan and a gallon of bleach outside each pen and require persons entering and exiting to wet the soles of their shoes in the bleach. Everyone handling these goats should use disposable gloves.Quarantined and sick goats should be kept in these isolation pens. Goats new to the ranch should be quarantined for a minimum of four weeks, during which time they should be dewormed, vaccinated, udders and testicles examined, and hooves checked and trimmed, based upon the producer’s management practices. If blood testing for specific diseases is part of the program, do it while the goats are in quarantine. If the tests come back positive and the new goats are already running with the main herd, exposure to disease has probably already occurred.

Offering breeding services on your ranch is an avenue for infection. Before making a decision to offer such services, the producer should read my Article entitled “Pros and Cons of Offering Breeding Services” on the Articles page at http://www.tennesseemeatgoats.com. Decisions must be made and agreements put into writing before the first goat is allowed to arrive on your property.

Participating in goat shows can be a no-win situation with regard to disease. You must take extraordinary precautions to protect both goats and human participants from exposure to contagious bacteria, viruses, and other organisms. Animals and people, both young and adult, present risks to all in attendance. Consult an experienced goat-show participant to find out what steps to take to protect you and your goats from taking “unwanted visitors” home with you. Administering oxytetracycline 200 mg/ml injections to prevent transportation and show stress isn’t going to prevent the contraction of diseases like Johnes and CAE. Young goats are especially vulnerable because their immune systems are still immature. Sick goats should not attend shows and should not be allowed to participate. If they are, leave immediately. Don’t unload your animals. The health of your goats is much more important than a forfeited entry fee or a winning ribbon.

Visitors, relatives, children, pets, your helpers, and you can bring in infectious bacteria, viruses, and other organisms without ever realising it. Using a shallow plastic cat-litter pan and a bottle of bleach, the producer should have all visitors step through the solution. This is the very minimum protective action that goat ranchers should take. If you know that visitors or family members have had direct access to goats from outside the ranch, then those folks should be asked to change clothes and shoes before they enter your property. A visit to the 4H barn is a good source of contamination — a fact that may never cross some people’s minds.

Dirty pens, feed troughs, and water containers are excellent sources of infection — worms and coccidia thrive in these environments. Flies, gnats, bees, and other insects are vectors of disease from goat to goat. Infected placentas left lying around after birthing are transmitters of abortion diseases. Many other diseases are spread through placental material and mucous secretions. Footrot, but not foot scald, is highly infectious and contaminated ground quickly spreads it. Viral diseases such as Caprine Arthritic Encephalitis (CAE), Soremouth, and some types of Pinkeye are quickly passed around in overcrowded herds. Incurable Johnes Disease is transmitted via infected fecal material. Cutting open and draining an active Caseous Lymphadinitis (CL) abscess (or any other type of abscess) and exposing the exudate (pus) to other goats and to the ground is one of the ways that CL is spread throughout a herd. Reusing contaminated needles, syringes, and scalpels is another way to transmit disease. Wood feed troughs and hay bunkers collect bacteria in the wood’s grain; use plastic instead of wood whenever possible.

Raising quality goats requires planning and hard work. Advance planning will cut down on the amount of work each producer faces daily. THINK LIKE A GOAT™.

Suzanne W. Gasparotto, ONION CREEK RANCH, Lohn, Texas 5/10/13

Goat Diseases and suggested medications and doseages and vaccinations:

First I’ll start with diseases that are common for goats. I will be directing you to three of my favorite websites that I frequent alot. They are very trusted and work closely with veterinarians who are very knowledgeable in the goat world. Plus I could never put into my own words what they say best and you can understand. lol

Let me say, you need to know the difference between the disease and symptoms. Symptoms like anemia is a sign of some disease. Fever is a symptom not the actual disease. I hope this is making sense. You need to know how to access symptoms and then do process of elimination to figure out what you are dealing with. This is IF you do not have a knowledgeable veterinarian in your area. You have to read and research and ask very informative people.

Entertoxemia. This is an overeating disease that is caused by Clostridium Perfringes C and D. Here is a link to a helpful article. http://tennesseemeatgoats.com You can read more on this disease at Http://goat-link.com and http://fiascofarm.com

Tetanus. http://tennesseemeatgoats.com alot of time the protection from this disease is included in the “what we call” the CD and T vaccine.

Anemia is a big issue in goats. It is not a disease but a symptom of something profusely wrong. Here is a good article from a very trusted website.


Although there are several causes of anemia in goats, the primary internal parasite cause is the microscopic Barberpole stomach worm (Haemonchus contortus). Liver flukes can cause anemia, but liver flukes by themselves usually disrupt just a few blood vessels and feed on the pooled blood. Over a long period of time anemia can slowly develop from liver fluke infection, but at nowhere near the level or speed that it occurs from the Barberpole stomach worm. FAMACHA, the field test for worms that is mentioned in more detail later in this article, was designed and tested solely for detection of Barberpole stomach worms. A less likely though on-the-increase possible cause in some areas is Anaplasmosis, which is also addressed later in this article.

Both the Barberpole stomach worm and the liver fluke feed on blood, consuming red blood cells and causing anemia. Hypoproteinemia is the protein depletion that results from a rapid reduction in red blood cells. A common external symptom is bottlejaw — a swelling under the chin that worsens as the day passes and may seem to disappear by morning, only to re-appear the next evening. Edema is the term that refers to the swelling that is the result of fluid leaving blood vessels (caused by hypoprotenemia, i.e. severe protein deficiency) and pooling under the chin. Anemia is a life-threatening illness to goats from which they will not recover until the producer administers long-term treatment with Vitamin B 12 injections and iron supplements. There is no quick fix for curing anemia in goats

The easiest way to diagnose anemia caused by Haemonchus contortus is to use the FAMACHA field test for worms. Using a thumb or index finger, pull down the lower eyelid and look at the color of its inner membrane. A healthy non-anemic goat has a bright red to bright pink inner lower eye membrane. Light pink is not good. White is definitely anemia and immediate treatment is required or the goat is going to die. Repeat: A goat with a light pink or white inner lower eye membrane is anemic and is going to die without immediate treatment. Producers are urged to attend a workshop teaching proper use of FAMACHA. Dr. Jim Miller, parasitologist at Louisiana State University, provides FAMACHA training at GoatCamp™ at Onion Creek Ranch each October. Go to the GoatCamp™ page for information.

Determining the cause of the anemia and its companion symptom bottlejaw is the first step. The best field indicator of anemia is a high FAMACHA score (4 to 5). Have fecals done by a qualified vet or veterinary technician to determine the causative agent and level of infection. Note: The presence of liver flukes cannot be detected by a normal fecal test; a fecal sedementation test is necessary. Choose a dewormer appropriate for the problem and treat the goat. Do not deworm the goat over and over and over again. Over-deworming can stress the goat even more than it is already stressed. Deworm, wait a week, and have fecal counts done. If worms are still present, encysted worms have likely hatched, so deworm again with appropriate dosage.

Producers who expect the anemic goat to be well quickly after deworming will be disappointed, because they’ve taken only the first step towards restoring the goat to good health. Daily injections of Vitamin B 12 given IM (into the muscle) and weekly oral dosing of Red Cell iron supplement or injectable iron for a minimum of two weeks are important supportive therapies. Vitamin B 12 is an injectable red liquid which must be obtained through a vet’s prescription. Red Cell is an orally-dosed over-the-counter equine product. Ferrodex 100 and Dextran iron injectables are available OTC in most states. While it is possible to overdose a goat with iron (and copper), this probably won’t happen even with daily dosing (except in kids) because rebuilding red blood cells occurs slowly. However, it is best to err on the side of safety and dose the iron daily for a few days and then weekly thereafter. Geritol is not recommended as an oral iron supplement for goats because it contains alcohol. Giving vitamin B 12 injections daily is safe because all of the B vitamins are water soluble — what the goat doesn’t use, it eliminates from its body in urine. A healthy rumen produces its own B vitamins daily. An anemic goat is obviously not a healthy goat. Estimated dosing for Vitamin B 12 is 4 cc per 100 pounds bodyweight; for Red Cell, 6 cc per 100 pounds bodyweight; for injectable Ferrodex 100, 4 cc per 100 pounds bodyweight. Producers should monitor the goat’s reaction to these iron products, some of which may also contain copper, and adjust frequency and amount of dosages accordingly.

Recovering from anemia is a long-term process in both humans and goats. Progress in goats can be monitored by FAMACHA and fecals can be done to determine if worm loads have decreased. After two weeks’ treatment, during which time the producer usually has to stomach tube nutrients into the off-feed, weak, and very ill goat, re-do fecals and have a complete blood count test done to determine if sufficient red cells have been created. If not, continue the treatments for another two weeks and repeat the testing.

A goat with a life-threatening level of anemia usually is too weak to eat and goes off-feed. Until the goat begins eating on its own again, the producer will have to stomach tube not just electrolytes but also protein into the goat. Since Entrolyte oral nutritional supplement is no longer made by Pfizer, the producer can mix a protein-based powder into ruminant electrolytes. Add enough goat kid milk replacer into water to make an eight-ounce bottle and pour it into a half-gallon of electrolytes. It seems logical to this writer than eight ounces of whole goat’s milk should be able to be used in place of the goat kid milk replacer; however, the producer is urged to check with a qualified goat veterinarian before using this as an alternative. A 100 lb goat needs one gallon of liquids per day. An inactive goat needs slightly less. Divide the amount into two or three feedings and stomach tube it into the goat.

Offer the goat green leaves, alfalfa hay, and high protein pelleted goat feed to help rebuild red blood cells. Keep in mind that anemia results from a massive decrease in protein caused by the loss of red blood cells to blood-sucking internal parasites. Recovery from anemia can take weeks and sometimes months. Goats lose weight very fast and put it back on very slowly. Gain that is too rapid will be deposited as layers of fat around internal organs, so slow and steady re-gain of weight by a recovering goat is best.

Other sources of anemia may come from external parasites such as blood-sucking lice, ticks, and fleas. However, the blood loss from external parasites pales in comparison to that lost from internal parasites — with the exception of anaplasmosis.

Anaplasmosis, while not the usual cause of anemia in goats, is making its appearance in some areas of the United States as an external parasite problem that causes anemia. Anaplasmosis is passed from goat to goat by insects (ticks, fleas, biting flies) that feed between infected and susceptible animals. Symptoms are generalized and often include extreme sensitivity to stress and overall listlessness to the point of weakness. The organism, Anaplasma ovis, can also cause abortions. This parasite enters and destroys red blood cells, thereby causing anemia. Diagnosis is done through blood testing. Treatment involves oxytetracycline 200 mg/ml (LA 200 or equivalent) injections and tetracycline hydrochloride top dressing of feed or mixing in the goats’ water. Feed- and water-based treatments are less successful with groups of goats because the sickest goats will be the lowest in the pecking order and therefore they will be the ones to get the least. Severely infected goats should be isolated and treated individually. Eliminating the vectors (ticks, fleas, biting flies) that carry anaplasmosis is very difficult, so it is wise to treat all animals in the herd at the same time. In large herds, individual dosing is recommended since it isn’t reasonably possible to isolate each goat.

The producer should remember that goats are dry-land animals that need to eat from the top down (like deer) to protect themselves from internal parasites. The frequently mentioned, always needed, and too often not used management tool known as culling should be applied to goats that don’t tolerate the worm load present on the producer’s property. Overcrowding and other management issues should be changed to better permit goats to survive and thrive.

This writer once again thanks Dr. Jim Miller, parasitologist at Louisiana State University, for reviewing this article for accuracy.
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Mastitis is essentially an infected udder. Does of all goat breeds can contract mastitis, but it is more often seen in heavy milkers. Since bacteria that cause mastitis enter the udder through the teats, the cleanliness of pens and feeding areas has a significant impact on whether or not mastitis develops in a herd. There is some evidence that mastitis can be hereditary, but it is fair to say that it is mostly acquired via external sources.

Mastitis prevents a lactating doe from providing quality milk for her kids. Indeed, it sometimes prevents her from nursing them, creating a “bottle baby” situation. The udder gets swollen, hard, and hot. The milk, if there is any, is stringy, spotted with blood, and often unuseable.

Mastitis is not responsive to injectable antibiotics because the medicine cannot get to the source of the infection. The udder is an interwoven mass of fibrous tissue that is “walled off” from the rest of the doe’s body. Never inject a doe’s udder with any substance, antibiotic or otherwise; it will kill her.

Treatment involves removing the kid from its mother and bottle feeding it. Occasionally a mild case of mastitis will permit treatment and still allow the kid to nurse, particularly if the infection is in only one teat. The udder is walled off into two parts, each supplying one teat with milk. Milk out the infected udder(s) and infuse each infected teat with an intramammary medication like ToDay (cephapirin sodium) or similar product for at least two and preferably for four to five consecutive days. Massage the udder to move the medication around inside as much as possible. Bag Balm can be applied to the outside of the udder for ease in massaging and for the doe’s comfort. Some does run fever with mastitis, so fever-reducing medication must be given.

Since it is virtually impossible to kill all of the bacteria inside the udder, mastitis is usually chronic, recurring with each kidding. For this reason, mastitis is generally a reason for culling a doe in a meat-goat herd.

Ketosis is a pregnancy-related illness in does which can occur either right before or shortly after kidding. Ketosis is the result of producers not providing proper nutrition for pregnant does. The bred female does not receive adequate protein to feed both her and her kids in utero, so either just before or immediately after she kids, her body begins to draw upon its protein reserves so that she can provide milk for her offspring. Deadly ketones are produced as a by-product of this process, as her own body tissues begin to starve.

Treatment is simple. Oral administration of propylene glycol, molasses, or Karo syrup is necessary. The doe will dislike the oily propylene glycol, but it is by far the best product available for treating ketosis. Dosage is based upon weight of the animal.

Prevention is easy. Feed the doe properly during gestation as well as after kidding. Bringing a doe back from a bout of ketosis is difficult, and death often results.

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Milk Fever is not really a fever but is actually hypocalcelmia. This *mis-naming* of the illness makes diagnosis somewhat confusing.

If a doe is going to become hypocalcemic, it will occur around kidding time. She will become uninterested in eating, may be mildly bloated or constipated, have difficulty walking and/or rising from a sitting position, have a decrease in body temperature, and may have weak labor contractions. Sometimes the only symptom is hind foot dragging. Rear body parts feel cold to the touch. If the doe cannot get up, set her upright on the sterum and pull her head to one side; this position should reduce the possibility of aspirating rumen contents that may be forced backward by bloating.

The illness is complex to explain in layman’s terms because it involves hormonal changes that occur in the mobilization of calcium within the doe’s body when she begins to produce milk. Certain feeds rich in calcium, most notably alfalfa and peanut (legume) hays, are believed to be the culprits. These feeds contain calcium in excess of what the doe needs at kidding time. This excess calcium sets off a “chain reaction” causing calcium to be deposited into her bones when her body needs to be releasing it for use in milk production. Simply put, Milk Fever is a failure of the body’s system to activate calcium mobilization and not a deficiency of calcium reserves.

The best way to prevent Milk Fever is to lower calcium intake during the last 30 days of pregnancy. In most herds, this can be done by eliminating legume hays (alfalfa and peanut) from the doe’s diet. This puts the doe’s body in a slightly negative calcium position, allowing the hormonal system to mobilize calcium reserves. Normal kidding is accompanied by very mild hypocalcemia which is not noticeable if the calcium balance in the doe’s body is on target.

If legume hays are the only source of forage for feeding does in the last 30 days of pregnancy, then no calcium supplements should be fed. Pregnant does on grass hay need to be fed a grain supplement containing 0.5% dicalcium phosphate or equivalent. Producers are reminded that any changes in feeding regimen must be done gradually or rumen problems are likely to occur.

Treatment involves intravenous injection of 50-100 ml of 25% calcium borogluconate solution, with additional administration subcutaneously (SQ). For those uncomfortable with IV treatments, oral drenches are available and quite inexpensive. CMPK and MFO are two over-the-counter Milk Fever products that can be purchased through mail order houses like Register Distributing (goatsupplies.netfirms.com) and Jeffers (1-800-JEFFERS). If caught early, Milk Fever is readily treatable. If allowed to progress untreated, Milk Fever can result in enterotoxemia, mastitis, retained placenta, and death.
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Diarrhea should not be considered an illness in and of itself but rather a symptom of other more serious health problems in goats. Before treating a goat for diarrhea, it is essential to determine why the animal is scouring. Administering a diarrhea-controlling medication can make the situation much worse. Slightly soft stool is sometimes the body’s way of ridding itself of undesirable products through the purging effect of diarrhea. For example, one step in the treatment of Floppy Kid Syndrome involves the use of a laxative (Milk of Magnesia) to induce mild diarrhea so that the kid’s body is rid of the stagnant toxic milk that has overloaded its digestive system.

There are four major causative agents of diarrhea in goats: bacteria, viruses, parasites, and management practices (overcrowding, poor sanitation, or nutritionally-induced problems).

Diarrhea can be the symptom of many different illnesses, including bloat, ruminal acidosis, laminitis/founder, copper deficiency, aflatoxin poisoning, anaphylactic shock, plant toxicity/poisoning, renal failure, selenium toxicity, coccidiosis, enterotoxemia (clostridium perfringens type C&D), salmonellosis, E. Coli infection, caprine herpes virus, heavy parasite infestation, and goat polio.

