Starved and Sick Goat - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 08-17-2012, 04:33 PM Thread Starter
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Starved and Sick Goat

It is a long story so please bare with me here. I have a two year old doe, when I got her and her half brother they both had health issues, the wether had deformed tendons and joints and poor immune system(both which have be resolved). Well the doe has health problems that continue to appear, mostly horrible immune system, if there are any worms she is the one who gets hit the hardest and so on.

Thinking we were doing the right thing we left an older man borrow our three goats to clean up a field, they were doing a great job, sadly though when we brought them they had a hard winter (very wet and cold) and were a little thin. Two months of being there and all three looked great, shiny health and thriving. A month later (now) the doe lost ever ounce of weight she had, she is near 30 inches tall and would be lucky to weight 25 pounds, she legs can barely hold her up and she gets tired very easily. We don't know whats wrong the other two are health and happy, but she's not thriving. She's eating just as much, drinking, been dewormed and on acres of browsing.

It happened within a couple of weeks (the people that borrowed them didn't realize it because of a medical emergency of their own). I was wondering if anyone had ideas? We are bring her home tonight, and pretty much try to dehydrate her, give her grain and turnout alone, or by my horse for company. I've dealt with sick goats before, but they weren't mine, and now it is mine and so sever my mind just went to mush. I was thinking along the lines of iron, electrolytes, possible she has a serious lacking of copper or iodine, and b 12 compound?

Please keep in mind I don't have animal medications and stuff readily available, I offend substitute with people