However, diarrhea is not always the result of an infectious disease. It can be nutritionally induced by overfeeding on milk or grain, by using poor-quality milk replacers, or by sudden changes in feeding schedules or in the type of feed being offered.

Neonatal Diarrhea Complex, which is the term used to describe diarrhea occurring in kids under one month of age, the cause of which may not ever be diagnosed, usually occurs during kidding season when extremes of weather take place . . . . excessive heat or cold or heavy rains. Kids less than one month of age do have not fully functioning immune systems, so diarrhea can take a heavy toll. Dehydration, acidosis, electrolyte depletion, and hypocalcemia can result. The kid becomes weak and can’t stand, has a dry mouth and cold extremities, body temperature drops below normal, and the sucking response is often lost. Sick kids should be isolated from the herd, placed in sanitary facilities, and fed in containers that are up and off the ground to prevent further contamination. Administration of oral and subcutaneous electrolytes along with an appropriate broad-spectrum antibiotic is the recommended treatment.

Coccidia and/or worms usually are the cause of diarrhea in kids over one month of age. Both of these conditions are transmitted by fecal-to-oral contact and occur most frequently in intensive management situations where pens and troughs are not kept clean and dry and overcrowding exists.

Adult-onset diarrhea is less common than in kids, but nevertheless is quite possible. Overfeeding on grain (such as shell or cracked corn) can cause severe ruminal acidosis . . . literally shutting down the goat’s digestive system . . . and can result in death. Heavy parasite loads can cause diarrhea in adult goats. Almost anything which negatively affects the proper functioning of the goat’s rumen may cause scouring.

When a producer sees diarrhea in one of his goats, do not run for a bottle of Pepto-Bismol, Kaeopectate, or Scour Halt. First figure out what is causing the scouring, then treat appropriately. Use a rectal thermometer to take the goat’s body temperature. Mix electrolytes (ReSorb or equivalent) and orally drench the animal to prevent dehydration. Administer electrolytes under the skin (subcutaneously) if the goat is already seriously dehydrated. Never use Immodium AD to control diarrhea in a goat. This product can stop the peristaltic action of the gut, bringing the digestive process to a halt, and death in not uncommon under such circumstances. If the scouring is slightly soft stool, let it run its course. When body temperature is above the normal range, use a fever medication and an antibiotic to control infection. Obviously, very watery diarrhea requires a different approach and much more intervention on the producer’s part.

Producers should recognize diarrhea as a symptom of a more serious health problem and investigate further to find the cause before running for the Scour Halt bottle. Sometimes, but certainly not always, the diarrhea is helpful in clearing up what is wrong with the goat.
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This next disease is ones that is becoming more common. We should all be aware of these.
Different Causes, Similar Symptoms, Similar Treatments

Goat Polio (Polioencephalomalacia) is a metabolic disease with symptoms that often mimic or overlap those of the brain-stem disease Listeriosis (Listeria monocytogenes). In most cases, both of these diseases are seen in goats raised under intensive management conditions. Improper feeding, particularly feeding too much grain and too little roughage (hay and forage) is a significant factor in both diseases. Producers pushing the animal to gain weight too fast can induce these potentially fatal diseases in their goats. Sudden changes in feed can also cause the onset of these diseases.

Polioencephalomalacia (also known as Cerebrocortical Necrosis) is basically thiamine (Vitamin B 1) deficiency. Any change in the rumen’s environment that suppresses normal bacterial activity can interfere with thiamine production. Too much grain decreases the pH of the rumen, predisposing the animal to Goat Polio. Glucose cannot be metabolized without thiamine. If thiamine is either not present or exists in an altered form (thiaminase), then brain cells die and severe neurological symptoms appear.

Causes of thiamine deficiency include feeding moldy hay or grain, using amprollium which is a thiamine inhibitor (brand name CoRid) when treating coccodiosis, feeding molasses-based grains which are prone to mold (horse & mule feeds), eating some species of ferns, sudden changes in diet, the dietary stress of weaning, and reactions to the de-wormers thiabendazole and levamisole. Each of these conditions can suppress Vitamin B1 production. The usage of antibiotics destroys flora in the rumen and can cause thiamine deficiency. It is important to repopulate the gut with live bacteria after using antibiotics or diarrhea (scour) medications.

Goat Polio generally occurs in weanlings and very young goats, while Listeriosis most frequently affects adult goats. An increase in Goat Polio occurs in North America during winter when the availability of forage and quality hay is low and producers start feeding increased amounts of grain or expect goats to survive on very poor pasture.

Symptoms of Polioencephalomalacia can be any combination of or all of the following: excitability, “stargazing,” uncoordinated staggering and/or weaving (ataxia), circling, diarrhea, muscle tremors, and blindness. Initial symptoms can look like Entertoxemia (overeating disease). There is a component of “overeating” involved in that the rumen flora has been compromised. As the disease progresses, convulsions and high fever occur, and if untreated, the goat generally dies within 24-72 hours. Diagnosis is available via laboratory tests, but the producer does not have the luxury of the time that such tests take.

Thiamine is the only effective therapy, and treatment can result in improvement within a few hours if the disease is caught early enough. Thiamine is an inexpensive veterinary prescription. Producers should always keep thiamine on hand; the most commonly available strength is 100 mg/ml. Dosage is based on the goat’s weight (4-1/2 cc per 100 pounds liveweight for 100 mg/ml thiamine) and must be given every six hours on a 24-hour cycle until all symptoms have disappeared completely to avoid relapse. Thiamine, like all B vitamins, is water soluable, so the goat eliminates daily what it doesn’t utilize in the rumen. A sick goat’s rumen doesn’t produce B vitamins, hence the importance of adding them to the goat each day until it gets well. Initially thiamine should be given IM (into the muscle) but can be given SQ (subcutaneously) or even orally after several days of treatment. Some thiamine comes in 500 mg/ml strength, making the required dosage 1 cc per 100 pounds bodyweight. If thiamine is unavailable but the producer has injectable multiple B vitamins, check the label for how much thiamine (Vitamin B1) is present. Fortified Vitamin B Complex contains 100 mg/ml of thiamine, so the 4-1/2 cc per 100 pounds bodyweight dosage is appropriate. Injectable multiple B vitamins containing only 25mg/ml of thiamine require four times the 100mg/ml dosage (18-1/2 cc) per 100 pounds bodyweight, so the producer can quickly see the importance of obtaining the proper strength of injectable B vitamins. The key to overcoming Goat Polio is early diagnosis and treatment. Complete recovery is possible under such circumstances.

Since symptoms of Goat Polio can easily look like Listeriosis, this writer recommends that procaine pencillin also be used. Better to cover both possible illnesses with appropriate treatments when symptoms are so similar than risk the goat’s dying. Administer high doses of procaine penicillin (300,000 International Unit strength) every six hours on a 24-hour basis until all symptoms have disappeared and another 24 hours have passed. Higher-than-normal dosage of procaine penicillin is needed to cross the blood brain barrier to put sufficient amounts of the antibiotic into the tissue of the goat’s central nervous system. A chart of dosage by bodyweight accompanies this article. Give this medication SQ over the ribs with an 18 gauge needle so that the goat doesn’t become a pin cushion of holes from repeated injections. Very Important: Continue all treatment until 24 hours *after* the last symptom has disappeared to avoid a relapse.

Summary: To try to avoid this disease, decrease grain, increase roughage, avoid moldy hay and grain, and don’t use feed that is susceptible to mold (molasses-based/textured feeds). Complete avoidance of Goat Polio is impossible. After doing everything “right,” producers can still have a goat contract Goat Polio occasionally.

chartlisteriosisListeriosis is a brain-stem disease caused by the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes, which is found in soil, water, plant litter, silage, and even in the goat’s digestive tract. The bacterium generally enters the goat’s body through the mouth and multiplies rapidly in cold temperatures. There are two forms of Listeriosis: one form results in abortions, while the other causes encephalitis. Both types are seldom seen at the same time in the same herd. The organism can be shed in the milk of both carrier and sick goats. Listeriosis is potentially zoonotic (able to be transmitted to humans.) Like Goat Polio, Listeriosis is most often seen in intensive management situations. Unlike Goat Polio, Listeriosis is more common in adult animals than in kids. Because some goats are carriers who never display any symptoms, it is possible to buy infected animals and introduce this disease into a previously uninfected herd.

Listeriosis is brought on by feeding silage, suddenly changing type and kind of feed (grain or hay), parasitism, dramatic weather changes, and advanced stages of pregnancy. The encephalitic form is most common, causing inflammation of the nerves in the goat’s brain stem. Symptoms include some or all of the following: depression, decreased appetite, fever, leaning or stumbling or moving in one direction only, head pulled to flank with rigid neck (similar to symptoms of tetanus), facial paralysis on one side, blindness, slack jaw, and drooling. Diarrhea is present only in the strain of Listeriosis which causes abortions and pregnancy toxemia. Listeriosis can be mistaken for rabies. Immediate treatment is critical. There is no time to waste with Listeriosis. Recovery is more difficult and time-consuming than Goat Polio. A goat can go blind and completely recover its eyesight and overall health if proper treatment is provided; such treatment can take days or even weeks, depending upon the severity of the illness and how quickly treatment was begun.

Treatment involves administration of high doses of procaine penicillin (300,000 International Unit strength) every six hours on a 24-hour cycle up to and through 24 hours after the last symptom has disappeared to avoid relapse. Higher-than-normal dosage of procaine penicillin is needed to cross the blood brain barrier to put sufficient amounts of the antibiotic into the tissue of the goat’s central nervous system. A chart of dosage by bodyweight accompanies this article. Very Important: Continue all treatment until 24 hours *after* the last symptom has disappeared to avoid a relapse. Give the procaine pencillin SQ over the ribs with an 18 gauge needle so the goat doesn’t become a pin cushion of holes from repeated injections during this intensive treatment. This author also uses Vitamin B 1 (Thiamine) along with the penicillin treatment. Thiamine is an appropriate addition to treatment of any sick goat. Dosage is outlined above in the Goat Polio section of this article. Dexamethasone ( cortico-steroid) injections can be used to reduce brain stem swelling. Dexamethasone will induce labor in pregnant does, but the doe is likely to abort anyhow as a result of this infection, so producers might be wise to abort the pregnancy if they wish to save the sick doe. Dexamethasone dosage is 5 to 6 cc per 100 pounds bodyweight given IM in decreasing amounts daily. Example: Goat is 100 pounds liveweight. Dosage is 6 cc into the muscle on Day One, 5 cc on Day Two, 4 cc on Day Three, 3 cc on Day Four, 2 cc on Day Five, one cc on Day Six, nothing on Day Seven. If the goat is over 100 pounds, drop dosages daily in increments of two or three cc’s. Example: Dose a 200 pound goat at 12 cc on Day One, 10 cc on Day Two, 8 cc on Day Three, 6 cc on Day Four, 4 cc on Day Five, 2 cc on Day Six, nothing on Day Seven. Dexamethasone should be tapered off rather than quit abruptly. This writer would be reluctant to use Dexamethasone on young kids six months of age or less except under the direction of my veterinarian.

Prevention: Feed your goats properly. No silage; the possibility of mold is too great. No moldy feed or hay. Clean pens. No sudden changes in types of feed (grain or hay). Lots of free-choice quality roughage, particularly in the latter stages of pregnancy. And don’t overfeed on grain.

NOTE ON HYDRATION/NUTRITION: Do not fail to keep the sick goat hydrated and fed. With Goat Polio and Listeriosis, a goat is usually totally off feed and water. This means that the producer must stomach tube nutrients (electrolytes, energy, protein) into the goat. A 100 pound goat needs one gallon of fluids daily. That is 3,840 cc’s. No producer can syringe 3,840 cc’s of fluids daily into a goat without stressing both the goat and the caregiver. All of the proper medications won’t save a goat if that animal dies of dehydration/starvation. Entrolyte (oral calf nutrient powder containing electrolytes and 13% protein) or comparable product should always be kept on hand for these situations. Do not offer grain to a sick goat but instead provide easy-to-digest forage plants (weeds & leaves) and grass hay.

Alert to Goat Show Participants: The manner in which many of you are taught to raise your animals often results in Goat Polio, Urinary Calculi, Laminitis/Founder, and other metabolic and nutritionally-related diseases. Particularly in 4H and FFA shows, many are beginners and rely upon the information and training being provided by ag teachers, county agents, and judges. Goats are ruminants, and ruminants are pot-bellied animals. A large rumen is an excellent digestive factory. Proper hydration — the rumen must be 90% water to function correctly — and nutrition is critical to the goat’s overall health and growth.
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Urinary Calculi, commonly called known as “Water Belly,” is a urinary-tract disease in goats. Urinary Calculi prevents both urination and breeding in males. Female goats can but seldom do contract Urinary Calculi because of the straightness and shortness of their urethra. The twists and turns of the longer male urethra make passing solid particles difficult at best and impossible at worst. Urinary Calculi is a disease that can and does kill goats quickly.

Urinary Calculi is almost always the result of improper feeding by the producer. A proper calcium to phosphorus ratio in feed, hay, and minerals is critical; this ratio should be 2-1/2 to 1. Although the disease is called Urinary Calculi, the real culprit is phosphorus — specifically too much phosphorus in relation to the amount of calcium in the diet. Feeding too much grain concentrates and/or feeding grain concentrates with an improper calcium-to-phosphorus ratio is a major cause of Urinary Calculi. Overfeeding or improper feeding of grain concentrates causes solid particles to develop in the urine; these solid particles block the flow of urine out of the goat’s body, causing great pain, discomfort, and oftentimes death. Producers who have experienced urinary-tract stones themselves will understand the seriousness of and pain associated with this condition.

Besides grain concentrates, there are other factors affecting the calcium-to-phosphous ratio in the goat’s diet. If the minerals being fed have the proper calcium-to-phosphorus ratio and the goats are not being fed a diet heavy in grain concentrates, then the producer should have both water and hay tested for mineral content. Many types of hay (Bermuda is one example) are high in phosphorus. Hay fertilized with chicken litter will be even higher in phosphorus levels. Adding calcium carbonate (ground limestone) to goat minerals can help bring the calcium-to-phosphorus ratio back to the 2-1/2 to 1 range. However, it is essential to work with a goat nutritionist to find the right amount of calcium carbonate to add to the mineral mixture to get these ratios on target.

Goats used for show purposes are prone to Urinary Calculi because their owners tend to over-feed them with grain concentrates. Young wethers (castrated males) are especially susceptible to Urinary Calculi. Castration stops both testosterone production and the growth of the urethra. Solid particles cannot pass through a urethra that has not been given the opportunity to grow to its normal diameter. The chance of contracting Urinary Calculi in male show goats can be reduced by not wethering (castrating) them until they are five to six months of age — giving the diameter of the urethra time to grow. Castration of a goat of this age should be done under sedation by a veterinarian. The addition of hay or some other type of long fiber to the goat’s diet is absolutely critical to help avoid Urinary Calculi. This is a big problem with some show-goat producers because they tend to take goats off long fiber and push grain concentrates. This is asking for major Urinary Calculi problems.

Urinary Calculi requires immediate medical attention. This condition will not correct itself and if left untreated, the goat will die. Symptoms of Urinary Calculi include tail twitching in males, restlessness, anxiety, and a “hunched-up” body posture as the goat strains to urinate. Sometimes the producer mis-diagnoses the problem as constipation or bloat because of goat’s behavior and body stance. The producer should closely examine any male exhibiting these symptoms. Watch for signs of difficulty with urination.

To examine the penis by extending it out of the urethral shaft, sit the goat on its rump for easier handling and manually work the penis out of the shaft for visual examination. This can be impossible to do in goats wethered very young because the penile shaft may still be adhered to the urethral process — one more drawback of wethering at a very young age. (A sign of sexual maturity in a buckling is his ability to extend his penis out of the shaft.) Before a male can be catherized to relieve a build-up of urine,the pizzle must be cut off. An experienced producer can do this, but most folks should have this procedure performed by a qualified veterinarian. The pizzle is the “curley-qued” appendage on the end of the penis. Oftentimes the pizzle of a goat with Urinary Calculi is black and crusty in appearance. Removal of the pizzle does not affect breeding ability. If this treatment is unsuccessful, the goat must be taken immediately to a qualified veterinarian; the need for surgery under sedation is likely. If the producer waits too long, surgery won’t save the goat. Surgery is no guarantee that the goat can be saved.

Do not force a goat with Urinary Calculi to drink lots of water; if fluids can’t leave the body because the exit is blocked, the only alternative is for the bladder to burst. A burst bladder cannot be fixed and is fatal. In many cases within 24 to 48 hours after the onset of Urinary Calculi the untreated goat’s bladder will usually burst and the flow of urine into the sub-cutaneous tissues on the underside of the body (“Water Belly”) will precede a quick and painful death. Administer Banamine (1 cc per 100 lbs bodyweight daily) for the pain that accompanies Urinary Calculi.

Vets recommend that ammonium chloride be used to treat Urinary Calculi. Ammonium chloride can be purchased in small quantities (four-pound packages) from Pipestone Vet Supply at 1-800-658-2523. Here are the dosing instructions provided to me by a producer who has been successful in using Ammonium chloride to cure Urinary Calculi. Mix the following in 20 cc water and orally drench: One (1) teaspoon Ammonium chloride per 75 lbs bodyweight every 12 hours for 2 days, then 1/2 tsp AC per 75 lbs bodyweight every 12 hours for the next 3 days, then 1/2 tsp once a day for 3 days, then 1/4 tsp daily as a preventative. Dosages are based upon 75 lb liveweights. Ammonium chloride burns the throat, so stomach tube it into the goat.

Some producers have had good luck using a product called Acid Pack available through Register Distributing: goatsupplies.netfirms.com or 1-888-310-9606. This writer has no experience with either Urinary Calculi or with Acid Pack. Regardless of the treatment used, the goat must be taken off all grain concentrates and offered only grass hay, fresh green leaves, and water during this treatment regimen. This is not usually a problem since the goat is so sick that it is struggling to live and isn’t interested in eating or drinking. Producers without these products on hand might consider trying — in the short term until they are obtained — “Fruit Fresh” from the canning aisle in the grocery store. Again this writer has no personal experience with this product but hears from time to time of producer-reported success using it. Immediate veterinary assistance is highly recommended when Urinary Calculi is suspected.

Occasionally — very occasionally — Urinary Calculi may be the result of the mineral content of the water that the goat is drinking. The local county extension office should be able to test the water to determine mineral content. The producer can easily test the pH of the goats’ water supply by purchasing a fish-tank testing kit. The water’s pH should be neutral (a pH of 7).

The key to avoiding Urinary Calculi is feeding the goat a proper diet. Producers experiencing Urinary Calculi in their goats must change their feeding regimens. Carefully read feed labels for proper calcium-to-phosphorus ratios (2-1/2:1). Some prepared goat feeds contain ammonium chloride in the formulation, but this is no guarantee that Urinary Calculi will be avoided. Most importantly, offer lots of free-choice forage/browse and good-quality grass hay and reduce the amount of grain concentrates being fed. Both the health of your goats and your financial bottom line will improve.
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Incurable But Not Equal

Goat producers tend to think of Caprine Arthritic Encephalitis (CAE), Caseous Lymphadenitis (CL), and Johnes Disease as equally dangerous and unwanted. While no goat producer wants to purchase goats that have one or more of these incurable diseases, the truth is that they should not be lumped together as equally devastating illnesses.

CAE is a retro-virus, like AIDS. It is transmitted through colostrum, milk, and body fluids. Although very debilitating to the infected goat, CAE is not believed to be transmittable to humans.

CAE blood tests detect antibody produced in response to infection with the CAE virus. However, because only very small amounts of the antibody are produced in the early stages of infection, these low antibody levels may not be detectable by some blood tests. Therefore it is not advisable to test for CAE until the goat is at least six to eight months of age. Most female goats will develop detectable levels of antibody at or shortly after their first freshening (kidding).

CAE is incurable, untreatable, and not manageable. Goats infected with the CAE virus should be slaughtered for meat consumption. The meat is safe for human consumption.

CL is caused by a bacteria that can in theory be transmitted to humans but in fact seldom happens. This disease is transmitted through oral ingestion of the pus or through direct contact with the pus through a cut on the body. CL does not transmit through colostrum, milk, or bodily fluids. I repeat: CL does “not” transmit through colostrum, milk, or bodily fluids. CL bacteria is filtered by the goat’s lymph system to the underside of the skin, where it is contained in thick-walled abscesses that are impenetrable by antibiotics. The problem with CL occurs when an abscess breaks open into the environment, spredding pus that can infect the goat’s herdmates. Internal abscesses are possible but much more common in sheep than in goats. Slaughter facilities routinely identify and condemn abscesses in internal organs and allow the rest of the goat to be processed for food. The meat from CL-infected goats is safe to eat after the affected areas have been condemned and discarded.

Blood testing for CL has a high degree of accuracy, depending upon the type of blood test used, but the only way to be absolutely certain if the abscess contains the CL bacteria is to test the exudate (pus). There are many types of abscesses. Two abscesses often visually mis-diagnosed as CL are pasteurella abscess and a. pyogenes abscesses.

CL, while incurable once the goat contracts it, can be vaccinated against with the CaseBac sheep vaccine (same bacterial organism affects both sheep and goats) and will in the not-too-distant future be able to be vaccinated against with a goat- specific vaccine currently in development by Colorado Serum. CL is also manageable either by lancing and cleaning out abscesses or injecting the abscess with 10% Formalin. I have articles describing how to do this on the Articles page at http://www.tennesseemeatgoats.com. If you decide to employ one or more of these methods, read these articles carefully and contact me if you have questions. While no sane producer chooses to have CL or any other infectious disease in the herd, CL is nowhere near the health, managerial, or economic disaster that is CAE and Johnes.

Johnes Disease is the caprine equivalent of chronic wasting disease in deer. This bacteria is passed via fecal-to-oral contact. Chronic in dairy cattle herds and becoming more common in goat herds, Johnes Disease stays in the ground for a very long time. Johnes is very debilitating to infected goats and usually doesn’t show up for years, producing a situation where all of the herd can become infected before the producer sees symptoms. Johnes-infected goats should be slaughtered for food consumption; the meat is safe to eat.

Johnes is not believed to be transmittable to humans, but it is incurable and untreatable in goats. Both types of tests for Johnes have their drawbacks, but producers suspecting Johnes Disease should definitely have their goats tested immediately.

Bob Glass, owner of Pan American Vet Lab in Hutto, Texas (near Austin, Texas), performs blood tests to identify all three of these diseases. The prices are astonishingly inexpensive. Pan American Vet Lab can be reached at 1-800-856-9655. Bob Glass can be reached via email at bglass@pavlab.com.

If you suspect any disease in one of your goats, always use disposable gloves when handling the animal. Before you decide to cull the goat, you need to know what choices are available to you. Your goals and your managerial style will impact your decision. This article is intended to present those options to you so that you can make that decision based upon facts rather than emotional heresay from other goat raisers.

Suzanne W. Gasparotto
Onion Creek Ranch
onioncreek@tennesseemeatgoats.com 1/1/11
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Caprine Arthritic Encephalitis (CAE), discovered by researchers at Washington State University over 20 years ago, is a viral infection in goats which can cause encephalitis in kids and chronic joint disease in adults.

The elusive nature of CAE complicates the goat raiser’s ability to control the disease. Goats can be infected with CAE their entire lives and never display visible symptoms. The disease is more often seen in adult goats. Encephalitic seizures usually kill infected kids quickly.

Adults with visible signs of CAE often have over-sized knobby knees that are swollen in appearance. Sitting down is painful, so they don’t wear the hair off their knees. Smooth knee pads can be an indication of CAE infection. Hard udders, sometimes without any milk at all, and fatal pneumonia are symptomatic of CAE. Progressive crippling arthritis is displayed in older adults. Caprine Arthritic Encephalitis is a retro-virus; in other words, antibodies created by the CAE-positive goat are not effective in attacking the virus. The presence of antibodies indicates infection but not immunity to the disease. AIDS in humans is also a retro-virus. While CAE is restricted to goats (caprines), other ruminants have their own species’ versions of retro-viruses. Unlike Caseous Lymphadinitis (CL), another infectious disease found in some goats, CAE is not contagious to human beings.

Researchers at Washington State University found that 80% of the dairy goats which they tested carried the virus, while a smaller percentage displayed clinical (visible) symptoms of the disease. However, CAE is not unique to dairy goats, although it has been most commonly associated with dairy breeds in the past. With the appearance of the Boer goat into the United States and the cross-breeding frenzy which has occurred as breeders try to create an improved slaughter animal, CAE is showing up in many breeds in which it had not previously been found to exist.

The most direct infection route is from mother to kid through infected colostrum, body fluids, and milk. In order to maintain CAE-free herds, dairy-goat breeders often take kids from the dam at the moment of birth . . . never allowing her to touch them . . . and bottle-raise the kids on either pasteurized milk or milk replacer. The virus is directly connected to the production of white blood cells, so any body secretions which contain these cells are potential sources of infection for other members of the herd.

All tests currently available evaluate antibodies. Since not all CAE-infected goats have produced antibodies, “false negatives” are possible. A goat infected with CAE but who has not produced antibodies will test negative but still can shed the virus and infect other goats. If the goat has produced antibodies, it has the virus, will test positive, and will shed it to other herd members.

Complicating the matter even more, it is also possible to have negative kids out of a positive dam. Further, a dam who has given birth to twins can produce one offspring which tests positive and another that tests negative. . . out of the same litter. Kids under six months of age are extremely difficult to test accurately for CAE, so most laboratories recommend waiting until the offspring are eight months to one year old.

CAE testing is done on blood samples drawn from suspect goats either by a veterinarian or by the goat producer. Some laboratories, such as Pan American Veterinary Laboratories in Austin, Texas (1-800-856-9655), provide collection tubes for about $1.00US each and accept ice-packed shipments of blood vials for analysis. CAE tests cost about $5.00 US per blood sample, and the results are normally available in seven to ten days. The same blood sample can also be tested for other caprine diseases, like CL and Johne’s Disease, for a few additional dollars. Eight to ten cc’s of blood per animal is adequate for testing. Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (WADDL) is another reputable facility for testing. WADDL can be reached at Post Office Box 2037, Pullman, Washington 99165-2037 USA.

Several types of CAE tests exist and have varying degrees of accuracy. The ELISA test is generally recognized as the most reliable, displaying a sensitivity to CAE of up to 95.2%; the AGID test has produced results as low as 56%. These figures may be misleading, as many variables can affect the percentage results.

Since many meat goats will be slaughtered young and humans are not at risk, why should meat-goat producers be concerned about having CAE in their herd? There are three very good reasons for maintaining a disease-free herd:

The long-term health of the herd directly affects sales and, therefore, profits. CAE-infected does produce up to 25% less milk than non-infected dams . . . assuming that they have milk at all. In production meat-goat herds, multiple births are desired, so milk production is important in raising marketable kids. Just as mastitis is not a desired condition, so is CAE. Less milk = smaller kids = reduced profit. Producers of breeding stock must offer disease-free herd sires and dams. Buyers will not pay top dollar for infected animals and will often require testing of animals prior to purchasing them. If the producer is shipping out-of-state or out-of-the-country, it is highly likely that these tests are required by animal health regulations. CAE is incurable at this time.

When buying animals to add to your herd, routinely quarantine them for a minimum of two weeks before putting them with your other goats, not just for CAE-testing purposes but also to evaluate them for shipping fever, soremouth, pinkeye, and a host of other illnesses to which goats are susceptible. Increased interest in goats world-wide, and particularly in the United States, means that lots of goats are being shipped every day. Producers who do not quarantine new purchases are asking for problems. Keeping a “closed herd” in an expansive market is difficult, so follow these minimal precautions.

Producers running hundreds or thousands of head obviously cannot afford individual testing. So be alert for knobby knees, and perform random testing annually and before kidding.

Goats can carry CAE their entire lives and never show an outward sign of it. These silently-infected animals can test negative for the antibody until stress or some other factor activates it. Don’t let this incurable disease catch you off guard. Follow these simple, inexpensive steps to keep CAE out of your herd , and the entire meat-goat industry will benefit.
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I do have to say about this disease. Im not as scared of this one as I use to be simply because research is finally being done as to how to eradicate this bacteria. you do not have to doom one to death anymore concerning this one. Please keep up and on top of this one.
What is it and how to cope with it?

Caseous lymphadenitis (CL) is a contagious bacterial infection in goats (and sheep). Infection occurs through wounds caused by head butting, punctures, and shearing, as well as by oral ingestion of the exudate (pus) from an abscess that has ruptured. The lymph system filters the bacteria from the goat’s body and pushes it outside into thick-walled encapsulated abscesses so that it can’t harm the goat. Visible abscesses don’t appear for months after infection as the lymph system slowly filters the bacteria. Abscesses can be internal, but there is much debate about frequency and correlation of occurence with external abscesses. Abscesses are attached to the back side of the skin rather than the goat’s body. Like so many things about goats, we don’t have sufficient research to give definitive answers.

gtmed2Not all abscesses are caused by corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis, but those appearing at lymph-gland sites (often under the ear but not always) should be considered suspect and investigated. CL is an equal-opportunity infection — no breed or sex is exempt. A burst CL abscess is virtually unmistakable; pus is cheesy, toothpaste-thick, whitish/yellowish — and very infectious. A simple and inexpensive blood test can be performed to diagnose infection. There are several testing methods, but they are unreliable on animals under eight months of age; “false negatives” are high, particularly on goats showing no visible signs of infection. The most accurate testing is done on exudate (pus) taken from the abscess itself.

Because the thick pus is enclosed in a tough fibrous capsule which medicine cannot penetrate, antibiotic treatment is ineffective against the CL bacteria. Caseous Lymphadenitis is currently considered incurable. Existing vaccine available in the USA is for use with sheep and the manufacturer stresses not using it on goats. Autogenous vaccines — made from a specific herd’s infectious pus — are sometimes helpful but often only slow down the rate of infection. Colorado Serum Company is developing a CL vaccine for goats that should be available to producers sometime in spring/summer 2008. I will disclose its availability on the Internet via my ChevonTalk meat-goat discussion group (chevontalk-subscribe@yahoogroups.com) and on my website’s Articles page.

Handling visible CL abscesses can be done in two ways: (1) Lance and remove the pus, exposing the goat and all other goats to possible contact with the CL bacteria, or (2) Inject Formalin (10% buffered formaldehyde) into the abscess to “embalm” it and let it fall off in non-contagious *scab* form. I have done a lot of research on CL as it affects goats. I used to recommend confining the animal and lancing/draining the pus, but timing is critical as the abscess forms, matures, and goes from hard to soft with easy-to-burst thin skin covergtmed1ing it. I’ve learned that Formalin (classified as a *disinfectant*) best controls this disease. Note: I am not a vet and the usage of Formalin is ‘off-label,’ as is so much that goat producers use. The plus side of using Formalin to manage CL abcesses is no exposure of the bacteria either to the environment or other goats, no long-term isolation of treated animals, and less stress on both the producer and the goat. As long as Formalin is carefully injected inside the abscess, it is highly unlikely that it could penetrate its thick walls and migrate into body tissues or organs. Sub-cutaneous abscesses peel off with the hide at slaughter, and internal organ abscesses are easy to identify, condemn, and discard. Read my article on CL Management Using Formalin on the Articles page for details. Some vets are beginning to use this method for CL management

CL is a fact of life in goats (and sheep). If you don’t have it yet, you will have it. You don’t have to own or buy infected goats; flies can carry the bacteria from nearby infected animals and bring it to your goats. Unless you want to destroy goats that can be salvaged and utilized, Formalin makes a good partner in controlling CL .When Colorado Serum’s new CL vaccine for goats is available, I urge all producers to buy it and use it. I am proud that my efforts over the years to convince Colorado Serum to produce a CL vaccine for goats is seeing results. This company that previously saw no significant market for a goat-specific CL vaccine has now decided to develop it. Let’s prove to Colorado Serum that we truly need this vaccine and appreciate their taking the risk to develop it by buying and using it. The vaccine will not require a prescription, will be safe to use on pregnant does, and will not cause painful side effects. Companies such as Register Distributing, Jeffers will carry the product.
Update on the CL Vaccine for goats. Jeffers Pet now carries the new vaccine for goats. But you have to call before you order to make sure your state has agreed to have it sold to your state.
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This is an updated article on Johnes. While not much new information exists, goat producers are seeing more and more Johnes in their animals.

The existence of Johne’s Disease is unknown to many goat breeders in the meat-goat industry. The reason for this lack of knowledge is primarily due to the elusive nature of the disease. However, more cases of Johnes are being diagnosed. Goat producers in Ohio and surrounding states are seeing Johnes. Dairy cattle operations have long been fighting Johnes, and people raising goats on land that formerly housed dairy cattle are seeing Johnes appear in their goats. Pygmy goats seem to be more susceptible than other breeds, maybe because of the intensive breeding that has been done to refashion them down to smaller size with resultingly smaller immune systems.

Johnes (pronounced Yo-nees) is a contagious disease which can infect any ruminant species. The origin of the disease is unknown, it is world-wide, and it was first diagnosed in goats in the early 1900’s. Johnes is a chronic infection that localizes in the small intestine, causing a thickening of the intestinal wall which prevents the normal absorption of nutrients. In goats, the symptoms do not appear until the last stages of the illness.

Mycobacterium paratuberclosis is the organism which causes Johne’s Disease, and this bacteria is passed in the manure of goats from animal to animal via fecal-to-oral contact. Young kids are the most susceptible, and the disease remains unidentifiable for years after the kids have first ingested infected feces. Clinical weight loss in infected adults is the only symptom.

The symptoms are prolonged weight loss, lack of appetite, and depression, occasionally followed by diarrhea. Goats infected with Johnes frequently are more subject to heavy parasite loads. Any adult goat which is continually parasite-infected should be tested for Johne’s Disease.

Clinical signs of this disease do not appear until goats are yearlings and sometimes much later. Kids can contract Johnes in utero (before birth) if their dams are heavily infected. Kids can also become infected through the colostrum and milk of Johnes-carrying mothers. This bacterium is very hardy and heat resistant. However, pasteurization can kill most (if not all) of the organisms, depending upon the concentration of the bacterium in the milk, and is a useful technique for reducing (but not eliminating entirely) the number of organisms the kids receive. The organisms can live for years in the soil and surrounding environment.

The appearance of the disease is affected by the dosage (concentration and amount) of bacteria ingested, the age of the kid, and the genetic make-up of the animal. If a kid receives a high dose at an early age, the kid will most likely begin shedding the disease in its feces and showing clinical signs of infection at an earlier age than a kid who received a low dose of the bacteria. Some goats are carriers and never show clinical signs of the illness. There seems to be an age-related resistance to Johne’s Disease, but older goats can become infected, particularly in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions.

Generally speaking, overt signs of infection begin to show after many years of shedding the bacteria, particularly if the animals are managed well, with good nutrition, clean conditions, no overcrowding, and minimal stress in their lives. Once it is evident that infection is present, the Johnes-infected goats usually live less than one year and ultimately die from their inability to absorb nutrients from their intestinal tracts.

The timeline roughly runs from birth to age one, no signs whatsoever; from age two to four, goats may begin to show signs of some weight loss but have no decrease in appetite until the disease becomes full-blown; and goats over age four who are heavily-loaded with the bacteria begin to look wasted. The mid-stage, from approximately age two to four, is the really dangerous time, because those goats look reasonably well but are shedding the bacteria like crazy.

There are three commonly available tests for diagnosing Johne’s Disease. Culturing fecal matter to detect the organism is the most accurate, but the bacteria grows slowly and the test takes six weeks to four months to complete. If the animal being tested is not shedding the organism in its feces, it can test negative even though it may really be infected. Repeat testing on suspect goats is essential.

The AGID (Agar-Gel Immune Diffusion) and the ELISA (Enzyme-Linked Immuosorbent Assay) Tests detect antibodies and are done on blood samples. Each test has its own shortcomings. The AGID Test should be used on individual animals; there are few to no false positives. The ELIZA Test is reasonably accurate but can cross react with the bacteria that causes Caseous Lymphadenitis (CL) and give a false positive. None of these tests are 100% accurate. The ELISA Test works best as a herd-screening tool. Because antibodies appear relatively late in the disease, antibody tests in general have poor sensitivity. The ELISA Test is more sensitive, while the AGID Test is more specific, showing fewer false positives in goats which are truly negative.

The advantage of using the fecal culture method is that false positives rarely occur and you find out which goats are shedding the organism on your premises. It also tells other important information, such as how much of the organism is being shed. The fecal test is 40-45% accurate in light shedders; in heavy shedders, it is 95-98% accurate.

Think of the disease as a pyramid. For every animal which tests positive, there are probably 10 animals who are infected, actively shedding, and not showing symptoms. This does not apply if an infected animal is brought into a clean, closed herd, unless the circumstance is not discovered and properly managed. Then it takes some time for this pyramid to build up, but it will occur.

There is no cure for this disease, there is nothing that can be put into the soil and the surrounding environment to kill the bacteria, and the only vaccine available is used in Norway and Iceland. The vaccine is not and will not be available in the United States because it cross-reacts with tuberculosis (TB) tests.

Managing fecal-to-oral transmission is the key to controlling Johne’s Disease. Raise all feeders. Use a footbath from pen to pen. Keep manure from contact with kids. When moving feed troughs, pitchforks, water containers, and shovels from pen to pen, wash and bleach them thoroughly first. “All manure is suspect.”

The good news is that Johne’s Disease is not believed to be transmittable from goats to people but this has not yet been established scientifically. Much of the literature used in the preparation of this article was furnished by Bob Glass, President of Pan American Vet Labs, in Hutto, Texas (near Austin). Pan American tests for CAE and CL, in addition to providing Johne’s testing. Contact him at 1-800-856-9655 for further information or email bglass@pavlab.com.

Suzanne W. Gasparotto (Article updated July 10, 2010)
HC 70 Box 70
Lohn, Texas 76852
phone 325/344-5775
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Pinkeye in goats and Pinkeye in cattle are not the same illness, and vaccines to prevent Pinkeye in other species do not work with goats. Pinkeye in goats may be caused by several different agents even though the symptoms are similar. Pinkeye can be the result of infectious or non-infectious organisms. Since infectious Pinkeye is also contagious and is most commonly the type that goat producers encounter, this article will focus on it.

Non-infectious Pinkeye can occur in individual animals as a result of over-exposure to very bright sunlight, dusty hay, or blowing dust. Treatment is similar to that used in medicating infectious Pinkeye and will be discussed later in this article.

Infectious Pinkeye can be caused by viruses or bacteria and is medically termed infectious keratoconjunctivitis.

Pinkeye can be brought on by stress . . . stress from moving/transporting the goat, stress resulting from improper nutrition, stress caused by severe weather or dramatic weather changes, or stress arising from an underlying illness (abortion, pneumonia) . Stress reduces the immune system’s ability to suppress the outbreak of Pinkeye. Do not underestimate stress induced through improper feeding. A poorly-fed goat is a goat on the verge of illness.

Flies do a great job of transmitting Pinkeye from goat to goat, so keeping the fly population down is important. Shows and sales are ideal places for goats to pick up infectious Pinkeye. The viral mechanism that causes the abortion disease Chlamydia often begins with Pinkeye. Sometimes the first recognizable sign of an impending abortion is Pinkeye. Certain types of Pinkeye, particularly Chlamydia-induced infections, tend to be chronic (recurring) because the goat becomes a carrier — able to infect others and have repeated bouts of the disease itself.

Pinkeye can be a serious illness in a goat. Early signs of Pinkeye include runny, red, and swollen eyes. The cornea, the clear covering over the iris (the dark part of the eye), becomes hazy and then turns opaque (clouds over). The goat begins to lose its eyesight. If left untreated, blindness can occur. If corneal ulcers appear and perforate, the infection can travel to the brain and kill the goat. The eye can also rupture, sink into the eye socket, and infection can travel throughout the goat’s body. If prompt treatment doesn’t take place (in the latter case, removal of the eyeball and suturing the socket closed), the goat can die.

Some people insist that nothing successfully cures Pinkeye and that the disease has to run its course. This statement may have some degree of truth to it. However, producers can control Pinkeye and minimize its damage to infected animals by following the recommendations outlined below.

Remove the goat from its herd and put it in a clean, cool, dry, shady location out of direct sunlight. Sunlight aggravates Pinkeye and delays healing. Make sure the pen is small but well ventilated; if the goat has lost or is losing its eyesight, it needs to be able to learn its boundaries quickly so it can locate feed, water, and shelter. Keep a small jar of generic Listerine mouthwash in your medical kit. Put on disposable gloves, wet a paper towel in the mouthwash, and wash the goat’s “tears” away. This “weeping” of the eye is the primary method of transferring Pinkeye from one goat to another, so clean the goat’s face below the eye with generic mouthwash.

Injectable oxytetracycline 200 mg/ml (LA200 or equivalent) should be used sub-cutaneously (SQ) in addition to topical eye ointments. Dose oxytetracycline 200 mg/ml at 5 cc per 100 pounds bodyweight and inject SQ over the ribs with an 18 gauge needle for five consecutive days. If a chlamydia-caused abortion is occurring, injectable oxytetracycline 200 mg/ml must be used to try to stop the abortion. The potential for interfering with a fetus’ bone development in utero by using oxytetracycline 200 mg/ml is minimal and far outweighed by the benefits of the drug.

The best treatment for eyes that have not ulcerated is to use Gentocin spray (vet prescription). The producer can make his own spray by purchasing gentamycin sulfate 100 mg/ml, sterile water, and dexamethasone from a veterinarian and mixing in three equal parts. Spray the affected eye twice a day for a minimum of three consecutive days. Note: Do not use this steroid compound on ulcerated eyes (see below). Powders and aerosols, while effective, are irritating to the eye, particularly if ulceration has occurred. Therefore, powders and aerosols are not recommended.

If the eye has ulcerated (the covering over the iris – the colored part of the eye – appears to have risen outward from the surface of the eyeball), Neomycin and Polymyxin B Sulfates and Bacitracin Zinc Opthalmic Ointment (Triple Antibiotic Opthalmic Ointment) is the required medication. Although a long name, this is a single medication available through your veterinarian. Buy several tubes and keep them on hand; the tubes contain only 1/4 ounce. This is not the triple antibiotic ointment available over the counter in drugstores. Triple Antibiotic Opthalmic Ointment is not an item that every vet keeps in stock, so maintain a supply in your emergency inventory. Terramycin Opthalmic Ointment, available without prescription, is an alternative product. Opthalmic ointments are relatively expensive, but there is no substitute for them. Apply this ointment a minimum of twice a day until the goat can see and the cloudiness/ulceration is gone. The goat may lose its eyesight completely for a period of time, but if properly treated (even if ulceration has occurred), sight will usually return, albeit sometimes only partially. It is not unusual for a white smudge of a scar to remain on the eyeball after the ulceration has healed.

Permanent sight loss may l occur if steriod opthalmic medications are used on ulcerated eyes. Do not use steroid products such as Gentocin Durafilm (cortico-steroids) or any medication containing dexamethazone on an ulcerated eye. Blood vessels must begin to grow back into the eye for healing to occur and sight to return, and steroids will interfere with blood-vessel regeneration. Further, if the organism causing the Pinkeye is viral, steroids make the illness worse fast.

While early stages of eye ulceration are not visible to the goat producer, a badly ulcerated eye can be diagnosed easily: a portion of the colored part of the eye (iris) looks like it is sticking out of the eyeball on a stem, preventing the goat from fully closing its eye. Ulcerated eyes may rupture and collapse into the eye socket or infection may travel to the goat’s brain. If left untreated under such conditions, the goat can die. To prevent this from happening, any goat with a suspected ulcerated eye should be taken to a vet. The vet can put a vegetable-based stain in the goat’s eye that glows in the presence of cobalt blue light to determine the extent of damage that the ulcer has caused. This is a simple test involving touching the white of the eye above the iris with an over-sized Q-tip that has been saturated with a special stain. This procedure is preferable to culturing the organism, because it is quicker and less expensive.

The vet can perform a Tarsorrhaphy by injecting the eyelid with a local anesthetic and sewing the third eyelid shut; at the same time the vet may inject a mild antibiotic directly into the eyelid. The third eyelid in a goat has a gland which provides some immunological protection and helps increase the blood supply to the eye. Stints (small pipettes through which sutures will be threaded) and dissolvable sutures will be used to hold the eye closed for about two weeks, allowing the eye to stay moist and healing to take place. The stints used to hold the eyelids together can easily be cut loose from the eyelid with a small pair of fingernail scissors after the sutures have dissolved.

Severe cases of infectious Pinkeye may result in partial or complete loss of sight and visible scarring of the eye. Pinkeye lasts anywhere from ten days to many weeks. While Pinkeye may well have to “run its course,” damage to the goat can be greatly reduced by following this recommended treatment. Blind goats are obviously a liability to the goat producer.

Non-infectious Pinkeye generally falls into three categories: (1) Abrasions caused by outside irritants such as blowing dust or by the Listeriosis organism; (2) Vitamin A deficiency; or (3) Toxins, such as locoweed poisoning (“Dry Eye”) or fire ant stings. Topical opthalmic ointments cited above are used to treat these conditions; in the cases of Listeriosis and Vitamin A deficiency, the underlying problem must also be cured.

Pinkeye negatively affects the productivity of a herd. Do not underestimate the impact of Pinkeye on goat health and institute treatment quickly to curb the damages.

Suzanne W. Gasparotto
Onion Creek Ranch 2009
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Although pneumonia is a year-round killer of both kid and adult goats, summertime is prime time. Regardless of season, dramatic changes in temperature and climatic conditions — such as wet weather coupled with high daytime temperatures, heavy humidity, and much lower nighttime temperatures — may result in pneumonia. Kids in particular have trouble controlling their body temperatures and pneumonia can occur. Pneumonia is not just a cold-weather illness.

The most easily recognizable form of pneumonia usually has as one of its symptoms a nasal discharge of yellowish (not white or clear) mucous and is sometimes but not always accompanied by heavy, labored breathing. Elevated body temperature above the normal 101.5*F to 103.5*F range indicates infection.

White or clear nasal discharge is usually (but not always) allergy-related, but if above-normal body temperature is present, then infection or inflammation exists and must be treated. A good rule-of-thumb is to use antibiotics only when fever or inflammation is involved. (See exception below regarding Interstitial Pneumonia) Overusing antibiotics decreases their effectiveness when they are really needed because the goat’s body builds up a resistance to repeated use. The ineffectiveness of penicillin with certain illnesses is an example of antibiotic overuse.

The first step in determining appropriate treatment is to take the sick goat’s rectal temperature. Body temperature tells the producer which way to proceed treatment-wise. Fever indicates infection or inflammation. Example: A newborn with “weak-kid syndrome” will have sub-normal body temperature that requires a different treatment regimen from a kid running a fever caused by e.Coli or other bacteria. Without taking rectal temperature, the breeder might misinterpret visual symptoms, wrongly diagnose the cause of the problem, and medicate the goat incorrectly. The animal would probably die from being improperly treated. See this writer’s article entitled Diagnosing Illnesses in Goats on the Articles page at http://www.tennesseemeatgoats.com.

The most most difficult to detect and quickest-to-kill type of pneumonia is Interstitial Pneumonia. Death can occur in 12 hours or less. Example: At night the goat appears healthy, but in the morning it is down and dying. No runny nose and no fever — . just a goat that is off-feed, may or may not occasionally cough, and standing away from the herd because fluids are building up in the lungs (not sitting or laying down, unless it is already at death’s door), but may not appear to be seriously ill. The only clear diagnostic symptom is high fever and it may not be present when you discover the sick goat. High fever peaks quickly and then body temperature rapidly drops below normal, misleading the producer into diagnosing the problem as ruminal. Sub-normal body temperature is often a sign of ruminal problems. Temperatures under 100*F should be considered critical, regardless of the cause of the illness.

If high fever is present, it must be brought down quickly or the goat is going to die; fever-reducing medication and appropriate antibiotic therapy must be started immediately. If fever is not present but all other symptoms indicate pneumonia, antibiotic treatment is also essential. (This is an exception to the “no antibiotic usage if fever is not present” rule.) If the illness has progressed far enough, the goat will try to sit down, moan with discomfort, and immediately stand up — because fluid has begun to accumulate in the lungs and abdomen and the kidneys are shutting down. A goat in this condition probably cannot be saved but the producer should try until efforts prove either successful or futile. The genetic strength of the goat plays a big role in its ability to survive. A goat that wants to live can overcome amazing obstacles. However, once the lungs fill with fluids, survival is unlikely.

Banamine or generic equivalent (veterinary prescription) is an anti-inflammatory drug that lowers fever-induced high body temperature. Banamine may be used once every 12 hours for several days but normally no more frequently, because it can cause stomach ulcers. Common sense dictates that if nothing else is available to drop the fever into normal range and the goat is likely to die, use Banamine more frequently. If it is a valuable breeding animal, a goat with stomach ulcers is better than a dead goat. Administer Banamine intramuscularly (IM) based on 1cc per 100 lbs. body weight. A newborn kid (depending upon breed and weight) should receive 1/10th to 2/10th’s of a cc (one-tenth to two-tenth’s of a cc) of Banamine. If Banamine is not available, baby aspirin can be used. Treat kids with 1/4 to 1/2 baby aspirin and adults with at least one baby aspirin. A reasonable aspirin dosage would be to compare the weight of the goat to a human being and medicate accordingly. Do not use other pain relievers, such as Advil, Aleve, Tylenol, etc. — only baby aspirin.

Producers should keep a supply of prescription medications on hand for emergencies. Nuflor and Excenel RTU are excellent antibiotics for respiratory illnesses and do not require refrigeration. Being relatively thick liquids, Nuflor and Excenel RTU must be administered through an 18-gauge needle and into the muscle (IM) to get into the bloodstream quickly. Use a luer-lock syringe so that the the needle does not blow off the syringe when injecting. For maximum benefit in goats, Nuflor should be injected daily for five consecutive days at a dosage of 3 cc’s per 100 pounds bodyweight. Minimum dosage for a newborn kid is 1/2 cc. Nuflor is my antibiotic of choice for adult goats with respiratory illnesses.

Excenel RTU is a ready-to-use shelf-stable form of Naxcel that requires no mixing and no refrigeration. These advantages make it more convenient to use and store than Naxcel. Excenel RTU is dosed at 3 cc’s per 100 pounds bodyweight for five consecutive days and should be given IM (into the muscle) through an 18-gauge needle. During the first 24 hours, two injections 12 hours apart are required, then daily for the next four days. I prefer Excenel RTU when dosing kids, but Nuflor is an acceptable alternative choice. Minimum dosage for a newborn is 1/2 cc.

Naxcel is a good antibiotic but is limited convenience-wise by (a) the requirement that it be kept refrigerated, and (b) the need to mix and use the entire bottle within seven days or freeze remaining dosages in individual syringes. Naxcel must be given to goats in dosages stronger than indicated on the label. A newborn kid must receive at least 1/2 cc per day for five consecutive days to be effective. A one-hundred pound goat needs three to four cc’s per dosage. As with all other injectable medications, never give more than six (6) cc’s per injection site to prevent tissue damage. If necessary, split the dosage, giving half into one location and the remaining amount into another injection site.

Never stop administering antibiotics before the prescribed treatment period is complete, even if the animal is looking better. Relapses are likely. Consult your goat veterinarian, establish a working relationship, and use these medications under vet supervision.

If access to prescription antibiotics is not available, then the producer will have to use over-the-counter Tylan 200 (not Tylan 50), penicillin, or oxytetracycline 200 mg/ml (LA200 or generic equivalent). With Tylan 200, use 4 cc per 100 pounds body weight for five consecutive days. Administer this thick liquid (Tylan 200) with an 18 gauge needle on a luer-lock syringe and inject into the muscle. Penicillin, which is also a thick liquid, should be dosed at 5 cc’s per 100 pounds body weight for five consecutive days; use a luer-lock syringe with an 18-gauge needle and inject SQ over the ribs.

If the producer has no antibiotic other than oxytetracycline 200 mg/ml (LA 200 or equivalent), use it in an emergency and acquire appropriate medications for future use. Previous concern about possible malformation or discoloration of teeth and bones in utero and in young kids has been overstated; oxytetracycline is the antibiotic of choice in treating abortion diseases and foot rot/scald.

Nuflor and Excenel RTU are far superior to over-the-counter products for treating pneumonia and are worth the extra expense.

Chest congestion can be relieved by giving an expectorant/antihistamine/decongestant orally to the sick goat twice daily at a dosage of approximately six cc’s per 100 pounds bodyweight.Children’s antihistamine/decongestant/expectorant syrups (Robitussin is an example) may have to be used since Expecthist is no longer available. Relieving chest congestion is very important in terms of a goat’s surviving pneumonia. Don’t discount the importance of these oral medications.

Keep the sick goat in a shaded, dry, free-from-draft location with plenty of fresh water, electrolytes, free-choice grass hay, and — if possible — green leaves. No sacked feed. If the animal is not drinking water, oral drenching with electrolytes (Bounce Back or ReSorb) will be needed to keep it hydrated. If pneumonia is diagnosed and treated early, the goat might continue eating while ill. If dehydration is severe, sub-cutaneous (SQ) delivery of Lactated Ringers Solution (vet prescription) is necessary in kids. SQ administration of Lactated Ringers Solution in adults is not a realistic option because of the volume required to rehydrate the goat. Stomach tube electrolytes into a sick adult goat in order to get sufficient fluids into it. A 100 pound goat needs one gallon of fluids over 24 hours for good rumen function. Refer to my articles about (a) dehydration and (b) how to stomach tube a sick goat on the Articles page at http://www.tennesseemeatgoats.com.

Never forget the beneficial effect of green leaves — its natural food — on a sick goat. Oak, elm, and hackberry are favorites. Fresh green leaves have a positive effect on a sick goat by providing nourishment that is easily digestible. Never try to feed grain concentrates to a sick goat. The rumen is *off* and cannot properly digest them.

Follow up all antibiotic treatments with oral ruminant gel, but use them after the antibiotic regimen has been completed. Live bacteria are necessary for proper digestion, and antibiotics destroy “good” bacteria as they work to kill the “bad” bacteria that made the goat sick. Jeffers livestock supply in Alabama (1-800-533-3377) carries a variety of suitable probiotics.

Colorado Serum makes a pneumonia vaccine which I use with my goats. While no vaccine is 100% effective, this one is safe and inexpensive and I encourage goat producers to use it. Each goat gets 2 cc’s SQ thirty days apart in the first year, then an annual booster each year thereafter. Jeffers carries it; call 1-800-533-3377.

Goats raised on forage/browse or under free-range conditions are less likely to have as many health problems as goats raised under intense management. Sound practices that include good shelter during bad weather, clean pens, fresh water, grass hay, and no overcrowding go a long way towards reducing many goat health problems. Producers who must raise goats under less-than-ideal conditions must be aware of these facts and be prepared.

Suzanne W. Gasparotto (Updated 7/10/10)
HC 70 Box 70
Lohn, Texas 76852
email: onioncreek@tennesseemeatgoats.com
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There are more diseases that you can research but these are some that goats have issues with and really need to be addressed and you need to be able to know what to do for your animal. Please keep up with the latest news and research as new information comes avaliable. Keep up with reliable resources and stay on top of things.
Now as far as medications. There are some that I will not be caught dead without. One is your vaccine. Make sure you have a good vaccine for what you need. Also if there is a antitoxin. Earlier in this article I stated the difference between the two. I always have a good antibiotic on hand. Penicillin is good for some things but Oxytetracycline may be good for others. Dont let the name brands fool you it is the ingredients you are looking for. Alot of goat supply stores carry the same ingredient its just sold under different names. Check all your goat supply places out and compare prices. A few trusted companies are Jeffers Pet, Valley Vet, Caprine Supply, and Hoegger Goat Supply.
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Here is a great supply list I recommend.

Every goat breeder should have the following supplies on hand before the need for them occurs. In an emergency situation, you won’t be able to get them in time. Some of the items serve similar purposes; in such situations, choose the products readily available to you

The over-the-counter items listed in the first section below may be purchased from specialty mail-order houses such as Register Distributing (goatsupplies.netfirms.com or 1-888-310-9606) or Jeffers (1-800-JEFFERS). A few of these items are available at Tractor Supply Company. Freight charges, except for heavy items, will be waived by some suppliers with a minimum level of purchase. Check prices; some companies match other vendors’ prices.

Some of the products require refrigeration, others should be refrigerated in warm/hot climates, some must be prevented from freezing at high temperatures, and all should be kept out of heat and out of direct sunlight. Each category of items is alphabetized.

* Best if kept refrigerated
# Do not allow to freeze; freezes at high temperatures
**Must be kept refrigerated



#10 Single-Use Disposable Scalpel

Lancing abscesses; minor surgery

60 cc Syringes (2 or 3)

Sub-cutaneous re-hydration

7% Strong Tincture of Iodine

Wound antiseptic; dipping newborn navel cords

Acid Pack (special order)

Urinary Calculi

Adult stomach tube ( OCR’s article on how to make)

Tube feeding adult goats

All-Weather Paint Stik

Animal marking – washable


Water-resistant aerosol bandage

Bag Balm

Abrasions on udders

Betadine Solution

Pre-surgery cleansing/disinfecting

Betadine Surgical Scrub

Germicidal antiseptic cleanser

Blood Stop Powder

Stop rapid blood flow

C&D Anti-Toxin ** #

Overeating disease – immediate, short-term


Hypocalcemia (“milk fever”)

Dextrose 50%

Ketosis in does; quick energy for newborns & sick adults

Disposable Needles

22 gauge by 3/4″ for injections

Disposable Syringes 1 cc, 3 cc, 6 cc, 12 cc (Luer Lock & Luer Slip)

(1 cc = 1 ml) 18g by 1″ for drawing thick meds 22g for routine shots, 25g for injecting-Formalin into CL abscesses


Medical solvent

Dr. Naylor’s Hoof n Heel

Hoof rot/hoof scald

Entrolyte (NOT Entrolyte HE)

Nutrient powder 13%+ protein

Essential 3+T (Colorado Serum) ** #

Overeating disease/tetanus – long-term

Ferrodex 100 injectable iron


Formalin (special order)

CL abscesses; hoof rot/scald

Fortified Vit B Complex

Stress of any kind

Fungisan Spray


Furazolidone spray (Furox, Furall)

Anti-bacterial spray for wounds

Goat ADE (special order)

Weak kids & ketotic does; vitamin/mineral supplement

Goat Ear Tag, tagger, extra pin

Permanent identification

GoatGuard/Synguard Probiotic ** (special order)

Repopulate gut with live bacteria

Heat Lamp Reflector w/ Guard & Clamp

Use with weak or sick kids

Hoof trimmers & hoof rasp

Trimming hooves

Ivomec 1% injectable

Dewormer (use orally)


Detecting ketosis in pregnant does

Kid milk replacer – Springbriar (special order)

No-soy milk replacer

Kid Puller

Difficult kid delivery


Hoof rot/hoof scald

Lambar Feeding Outfit

Multiple kid milk feeding

Latex Disposable Exam Gloves

Handling infectious matter


Iron supplement (oral) for anemia

Nasalgen IP

Respiratory vaccine – short term during shipping

Neomycin sulfate (Biosol)

Diarrhea – infectious

Nolvasan CapTabs

Uterine infections

Oxytetracycline (LA-200 or equivalent)

Antibiotic – broad spectrum

Pill pusher

Pushing pills to back of mouth

Pneumonia Vaccine (Colorado Serum) **

Pneumonia prevention – long term

Poly Neck Chains & Connecting Links

Animal identification (adult)

PolySerum/BoviSera injectable

Immune system booster

Powdered colostrum replacer (NOT “supplement”)

First milk if doe isn’t lactating

Prichard teats

Nipples for bottle babies

Privasan ointment

Topical antiseptic

Procaine Penicillin (300,000 IU)**

Antibiotic- broad spectrum

Propylene Glycol #

Ketosis in does

Red Cell oral liquid


Re-Sorb or equivalent

Oral rehydration electrolytes

Shoulder-length OB Gloves

Pulling kids during difficult births

Spectam Scour-Halt

Diarrhea (Scours)


Checking heart & breathing rates

Sulfadimethoxine 12.5% or (Di-Methox) Albon


Synergized De-Lice or equivalent

Lice control & eradication

Terramycin eye ointment

Pinkeye & other eye infections

Tetanus Anti-Toxin **

Tetanus – immediate, short-term protection

ToDay (cephapirin sodium)

Mastitis in lactating does

ToMorrow (cephapirin benzathine)

Drying up lactating does

Toxiban activated charcoal suspension


Trap ‘n Toss Disposable Fly Traps

Fly control


Respiratory antibiotic

Valbazen Oral Drench * (not for pregnant does)


Vet Wrap (bright colors)

Wounds, injuries


Tissue adhesive liquid

Vitamin A+D+E Injectable *

Weak legs in newborns


Hoof rot vaccine

Weak Kid Syringe and stomach tube

Tube feeding newborn & very young kids

Weight scale

Weighing newborns & young goats

Zinc Sulphate

Foot bath for hoof rot/hoof scald

Purchase the following items (or generic equivalent) at your local discount store or co-op:



1% Chlotrimazole Cream


5% Sevin Dust

Flies & lice on kids & pregnant does

70% Isopropyl Alcohol

200 Watt Light Bulbs (not infrared)

Heat lamps for young kids

Agricultural Lime (powdered)

Ground disinfectant

Amdro Fire Ant Killer

Baby Aspirin, coated

Fever or pain relief

Benadryl liquid

Antihistamine for allergic reactions

Black oil sunflower seeds

Fatty feed additive for older goats; improves milk production in lactating does needing help

Black pepper – coarse ground

Topical treatment of “heat rash”; clots blood on wounds


Cotton Balls

Diatomaceous Earth

Ground disinfectant; external parasites

Distilled Water

Fly traps – mix with attractant

Duct Tape

Ear Syringe

Fleet’s Enemas (infant & adult sizes)

Constipation; prolapsed vagina in newborn females

Gentian Violet


Hydrogen Peroxide

Topical cleansing of wounds

Karo syrup or molasses

Quick energy for weak kids & sick adults

KY jelly or generic equivalent

Lubrication for kid delivery

Milk of Magnesia

Bloat, overeating, ruminal acidosis, toxicity

Pepto Bismol

Rumen distress

Petroleum Jelly


Leg splints


Rectal Thermometer, digital

Self-Sticking Elastic Tape

Surgical tape

Tagamet HB-200

Upset rumen, scouring, coccidia, ruminal acidosis

Towels – Cloth & Paper

Triple Antibiotic Cream

Wasp Spray

Collect the following:



1/2″ to 1″ PVC Pipe (light weight)

Duct tape to goat’s horns to prevent hanging horns in fences

Empty 16oz to 24 oz soda-water bottles

Bottle feeding – Pritchard teat screws on top

Empty permanent solution bottles

Applying Synergized Delice

PVC pipe (8 inches long) and funnel

Use with adult goat stomach tube



Banamine (FluMeglumine injectable liquid) *

Soreness from injuries; gut irritation; fever

Baytril 100 (tablets & injectable liquid)

Antibiotic – broad spectrum, heavy duty

BoSe (NOT MuSe)

Selenium deficiency

Dexamethazone 2mg/ml (liquid injectable)

Induces labor contractions; anti-inflammatory

Dopram injectable

respiratory stimulant to be dropped under tongue of newborn if it is under respiratory distress


Shock prevention

Excenel RTU (injectable liquid)

Antibiotic – respiratory and urinary tract infections

Gentamycin sulfate

Antibiotic – injectable

Gentocin spray


Lactated Ringers Solution *



Inducing labor; terminating pregnancy

MineralMax (MinMax) injectable

Mineral deficiencies

Nuflor (injectable liquid) *

Antibiotic – respiratory and systemic mastitis

Oxytocin (injectable liquid) *

Expelling afterbirth

Primor (tablets)

Antibiotic – coccidia & ruminal distress

Rally 200 injectable

Antihistamine for toxic reactions

Sterile water

Hydrating certain medications

Sulfamethoxazole with Trimethoprim

Antibiotic – intestinal distress

Thiamine (Vitamin B 1)


Triple Antibiotic Opthalmic Ointment


Trypzyme – V (spray)

Sloughs dead tissue

Vitamin B-12 (liquid injectable)

Anemia; general weakness

* Best if kept refrigerated
# Do not allow to freeze; freezes at high temperatures
**Must be kept refrigerated

That didnt come out in chart form like I wanted but the Item is listed then underneath the purpose is indicated.

SPECIAL ORDERS: Acid Pak, GoatGuard Probiotic Paste and GoatADE from Register Distributing at 1-888-310-9606 or http://www.goatsupplies.com, or Acid Pack from Paulette Wohnoutka at 1-417-754-8135; Formalin: VetServUSA at 1-800-421-0026.

Do not use any of the above items without a veterinary prescription and vet supervision. NOTE: Many of these items are off-label/extra-label and some of them are specifically *not* approved for usage in food animals in certain jurisdictions. There are very few products approved for goats, so using them “off-label” puts producers in the position of technically violating a regulation, rule, or law. If you want your goats to survive and thrive, you have to decide your course of action because sometimes these products are needed to keep them alive and well. Suzanne W. Gasparotto and Onion Creek Ranch accept no responsibility for the outcome of using these products by producers. Each producer must consult his goat veterinarian for advice and recommendations on usage of approved, controlled, off-label/extra-label, or restricted medications.

Have as many of these products on hand as you as a producer are comfortable with. Designate a working refrigerator for your goat supplies. Set up a workspace. Label everything properly. Watch expiration dates.

I have excluded castration and disbudding information; I don’t do either. Information on tattooing and micro-chipping are also not provided herein.

This list is a worst-case scenario. You should be ready for just about anything if you obtain these items now. I’m not a vet nor do I represent myself to be a vet or an expert on goats, but e-mail or call if you need help, and I’ll do my best to assist you by telling you what I would do under the circumstances you describe to me if the goat was in my herd and my care.

Now for the Importance of Copper in your goat:

Some of these articles are very scientific so just hang in there with me if you can. I want you to get as much information as you can possibly get.

This section is going to be pretty lengthy because it covers the importance of copper in a goats diet and how it can help manage your goats health and condition and resistance to illnesses and parasites.

Now I’m going to try to share some info that may be hard to understand at first but I will print more than one article of how people have explained this practice. I am incorporating this into my management program as well.

It is called Copper Bolusing (I may not have spelled it correctly). It is used in cattle but it can be used in goats and sheep as well. It is where you give a goat a Copper Bolusus with a pill gun. Now there are other ways you can give it to them so use your imagination if you don’t want to give a pill. I know they already get copper in their feed and minerals, but it is Copper Sulfate which is a different form that what the pills are. The pills are Copper Oxide. Some of our feed and minerals have alot of iron which inhibits the absorption of copper like copper sulfate. Copper oxide is not hindered by iron so there fore it is absorbed better and stays longer in the body because it is slow releasing. There is no danger of Copper toxicity if used correctly. It is recommended to use twice a year. Once in spring and once in fall. I have seen pics and read of so many good results of this practice that Ill leave you with some articles from different people so you can see their opinions, research and results.

This has also been researched and proven by many universities and other farms to help cut down on parasites as well as they will explain. Keep in mind they do say that goats will always have a parasite count in them because hey are browsers and eat off the ground too, and it helps them build up some sort of immunity to them. It does not completely rid them of all parasites but it sure cuts down on them and slows them down to where you don’t have to worm as often. Not only that look at all the other health benefits of copper.

You can also Google Copper Oxide Wire Particles and pull up many websites with this info alot have pdf formats where you can save to your computer.


This article is from Veterinary Parasitology journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/vetpar type in key word Copper Oxide Wire Particles and you can pull up a pdf format you can save to your computer.

1. Introduction:
Infection with gastrointestinal nematodes (GIN), primarily
Haemonchus contortus, a blood-feeder that can cause severe anemia in infected animals, is the primary constraint to profitable sheep and goat production where this parasite is endemic, including the southeastern USA.
Broad-spectrum drugs have been the basis of control strategies in the past, but these drugs now have reduced efficacy due to widespread development of anthelmintic resistance in sheep and goat GIN. Alternative GIN control methods are urgently needed to sustain small ruminant industries in the USA. One of these is treatment with copper oxide wire particles (COWP). These are commercially available in 25 g boluses (Copasure; Animax
Veterinary Technology, UK) that can be repacked into 2 g gel capsules for sheep and goats. The capsule is administered into the animalsrquote abomasum by inserting at the back of the throat using a pill gun.
A number of experiments with sheep has shown high efficacy of COWP against H. contortus, particularly in young animals. Results from a small number of COWP trials with GIN-infected goats have been reported, but often with apparent lower efficacy results than with sheep trials. These trials have been conducted in locations with differing GIN populations. To date, no direct comparison of COWP efficacy has been made between
sheep and goats grazing together and subjected to infection by the same GIN population. Therefore, a study was designed to test efficacy of 2 g COWP in gel capsules against GIN in sheep and goats grazing the same pasture area at the Fort Valley State University Agricultural Research Station in Central Georgia in the southern US.
2. Materials and methods. 2.1. Animal welfare.
All animal procedures used in this study were approved by the Fort Valley State University Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee.
2.2. Experimental design and protocol.
A grazing study with young goat bucks (Kiko Spanish cross, 6 months old; n = 12) and female lambs (Katahdin or Dorper Blackface crosses, 5 months old; n = 12) was completed at the Fort Valley State University Agricultural
Research Station, Fort Valley, Georgia, during August and September, 2007. Prior to starting the trial, the goats acquired a natural GIN infection by grazing perennial summer grass pasture {primarily bermudagrass [(Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers)], and bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum Flugge)} for approximately 4 months. Fecal samples were
collected weekly from individual animals to monitor fecal egg counts (FEC). When FEC were sufficiently high (approximately 3000 and 1500 for lambs and kids, respectively), the lambs and kids were randomly assigned
to 1 of 2 treatment groups such that both lamb and kid groups had similar total eggs per gram (EPG). The treatments consisted of: (1) 2 g of COWP in a gel capsule administered per os using a pill gun, and (2) no COWP.
After treatment, all the animals were grazed together on the same pastures as described previously, for 28 days, after which half the animals in each treatment group were randomly selected and removed from the grazing area for slaughter. The remaining animals were allowed to continue
grazing for an additional 14 days, after which the trial was terminated.
2.3. Sampling procedures and analysis.Throughout the grazing period after COWP was administered, blood and rectal fecal samples were collected from individual animals weekly for PCV and FEC determination, respectively. All FEC determinations were made on fresh feces. Eggs per gram of feces were counted using a modified McMaster procedure and PCV was determined using a Marathon 6K micro-hematocrit centrifuge and reader.
2.4. Recovery and counting of adult nematodes Adult GIN from abomasum and small intestines were recovered, counted, and identified to species using the procedures described by Shaik et al. (2006). The abomasal and small intestinal contents for each animal were washed into plastic buckets, brought up to 3 L with tap water, vigorously mixed, and then subsampled (2 aliquots of 150 mL each). The adult GIN were preserved by adding 100 mL of 10% buffered formalin solution to each container. The GIN were recovered
from one of the aliquots and counted using a Leica Zoom 2000 phase contrast microscope.
2.5. Statistical analyses:
Fecal egg count and PCV data were analyzed as a repeated measures analysis in a completely randomized design using the mixed model procedure of SAS with treatment, species, and species treatment interaction in the model. Adult GIN data were analyzed as a completely randomized design using the GLM procedure of SAS. The FEC and adult GIN data were log-transformed prior to statistical analysis to normalize the data. When treatment effects were different at P < 0.05, means were separated using LSD test. Fecal egg count and adult GIN data are reported as least squares means of untransformed data, with statistical inferences based upon log-transformed data analysis.
3. Results
3.1. Fecal egg counts
In both sheep and goats, treatment with 2 g of COWP significantly reduced (P < 0.01) FEC compared with control animals during the 28-day trial period (Fig. 1). After 12 days, FEC of COWP-treated sheep and goats were 94.3 and 74.9% lower, respectively, than untreated animals, while these differences were 82.5 and 90.5% for sheep and goats 26 days after treatment. Following the removal of half the animals in each treatment group for slaughter and worm recovery, there were significant treatment (P < 0.01) and species (P < 0.05) differences in FEC in the remaining animals between 28 and 42 days after COWP administration. The FEC of COWP-treated sheep and goats were 87.2 and 83.5% lower than non-treated animals, respectively, by day 42 of the experiment. Throughout the whole trial, the average FEC was higher in sheep than in goats.
3.2. Blood packed cell volume
There were significant treatment (P < 0.01) and species (P < 0.01) effects on blood PCV values (Fig. 2). The animals treated with COWP had higher (P < 0.05) PCV values than controls from days 21 to 42 of the experiment. Sheep had higher (P < 0.01) PCV than goats throughout the study.
3.3. Adult nematodes
Treatment with COWP reduced total H. contortus counts in the abomasum of both sheep (P < 0.05) and goats (P < 0.01), but had no effect on Teladorsagia circumcincta (abomasum) or the small intestinal worm Trichostrongylus colubriformis (Figs. 3 and 4). The reduction in number of
adult H. contortus due to COWP treatment was 67.2 and 85.8% for sheep and goats, respectively. Because the overall worm burden in each species was over 90% H. contortus, there was also a significant reduction in total GIN in both sheep and goats (P < 0.01) due to COWP treatment. These differences were 62.7 and 78.7%, respectively.
4. Discussion
Treatment with 2 g of COWP in a gel capsule effectively reduced GIN burden in both lambs and kids in the current study. Similar results have been observed with young animals in the literature . Burke reported that 2, 4, and 6 g doses of COWP were all highly effective against a predominantly H. contortus infection in 5- 6 months old hair breed lambs. In a follow-up study with lambs, Miller found similar effectiveness using lower COWP doses of 0.5, 1.0, and 1.5 g. Treatment with COWP up to a 4 g dose may be
less effective in mature sheep than in lambs (Burke, although there was no direct comparison made. Previous studies on COWP effectiveness against GIN infection in goats have been variable as well, with better results reported for weaned kids than for more mature animals, although there were fewer H. contortus in the mature goats (Burke et al., 2007b). Doses of COWPfrom 0.5 to 4 g all reduced FEC of weaned Boer Spanish cross kids by 75- 85%, while COWP doses up to 10 g were less effective or not effective against GIN of more mature goats that had more intestinal than abomasal worms. In previous reports, there were no direct comparisons of COWP effectiveness in sheep and goats grazing the same pasture and exposed to the same GIN population. There were species differences in initial FEC and anemia scores in the current study, with higher FEC and PCV values in the
lambs compared with the kids. Sheep can generally tolerate a higher infection rate than goats and still be productive. Despite these differences in infection rate between lambs and kids, COWP appeared to be equally effective as an anti-parasite agent in both species in the current study. The initial reduction in FEC was more pronounced in the lambs, but on a percentage basis, there was not much difference between the two species. In both species, the reduction in FEC in COWP-treated animals compared to untreated controls ranged from 75 to 95% throughout the trial, and this reduction was maintained for 42 days after treatment. Blood PCV was markedly improved by COWP treatment in both the lambs and kids, although there was a slight decline over the course of the trial in lambs, whereas PCV increased by approximately four percentage points in the
kids. The reduction in adult H. contortus numbers in the abomasum of 67.2% for lambs is less than previously reported for lambs given 2- 6 g COWP boluses in a study by Burke, in which the lambs were slaughtered 26 days post-treatment. The longer posttreatment period prior to slaughter in the current study (42 days) may have allowed some reinfection to occur, which might account for these differences. Previous reports on goats given 0endash 10 g of COWP did not include adult nematode data, but 85.8% reduction in H. contortus indicates very good efficacy against this parasite at the 2 g COWP dose level in goats in the current investigation. Generally high efficacy of COWP for both sheep and goats in this study is most likely related to the overall GIN infection in each species being >90% H. contortus.
Because COWP are less effective against T. circumcincta or T. colubriformis than H. contortus , the season of the year when the trial incompleted makes a difference in the results, as T. circumcincta and T. colubriformis are more prevalent in the cooler months of the year. The current investigation was completed in the summer when the predominant infection was H. contortus.
5. Conclusions:
Copper oxide wire particles effectively reduced H. contortus populations in kids and lambs grazing the same pasture and sharing a genetically similar worm population. Treatment with COWP at the 2 g level appears to be a viable option for controlling GIN infection in weanlings for both species when a predominant H. contortus infection is present. Further investigation with mature sheep and goats grazing the same pasture would be needed to compare the difference in the efficacy of COWP between adults of the two species.
Phew I know that was alot to ingest. And there is a whole long list of references too but I want print them just take my word for it….lol

Here is a funnier read. If all her pics dont show up go to her blog at http://noodlevilleadventures.blogspot.com/2012/01/noodleville-how-to-copper-bolusing.html She is just too funny.

A Noodleville “How To”: Copper Bolusing

I read many great blogs. I sit and read blogs more often than I post on my own.Why? Well, because most of them provide really useful info in an entertaining format. Throw in a healthy dose of life experiences/stories and I m a happy reader. My blog is mostly a place where I jot down various happenings in my life, but rarely do I post actual useable info. Not sure how this is going to go, but I m going to attempt to sporadically post useful How To’s in the future. Do note that I said sporadically this gets me & my sporadic, hectic, unscheduled self off the hook for posting specifics at particular times.

So todays How To is going to be about copper bolusing goats. In advance, Ill forewarn yall that this isnt necessarily the gospel, its not the ONLY way to do things and I wont be getting overly scientific on yall.

Copper has been linked to fertility, parasite resistance, growth, resistance to disease, & general over all health. Most minerals do not provide adequate levels of copper to meet the needs of goats. Copper bolusing is a fantastic way to give a slow release copper supplement.Copper deficiency can show itself in numerous ways. Also, blood samples are not a reliable way to check for copper levels in goats, the best way to check copper levels is by liver biopsy which can be performed during a necropsy (I personally dont know any vets willing to do it on a live goat, but it can be done). Handy for the goat owner to get a view on how things are going with their management. Not so handy for the goat having the necropsy. So, here are a few outward signs of copper deficiency I can show you from my own goats (do keep in mind, these are not the only signs, just sharing a few from my herd). Sabrina came to me looking a bit rough. Her diet had been a mineral block, heavy sweet feeds (covered in molasses, which is high in iron and high iron levels inhibit copper absorption), rationed alfalfa hay, unlimited grass hay and grazing/browse. If you look at her tail tip in this picture shortly after we brought her home you can see she has a fish tail with a bald tail tip and the remaining tail hair resembles a fish tail. Many goats will grow this hair back after proper mineral needs are met and maintained, some wont. Sabrinas has filled in some, though not fully so Im still waiting to see if hers will fill in.

Sabrina 2011. Note the coarse coat & “fish tail”

Next up is this burnt, coppery colored hair tips. No, this is NOT sun bleaching and it was also present on the dark hairs of her legs. Her previous home had loads of trees and shade was plentiful, where as here in the desolate, dry land of Noodle, trees and natural shade are sparse. For a fair comparison, I snapped pictures of her hair almost exactly one year apart so you can look at the difference and can compare winter hair to winter hair (In her before pics which were taken January 2011, she was pregnant & due in 2 months, in her after pics, taken January 2012, she only has 21 days left before her due date). Here we have minimal shade and if anything she spent MORE time in the sun than at her previous home, yet there are no burnt colored hair tips now. Her bald tail tip has filled in some as well, though not fully. The texture of the hair is also greatly improved. A year ago it was course and brittle, now its soft and has a healthy shine to it.

Before Copper. January 2011 Brittle, coarse hair. Discoloration affected all dark hairs
After Copper. January 2012. Hair has no discoloration, it’s sleek, smooth (and covered in hay bits)

I didnt think about it at the time, but I should have taken pictures of her feet. Good grief they were awful!! Her previous home kept her feet trimmed every 2 months, but the overall condition of the hoof material was very poor….. Now her feet are pretty normal and don’t require as much effort to trim properly, nor do they have the tendency to grow misshapen as they did when she first arrived..
Another sign of copper deficiency is a fading out of the coat, or what some folks call “ghosting”. Bleuberry shows deficiency this way. She has no noticeable “fish tail” or burnt hair tips. I can’t give you pictures of her as I shaved her down and don’t have the “before” pics to share…. Just keep in mind, that even within one herd, animals can display deficiencies differently.
To make a copper bolus I rely on the info provided by Joyce Lazzaro at Saanendoah. Her site will give you all the scientific, technical info on her copper studies (plus show you the other signs of copper deficiency not shown here). Fantastic read, great pictures and any goat owner really should take the time to read her information.
First youll need to buy a bottle of Copasure. I buy mine from Jeffers Livestock. These are copper boluses made up for cattle so youll need to break them down into smaller doses for goats. The $40+ may seem steep, but a little goes a long way so this should last you quite a while. I’ll have to double check, but we bolused my mom’s 3 miniature does, my 2 Lamanchas, and the 2 Alpine does & I think we used 3-4 of the boluses total and we typically bolus every 4 months.

Copasure & a calf sized bolus

Using a postal scale, you weigh out the appropriate dose of copper needed for your goat. Repackage the rods into smaller gel capsules. I place the lil’ foam pad from the Copasure container on my scale, zero it out, then pour on the copper rods.

Copper Oxide rods inside a bolus

I buy the smaller gel capsules at the health food store, but recently noticed Jeffer’s is now carrying them, as are several other online vendors. You can buy a variety of sizes but I personally prefer to package all my boluses in one size gel capsule & fill accordingly. I dose according to the data collected by Joyce Lazzaro which is 1 gram per 22lbs.

Next is the tricky part.
Ok, ok, I confess I seem to be the only bolusing challenged person in the whole world!!!!!!!
I was instructed to use the smallest baling gun. I tried that. I got chomped up, spit out boluses. I found it too long, bulky, and thought it did a very poor job of holding the smaller bolus (even with peanut butter!). The goal here is to get the entire bolus swallowed WHOLE. Which means, using the baling gun, you hold open the mouth, put the baling gun as far back as possible. Im not talking just in the mouth. I mean over the back of the tongue and into the throat. Once in position you push the plunger and shoot the bolus, whole, down their throat.
I saw videos. I had helpful folks walk me through the process and give me 10,000 pointers. Yet, while all my goaty friends were swiftly, happily bolusing their goats, I was not. I tried empty horse dewormer tubes still a no go. I gave up, and went for an alternative method. Hiding the rods in treats. Sabrina would swallow an orange slice with a bolus in it with no problem. My miniature doe liked marshmallows. The rest? Not so much they spit, chomped and basically did whatever possible to thwart me with every treat imaginable.
Sadistic lil critters! Then I found my life saver in the form of a $2 piece of plastic.

A bolusing challenged gals best friend!

This Pill Gun (known as the “Buster Pet Piller” from Jeffers) freaking rocks!!!!!
Granted, its not as long as a baling gun, so I have to hold their mouth open wide and get it back there but thats no biggey. This lil pill gun firmly holds the bolus with a rubbery grip end, plus it also holds about 2-3ccs of fluid so when you push the plunger, fluid also comes out to help push that sucker right on down their throat.
Follow up with a treat while saying Nummy, Nummy and youre all done! If you decide to use fluid in the pill gun (I do), make sure you dry the rubber gripper tip before putting the bolus in so it doesn’t slip and to prevent the moisture from breaking down the gel cap prematurely.

Just look at that nifty lil booger hugging my bolus!! Note- I wouldn’t use a capsule bigger than 00 with this gun.

I say Nummy, Nummy in a “sing-song” voice while giving all oral meds to goats & children. I think it helps the process, my kids contradict me.
Now, a few things to keep in mind. In the front, goats only have bottom teeth, no top teeth, instead on top they have a hard dental pad. However, in the back they have both top and bottom teeth that are SHARP! Your dogs molars have nothing on the molars of a goat and I promise you, you do not want to get your fingers caught!
Here is a handy picture showing you the anatomy of a goats mouth. You can see the lower incisors in the front, the gap, then the razor sharp molars in the back.

When bolusing, I straddle the goat, grab from the top and hold firmly in that toothless gap, careful to keep my fingers away from the chomping molars. Tilt the head back, push pill gun up over the tongue and as far back as I can get it, then push the plunger, close their mouth and shove a treat in!! With Bleuberry, I’m not tall enough to straddle her, so I lock her in the milkstand to bolus her. Easy Peasy! So easy in fact, that Clayton, my 8 year old, bolused Casper without a single problem. No spit out boluses, no chomped boluses, and no missing fingers.
Now, there is some debate on whether or not bolusing via treats is as reliable as the traditional baling gun (or pet pill gun) method, Im not getting into all that here. I did the treat method out of desperation, but in all honesty, I prefer the pill gun and giving full, un-chewed boluses. That way I KNOW without a doubt that they received their full dose.
Here is a nifty lil diagram illustrating how the bolus actually works:

How the bolus works. Photo courtesy of Joyce Lazzaro by way of Animax Vet

Now, do keep in mind that copper is just one part in the mineral equation. Depending on your area you may have other deficiencies to worry about. For my area, and my herd, I have best results copper bolusing every 3-4 months, and I also give Bo-Se which is an injectable Vitamin E/Selenium that you can obtain with a vet RX. In addition to this I feed a high quality LOOSE mineral.
Emphasis on LOOSE mineral, as in bagged and similar to coarse sand in texture. Yes, there are mineral blocks available, but have you ever been licked by a goat? If not, come over and Ill set Sabrina on ya.
Goats have very smooth tongues like a dog does which make it a bit more difficult to get all they need simply by licking at the block. Mineral blocks are typically full of cheap salts, so the goat needs to consume more of the block in order to meet its mineral needs. Problem is, the goat is attracted to the mineral block because of the salt and they typically get their fill of salt before theyve come close to consuming the necessary amount of minerals. So all in all, while its a convenient concept, to me, a mineral block is worthless.

There are a variety of loose minerals on the market. Steer clear of Sheep & Goat minerals. Copper is toxic to sheep, while studies have shown that goats need a good bit of it, so a mineral safe for sheep just isnt going to come close to meeting a goats copper needs. I prefer to buy dark, loose minerals grey, brownish ones. The red ones usually contain higher levels of iron and iron inhibits copper absorption. Add in that many of the red minerals have iffy amounts and sources of copper to begin with and its just not worth the money. The best I could find, in my area is Cargill Right Now Onyx, a cattle mineral and the goats seem to do great on it and readily consume it, so Im happy.

My loose mineral of choice. A 50lb bag last FOREVER.

To be truly scientific I even tried a few for comparison…. And yes, by “tried”, I mean I went on a taste testing spree.
I licked a mineral block, a salt block and tried a pinch of the Cargill Right Now Onyx loose mineral. Salt block obviously was the saltiest. That mineral block was almost as salty as the pure salt block, with a hint of earthy undertones and the Right Now Onyx was just gross (or should I say “very earthly”?) I could taste a SLIGHT saltiness, but it was barely there. So given that controlled, uber scientific experiment, I have proven that my loose mineral of choice isnt chock full of cheap, filler salts.
True, I also read the labels as well, but the taste testing, IMO, made the whole thing more legit.

Also, a side note Copper boluses are made of copper OXIDE. I see some folks grabbing bottles of copper SULFATE and just pouring who knows how much into their water troughs, and some who even have fed it via syringe. Do keep in mind that there is such a thing as Too much of a good thing. The copper OXIDE rods in the bolus dissolve slowly over a period of MONTHS in the digestive tract of the goat and when used properly, pose no risk of copper toxicity. The copper sulfate CAN be toxic and it is not a gradual release form of copper supplementation….
Anywho, just look how pretty Sabrina is now!

No coarse hair, no coat discoloration, no more hoof issues

Before her diet was heavily processed sweet feed in huge amounts (4 1/2+lbs of 16% sticky sweet feed per day), browse, a flake of alfalfa hay, mineral block and grass hay free choice. Here we switched it up a bit.
She now gets 17% protein, Standlee alfalfa pellets, good quality coastal & sudan hay, LOOSE minerals and her grain ration is a 12% protein mix of 2 parts whole oats, 1 part Purina Strategy Healthy Edge horse feed (lower protein, high forage content high fat/calcium feed) top dressed with black oil sunflower seeds or rice bran pellets.When milking she consumes no more than 3lbs of grain per day (usually 1lb each milking) and last lactation she milked 14lbs at 2 weeks fresh. Plus she maintains great condition. So, in summary, she actually looks better on LESS feed.

The diet is made up of quality forage (alfalfa & hay), proper minerals and minimal grains. I find many folks will buy the poorest quality hay for goats, when in fact, I find my money better spent when I choose the best quality I can afford. Making the bulk of my herds diet alfalfa and quality hay enables me to have better production, better condition on a lot less of the concentrates (grain/pelleted rations) Not to mention the overall health of the herd is much, much better. Good forages make for a happy, healthy rumen. Proper minerals improve the overall health.

Sabrina’s pregnant belly January 2012. Such a huge difference in overall condition when compared to last year. Kids due January 26th.

Many people think Im nuts after all they are Just goats, they can eat anything but the proof is in the pudding my friends! Which, BTW, not a clue how this got started, but goats do NOT eat anything, nor should it be considered ok to feed them food stuffs unsuitable for other livestock. They are actually picky eaters, preferring browse to grazing and if you watch them at the hay feeder they are constantly picking through it to find the best bite (which is why I feed alfalfa pellets.. They pick through the alfalfa hay, eat the leaves and waste a ton of stems..No waste with my alfalfa pellets). A horse will consume hay spilled on the ground and walked on, a goat won’t unless that’s the only thing available….
Anywho….usually the folks who think I’m nuts and advise me to use outdated methods of poor grass hay, lots of heavy sweet feeds and inadequate minerals are those with scraggly looking goats and they are the ones losing does to hypocalcaemia every kidding season.

No scraggly looking goats here, and my does receive enough calcium from their alfalfa that Ive had no losses & no hypocalcaemia. Providing proper minerals i.e- copper, has also allowed me to deworm less frequently as well…..

Of course, each person has their own methods. I didnt invent this stuff folks. Im blessed to be advised by those who have decades of first hand experience and have been willing to help me out. In turn, Ive tweaked things to suit my herds needs and my budget and all in all, Im a happy goat owner with healthy goats.

Ive said it once, Ill say it again. If you have goats, I strongly urge you to read Joyce Lazzaro’s Copper Studies (think I’ve linked to it enough in this post? lol)...
There are some interesting pictures of animals suffering from extreme copper deficiency as well as more in depth info than the brief review I provided.
Good stuff!

Oh they did show up great pics if you ask me!
You can purchase these things also at Valley Vet and Jeffers Pet too.
Now last article I promise, this one is more in depth and has so many Universities backing the tests and results. This is more in depth and intense so buckle up:
Basic Information On Copper Deficiency In Dairy Goats In Southern California
Compiled by – Joyce Lazzaro/Saanendoah Dairy Goats
Winchester/Temecula, California

Here in southern-most Southern California (San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange and San Diego counties) and most of Arizona we have severe primary copper (Cu) deficiency (low levels in soil and feed) problem in the Swiss breeds and LaMancha dairy goats. As in cattle, we feel that genetic difference in both breeds and blood lines within breeds affects goats susceptibility to both deficiency and toxicity (research shows that Simmental and Charolais cattle need more copper in their diet than Angus, because they are less efficient absorbers of copper from the small intestine. And field experience suggests Simmental, Maine Anjou, Limousin and Charolais benefit from 1.5 times the copper intake of traditional breeds – Dennis Herd, Texas A&M beef cattle nutritionist). At first it appeared that Nubians were holding their own with the available copper, we now have comfirmation of copper deficiency in Nubians at the same rate as the Swiss breeds. Deficiency has also been comfirmed in the Boer, Pygmy and Nigerian Dwarf breeds in Southern, Mid and Northern California and Arizona. We have little laboratory or other information on the hair breed goats, though there are some old studies and perhaps recent lab work that indicate they may be more sensitive to excess copper than the dairy, miniature, and meat breeds. We know of hypocupric problems in both cattle and horses (foals), and occasionally sheep, in the area as well. In the last decade deficiency has been confirmed (via necropsy and/or laboratory work) in mid-state areas. While we only have a small amount of laboratory and other confirmation of copper deficiency in animals/herds in the high desert areas north of San Bernardino (where they feed mostly locally grown alfalfa) what we do have has shown goats in that area (including Nubians, who account for 95% of the data we do have) to be just as deficient as those in the lower areas. Indications are that in some mid and northern California areas theirs is a secondary deficiency (inducted by high levels of Cu-antagonists in the diet) from an excess in soil molybdenum. NOTE: See lab statistics for local animals (limited area) updated March 2006. Texas, Washington, Oregon, Missouri, Virginia, Colorado, South Dakota, Ohio, Wisconsin, Indiana, and the most of the New England states also have areas where copper deficiency in dairy, Pygmy, Boer, and Nigerian Dwarf goats has been confirmed.

Sandy soils have traditionally shown deficiencies, but high organic matter soils, degraded black soils, wooded calcareous and grey-wooded soils can also be severely deficient. Copper deficiency may occur when animals graze on soils deficient in copper, soils with high Molybdenum levels (+2PPM); copper intake should be 5 to 8 times molybendum intake, pastures with high sulphate levels (+0.35% total sulfur), iron exceeding 250 to 300 PPM, or some combination of these. Water (desired level for minerals in livestock drinking water), usually well water or hot springs water, may have substantial amounts of sulfur that reduce availability of copper. Water from alkaline soils is more commonly high in sulfur, which may add to interference. While all minerals can be involved in interactions, the effect other minerals have on the need for copper is more specific and unique than with many of the other minerals.

Coppers availability is reduced by iron, sulfur, molybdenum & zinc. The zinc/copper interaction is alleviated to a certain extent by maintaining the zinc:copper between 3:1 & 5:1. === Only a fraction of ingested copper is absorbed (average 4-5 per cent in adults) and is affected mainly by high levels of molybdenum, which binds with copper to make it insoluble, as well as high levels of iron and zinc. === Due to the large number of interactions, it is important to maintain a balance between trace minerals without over supplementing trace minerals. === Copper content of pasture can vary from spring to fall.
Soil copper is in two forms, Cu2+ and Cu(OH)+. In general the plant availability of copper in the soil decreases with an increase in pH of the soil. As pH rises adsorption increases and the solubility of the oxides decrease. Deficiencies can occur naturally in soils that are naturally high in pH or have been over limed. The opposite can occur in very acid soils. This is true of all the micronutrients except Selenium and Molybdenum. Studies have found that only 35% of pastures in the US have adequate copper levels. Other causes of copper deficiency appear when animals have heavy parasitism, which causes a loss of copper. Also Johnes disease. It may also occur when animals are given excess Zinc supplements. An 1999-2000 USDA-APHIS-VS-NAHMS (USDA’s National Animal Health Monitoring Service)source reports that blood (3,902 serum samples) and forage samples from 2,713 operations in the 23 top cow/calf states found copper deficiency to be either moderate or severe in 41.6 percent of the operations. And 1.7 percent were considered severely copper deficient. In addition moderate to severe zinc deficiency was found in 65.9 percent of all operations, with one percent considered to be severely deficient. Forage samples showed 77 percent and 67 percent of collected samples had levels of zinc and copper incapable of meeting the requirements of beef cattle.

In general, the Western states had lower mean serum copper concentrations compared to other regions.The mean serum copper concentration for operations in the Western regions was 0.63 ppm, while the Midwest and Southern regions recorded 0.70 ppm.
Almost half of Canadian feeds analysed at the Agricultural Soil and Feed Testing Laboratory (Canada) contain less than the estimated RDA of 10 ppm. Also, in the US 28.7% to 57.8% of pastures had molybdenum (Mo) and iron (Fe) levels high enough to cause copper malabsorption. To this can be added malabsorption through excessive sulfur intake.
NOTE: Alfalfa is notorious as a crop which is susceptible to copper deficiency. Wheat, barley and oats can also be deficient.
NOTE:: Molybdenum is common in alfalfa hays. Copper deficiency is likely if hay has less than four parts copper to each part molybdenum.
NOTE: Soil applied copper will generally have long-lasting residual effects. Beneficial effects from 1.3 to 2.7 pounds of copper per acre have persisted undiminished for up to 35 years (western Australia). Copper can be applied as organic compounds in the form of CuEDTA, copper ligninsulfonates, and copper polyflavonoids. Copper deficiency in grazing livestock has been recognized in most developed countries especially across Europe and North America as well as in Australia (pioneering work was done in Australia in the 1930s). As far back as the 1930s localized cases of copper deficiency were discovered in Florida, The Netherlands, New Zealand and parts of Australia.

Trace mineral concentrations in forages can vary among regions, within a state and even within a ranch. The following table demonstrates the variation measured among four pastures on a ranch in southwestern Montana. The table below demonstrates the variation in the Mineral Content of forage samples from one Southwestern Montana ranch. Forages were sampled during the late spring and early summer months. These analyses indicate adequate copper, zinc and manganese. But, the antagonistic effects of iron, sulfur and molybdenum have the potential to negatively affect the utilization of these minerals. Pasture

Mineral A B C D
Cu, ppm 7 19 7 0
Zinc, ppm 36 36 24 37
Mn, ppm 57 65 55 41
Mo, ppm 0.62 0.19 4.1
S, % 0.26 0.47 0.46 0.36
Fe, ppm 457 385 179 136

There can be little doubt that copper deficiency in ruminants is a worldwide problem. A recent survey on the nutrition of grazing ruminants in tropical regions has indicated that copper deficiency is a serious problem in many tropical countries:

Prairie Diagnostic Services – Canada
During the spring of 1999, the Regina laboratory received submissions from a producer experiencing problems in pygmy kids between 1 1/2 – 2 months of age. The history presented for one kid included fever, depression, head pressing, circling and terminal opisthotonus. Another animal and several more at home exhibited generalized weakness and muscle tremors. weakness was most pronounced in the hindquarters.
At necropsy, the kid with seizures had severe cerebral edema with laminar necrosis of the cerebral cortical gray matter (polioencephalomalacia). The spinal cord from the kid with generalized weakness displayed extensive hypomyelination with neuronal chromatolysis and necrosis. Both kids had decreased numbers of Purkinje neurons and cells within the granular layer of the cerebellum with chromatolysis of medullary neurons. Hepatic copper level from the kid with weakness was 2.4 ppm, a level considered very deficient (normal range 25 150 ppm). A CBC indicated marked nonregenerative anemia (hemoglobin 82 g/L; hematocrit 0.10). Both goats had mild to moderate thyroidhyperplasia. One animal had moderate coccidiosis.
The owner housed sheep with the goats. Both were receiving hay, barley, sheep supplement and cobalt/iodized salt. Drinking water sulphate and phosphorus levels were within normal ranges.
When sheep and goats are fed together, it is not uncommon to feed supplements designed for sheep. The practice predisposes goats to copper deficiency as their requirements at 10 – 20 ppm are much higher than those for sheep at 5 – 10 ppm. Although dietary copper levels were not calculated, a copper deficient diet with respect to goat requirements was strongly suspected. Genetic or breed predisposition and the interfering role of dietary molybdenum were not ruled out. Thyroid hyperplasia may have also been genetically related as dietary iodine levels appeared normal.
Copper deficiency in young goats typically appears as “enzootic ataxia” related to spinal chord and cerebellar changes. Cerebellar changes noted in this case were consistent with copper deficiency. Low copper levels were suspected as contributing to polioencephalomalacia. Similar lesions have been reported in young lambs from England. Other causes of polioencephalomalacia include: thiamine deficiency, high sulphates, water deprivation, hypoxia and any condition causing cerebral edema.

Copper deficiency in Alaskan Moose and Finnish Reindeer have both been reported. In Finland the deficiency is so severe that winter survival is considerably impaired. Red Deer in North West Scotland and in the West Midlands of England have been found to suffer a swayback disease characterised by ataxia, paresis and spinal chord demyelination.

Copper is necessary for the absorption and utilization of Iron, it helps oxidize vitamin C and it works in conjunction with Vitamin C to form elastin, a chief component of muscle. It also helps with the formation of red blood cells and bone structure. A copper deficiency does not allow the bone marrow cells to reach maturity.

Sheep accumulate copper in the liver more readily than other farm animals and are highly susceptible to copper toxicity. Texel and Blue Faced Leicester sheep are known to be especially susceptible. Sheep should not be supplemented with copper above 10ppm, or allowed access to supplements containing high levels of copper.

Note: mineral mixes labeled for sheep AND goats will NOT contain adequate copper for goats. Generally goats should not be fed sheep minerals without some other form of copper supplementation.

Copper is actively transported through the intestinal wall and stored in the liver. Copper deficiency prevents iron from being incorporated in hemoglobin, resulting in anemia, indistinguishable from iron deficiency. Copper plays a role in iron absorption and mobilization. Copper deficiency impairs the formation of connective tissue proteins, collagen and elastin. Weak bones (osteoporosis), and defective arterial walls are the more obvious manifestations.

Many areas of the country with copper deficiency problems can correct a copper deficit by simply adding a mineral containing adequate copper for goats, such as a horse or cattle mineral mix.
Looking back to the early and mid 1980’s we can see that the problem actually began to manifest itself that long ago with an occasional animal exhibiting what we now know were signs of deficiency. In the beginning many of us had few if any classic copper deficiency symptoms, but testing has shown ALL our herds to be severely deficient. Some blood lines, and breeds appear to have more (Alpines) or less (Nubians) problems than others.

While liver biopsy is the most reliable test of the true copper status of the animal, few private practice or university affiliated veterinarians are willing to take the risk of performing liver biopsies on breeding stock. In the last few years there has been interest in the procedure and some successful caprine liver biopsies have been done at Texas A&M. The University of California at Davis has developed a procedure for doing liver biopsies on cattle that is proving successful. But for now, there is no reliable test readily available to the small goat keeper on a live animal; liver levels from the liver of deceased animals are still the only accurate indication of the Cu status that we have access to. Copper is carried in the blood in a variety of ways and conventional blood tests measure only the total copper content. Of this, usually only about 3% is available for use in enzymes. In cases of thiomolybdate toxicity, this will be grasped by the thiomolybdate ions. Blood serum and plasma copper levels are the last to fall, after Cu reserves fall to <30 mg/kg liver DM, so they seldom correlate to the actual levels in the liver. Blood levels can be normal, low, or even elevated, while the copper stores in the liver and kidneys are extremely deficient, blood testing for copper is a poor second choice, and we seldom test the blood levels anymore (NOTE: serum zinc levels can change rapidly in response to stress). Normal liver levels of copper for goats are 25ppm-150ppm. – unsupplemented animals in this area run 0.1ppm-15ppm. While liver copper and total blood copper are used alone as indicators of copper status, these do not take any account of the correction of the symptoms of clinical copper deficiency. The efficacy of copper supplementation of ruminants is the ability to correct the symptoms of clinical deficiency and should not be judged by the supplement’s ability to raise the copper content of the body. Copper levels in hair samples are highly variable.

The losses to local goat breeders were immeasurable, one year in the early ’90s a herd in Arizona lost all but three kids to copper deficiency (confirmed by Arizona U and Cornell), they were either stillborn or died within the first few weeks. The loss in mature animals was tremendous to herds experiencing the most severe problems. On the other hand, many of us did not have specific or classic copper deficiency symptoms, but rather a multitude of miscellaneous problems such as frequent staph lesions on the udder, nose, mouth, and chin (occasionally the entire body) and thin/rough/faded (achromotrichia) hair coats (odd “prickly” coats in the case of some Saanens), maybe nothing more than bald tail tips or light spots on the nose. Other herds had serious problems with increased cases of mastitis including gangrene mastitis (more than a dozen cases of gangrene mastitis in this area in a two year period, when it was virtually unheard of before – and since), ruptured uterus’ and pre-pubic tendons (abdominal wall hernia) , hugh hematomas following injections or even a minor injury. What acts like spinal cord injuries in adults (osteoporosis), twisting or bending of the front legs and/or feet in kids and pregnant yearlings (osteoporosis – see photo #1), anemia …. just about anything your can imagine ….. we were all mystified (our veterinarians and professionals in academia included) that our seemingly well managed animals were so plagued; again, some herds experienced NO obvious problems. We now realize that many of these situations were/are a direct effect of a compromised immune system resulting from the hypocupric condition. While other problems (bone disorders – ataxia – hair – cardiovascular) were a direct result of the low levels of copper. Young kids are most often and severely affected, with everything from the classic symptoms of swayback (congenital copper deficiency) andenzootic ataxia (delayed-onset ataxia) caused by demyelination of the spinal cord (a breakdown of the insulating fatty coverings [myelin sheaths] that surround the nerves in the brain and spine), this ataxia is NOT reversable by treatment with copper. to light colored rings around the eyes, thin hair over the nose and/or around the eyes and/or ears, small size, general weakness or sore joints and general failure to thrive. The does are not able to get kids on the ground with adequate levels of copper to maintain them in good health. Often they are so extremely deficient that they suffer from osteoporosis (soft, porous bones that bend and fracture easily i.e neonatals with rib fractures), severe anemia, or other health problems, some are unable to survive at birth, some appear normal at birth with symptoms showing soon after or weeks/months later depending on the level of the deficiency and the individual animal.

If copper nutrition was as simple as determining the copper levels in the base diet and adding a highly available copper source/supplementation, copper deficiency would not be a problem. However, because copper absorption and metabolism can be affected by molybdenum, sulfur, calcium, zinc, iron, manganese, cobalt, lead, cadmium, and selenium, deciding how much supplemental copper is required is not always easy.

Early on (after we identified the problem) we tried via oral supplementation of different mineral mixes high in copper (up to 1100ppm) and feeding of other than goat specific feeds (horse pellets, horse minerals, etc.) to correct the problem, to date none of them has succeeded in bringing up the body stores of copper. Absorption of copper can vary from zero to as high as 75% (Linder, 1991) depending on a number of factors. Copper availability in most feedstuffs fed to farm animals is between 1% and 15% (Hemken et al. 1993). Most minerals contain copper oxide in powder form, availability is poor when used in this form, the mineral passes through the gut with little absorption. (note: other areas of the US have had excellent results with just the addition of a mineral mix high in copper) in our area we have found copper boluses (copper oxide wire boluses) dosed to weight to be the most effective means of elevating the liver copper levels to within normal limits. We had the first boluses brought into the US from New Zealand in the spring of 1994; since that time we have found a source of cattle copper boluses that we can downsize to goat doses. In this area 2000 to 2500+ goats have been on these boluses for nine years now (early ’02). Continuious laboratory work on bolused animals indicates we are achieving normal liver concentrations of copper. To this date (June 2006) we have not had a single case of copper toxicity, and only one elevated liver copper level. Liver concentrations remain in the low normal (30-80ppm) with only three animals testing above that range in the twelve years we’ve been using the boluses. We’ve found that the boluses need to be administered at 5-6 month intervals to maintain adequate levels. After about 4 months, liver stores start to fall rapidly. In order to best protect the neonatal kids, we strive to use the boluses at times that will keep the does levels up during her entire pregnancy. Minnesota research with mice showed that perinatal brain development was affected by copper concentration in the mothers diet. Mice born to copper deficient dams had permanent brain disorders even when fed adequate copper after birth. Some breeders are routinely giving boluses (0.625 to 1.35 grams) to kids early on (2-4 weeks old) and it’s proven to be very satisfactory (I’ve done this the last six years in my herd).

This is an ongoing program. We get additional/new information, ideas, etc., constantly. As time goes on the regime may change to less or more frequent bolusing or perhaps a completely different method of correcting the problem. After more than a decade we’ve still not found a more satisfactory source of copper supplementation than copper boluses, nor a solution to the primary source of the problem (hay/feed). Until then, its imperative that we work together to keep on top of the situation and keep our animals healthy. We have veterinarians, both private and university affiliated, still interested and working on the problem. Our laboratory work has been done primarily by the California Animal Health & Food Safety Laboratory System [ CAHFS/UCDavis, was California Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory Sytem, CVDLS/UCDavis] in San Bernardino and Davis, and the University of Arizona. Unfortunately, there are still veterinarians in the area that are unaware of the problem and even argue against its existence, though as time goes by more and more are seeing both the problem and our results and are recommending copper supplementation to goats in these areas.

Additional information, copies of laboratory work and veterinary information is available (your veterinarian is welcome to contact the veterinarians working with us for additional/specific information and confirmation as well).

One Example
(Photos & history of Toggenburg buck by Linda Colquitt – Eders Toggs, Alpines & Colquitt’s Saanens) This Toggenburg buck was born 3/92 in a herd having severe copper deficiency problems. Other animals in this herd were put down due to limb paralysis. This buck was a normal medium brown Toggenburg color at birth and left the herd at 3 months. The entire herd was blood tested for copper several months later and his twin sister was the lowest in the herd (0.06ppm). Only 6 of 17 animals were in the normal range of 0.8- 1.2ppm. At six months of age the buck was entirely white.

After seeing the blood tests above, he was given a MolyCu injection of 0.25mL. There were no other changes made in his care or nutrition. In about 10 days, he had dark roots. The picture below was taken about 1 month after the injection. In Februrary 93 he was given a copper Bolus of 2.5gms (the only size available at the time). In May, he was clipped for the shows and was a normal Toggenburg brown. The clippings showed a definate change in color with 1/3 of the hair nearest the skin being dark and the other 2/3 nearly white.

It is important to stress that color change might not be present in animals with a copper deficiency and that more serious problems can result from copper deficiency.


When copper deficiency has been recognized, attempts to remedy it by provision of extra oral copper has proved unsatisfactory because of the unpredictable intake, rapid excretion, and variable effect. With an element such as copper, which is a cumulative poison, the risk of chronic copper poisoning from parenteral or oral copper treatment is positively correlated with its effectiveness in combating deficiency. Existing methods of treatment for copper deficiency have limitations. Mineral licks and supplementals are unpredictable because of the individual refusal of some animals and over indulgence of others. Copper sulfate (CuSo4) drenches are not only astringent (Cu sulphate drench, if it accidentally enters the lungs, can cause shock and death) but more than 90% of the copper is rapidly excreted from the body. Animals need to be drenched every 2-3 weeks. Boluses (glass) of copper that lodge in the rumen or reticulum can form unusable complexes with molybdenum, sulfur and iron. Compounding copper salts with concentrate rations can be effective (though it has not proven so with our animals). Injectable copper (copper glycinate, CuCa-EDTA, copper methionates and Cu-oxyquin) can be acutely toxic (seen most often w/Cu EDTA which is no longer available), so inectable doses must be limited, the dose is often partly encapsulated at the injection site and thus prevented from achieving its objective. Side effects such as injection site abscesses (copper glycinate) and hepatic necrosis are potential problems with this method of treatment. Repeated injections are needed to maintain adequate protection. note: we only use copper glycinate (Molycu) injections in emergency situation, usually in young kids from unbolused dams. Gelatin capsules containing copper oxide needles provide relatively long term protection against copper deficiency. The sustained activity after oral dosing with copper oxide needles as a means of alleviating hypocupremia in goats has been widely reported.

The gelatin capsules contain thousands of minute, blunt copper oxide rods. When give orally, the gelatin capsule dissolves in the rumen, releasing the copper oxide rods, which then pass into the abomasum where they lodge. There they release copper for the animal’s immediate requirements and reserves. The rods dissolve completely over a period of time.
NOTE: There is at least one study (Attempted Induction of Chronic Copper Poisoning in Boma Confined Impala. Research and Development, Kruger National Park, Skukuza, South Africa, ’99) that indicates, via fecal copper concentrations, that a good portion of the of the copper oxide particles are excreated from the body. Dispite deliberate attempts to overdose the study Impalas with one time doses ranging between 125 mg/kg to 1000 mg/kg, less than 20% of the animals were found to have elevated liver copper levels after 52 and 105 days.

Copper oxide needles are brittle rods (1 to 8 mm long , and 0.5+/- 0.1mm in diameter) made by oxidizing fine copper wire. They are nontoxic when given orally, and they can be given in doses sufficient to establish long-lasting reserves of copper in the liver. Their properties were discovered by Australian scientists, who found that a combination of small particle size and high specific gravity (2.0 and 7.0) caused them to become trapped in the folds of the abomasum. Copper oxide particles, released in the rumen pass through to the abomasum where they remain in the folds of the abomasum. CSIRO (1978) and Judson et al., (1982) demonstrated that the particles remained for a period of at least 32 days. CSIRO (1978) showed that the excretion rate of copper from the copper oxide particles was about 0.2 grams by weight per day which allowed for the safe absorption of copper without toxicity being apparent. The accumulated hepatic stores of the absorbed copper can protect the animal against copper deficiency for periods of months (our lab work indicates 4.5-6 months).To be effective the Copper particles must be swallowed, administer by a conventional balling gun which delivers the capsule direct into the gullet. The gauge and weight of the copper particles is calculated so that they sink and lodge properly. Chewing rods/wires/particles will change both the gauge, weight, specific gravity, causing the particles to pass on through the animal in greater amounts than the dose is adjusted for.

(photo of Copasure bolus and stomach chart courtesy of Animax Limited)

To get the most out of your copper supplementation program

Heavy worm burdens can affect copper uptake by altering the pH in the gut, making the copper less soluble. An effective worming program is therefore an important aspect of copper supplementation. Internal parasites can:

    • Reduce the solubility of copper in the abomasum (fourth stomach), by up to 70 per cent.
  • Reduce the subsequent uptake of dissolved copper by the liver by up to 50 per cent.
  • Increase copper losses from the animal.

While the use of cupric oxide rods has been shown to produce significant anthelmintic effects, their efficacy may be reduced by a heavy abomasal parasite burden. It is important that adequate selenium (Se) levels are also maintained. See: U.S. Geological Survey Selenium in Counties of the Conterminous States . Selenium testing: Whole blood (EDTA or heparin) is the best sample since most of the selenium is located on red blood cells. Serum selenium analysis is possible but does not reflect long-term status of the animal.
North Dakota:Areas With High Concentrations of Selenium in the Soil and Forage Produce Beef With Enhanced Concentrations of Selenium

Copper can be toxic, it is important to stress again, that this is a local problem and solution, and though both primary and secondary Cu deficiency problems of different magnitudes may be found in other areas we do not recommend supplementation using these methods or doses without complete evaluation of your herd’s copper status via laboratory work and veterinary consultation.
Dose rates:
The animals are dosed to weight at the rate of 1 gram copper oxide in bolus form per 22 pounds at five to six month intervals, laboratory work has shown that liver and kidney concentrations start to fall rapidly after about four months. Copasure downsize guide

Valley Vet Supply in Kansas carries both Copasure boluses and the #13, 1/8th oz empty gel caps. 800-360-4838
Jeffers – Dothan, Alabama 1-800-533-3377 – fax 1-334-793-5179 has Copasure boluses on an on and off basis.
Animal Health Express, Tucson, Arizona, 1-800-533-8115 has Copasure boluses in both 12.5 gram and 25 gram sizes.
Walco International in Ontario, California (1-909-947-4957) has Copasure boluses (25 gram only) in stock. NOTE: The Walco in Ontario, California will NOT sell for use in goats.
Smaller size capsules:
“000” (1.37 mL) – “00”(0.95 mL) “0” (0.68 mL)par
“1” (0.50 mL)“2” (0.37 mL)“3” (0.30 mL) – “4” (0.21 mL)par
For smaller doses or multiples (an adult dose of 6.25 grams or 1/2 of a 12.5 gram boluse will fit into two “000” capsules). These can be found at health food stores, pharmacys or online at various herb and vitamin sites like Herbal Remedies

#13 1/8 oz gel cap
see link of other sizes

Conversion Factor
0.1% = 1000 ppm (Move decimal four places to the right)
1 ppm = 1 mg/kg
1 ppm = 0.45 mg/lb
1 mg/lb = 2.2 ppm or 2.2 mg/kg


The National Geochemical Survey

Phew that was a long one too, glad you made it through. I hope you get some kind of idea of how important copper is in our goats diet.

Below, I am leaving many websites for further reading and helpful information.

Just remember to enjoy your animals goats or what ever kind you have. God put them here for a purpose, no matter what kind of trouble they get into. Photobucket

I hope most of all this page has helped you in some way.

Helpful websites:

American Dairy Goat Association: http://www.adga.org

American Goat Society: http://www.americangoatsociety.com

Bonnie Blue Farm: http://www.bonniebluefarm.com

Caprine Supply: http://www.caprinesupply.com

Cheesemaking: http://www.cheesemaking.com

Fias Co Farm Natural Care for Goats: http://www.fiascofarm.com

Goat Connection: http://www.goatconnection.com

Goat Source: http://www.goatsource.com

Hoegger Goat Supply: http://www.hoeggergoatsupply.com

Julias Goat Milk Soaps: http://www.juliasgoatmilksoap.com

Small Dairy: http://www.smalldairy.com

Udderly EZ Milker Hand Milking Machine: http://www.udderlyez.com

Goat Link: http://www.goat-link.com

Two Goat Milking System: http://www.segelmade.com

TN Meat Goats: http://www.tennesseemeatgoats.com

Noah and Sue Goddard: http://www.goddardfarm.com

Henry Milker Milking system: http://www.henrymilker.com

Onion Creek ranch: http://www.tennesseemeatgoats.com

Dairy Goat Journal MagazineDairy Goat Journal - Information, ideas, and insights for everyone who raises, manages, or just loves goats.
Solar Water-pumping Equipment Suppliers:
This is a partial list of suppliers by The University of Tennessee.
Golden Genesis Company
7812 East Acoma
Scottsdale, AZ 85260
(800) 223-9580
Web Site: http://www.goldengenesis.com
Unit 5 Sterling Park Gatwick Road
Crawley, West Sussex United Kingdom RH10 2QT
44 (0) 1293 424000
Web Site: http://www.shurflo.com
Solar Water Technologies
426-B Elm Ave.
Portsmouth, VA 23704
(800) 952-7221
Web Site: http://solarwater.com
Solar Pumping Products
325 E. Main Street
Safford, AZ 85546
(602) 428-1092
There are some more links on the left hand side of my home page under links.

Thank You so much for your patience at reading this page. Like I said as I learn more I will share. SO YA’LL COME BACK NOW YA HERE!.facebook_781076654.jpg

7 Responses to Goat Health Management/Diseases/Medications

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  4. Kathie Warme says:

    Hi, My Nigerian senior’s udder is so big this year that her teats are dragging and the kids can’t seem to nurse or even find the teat. Any suggestions?


    • 4dfarms says:

      If you can try to hold the kids to the teats and guide their mouths to them they might latch on. Try to squirt a little on their nose and mouth so they can smell it. If this does not work and you can’t get then to nurse at all, you may have to milk her and bottle feed babies. She doesn’t need to get engorged either or this will make her udder really sore and she want want to be touched cause it will be so sensitive. I hope this helps.


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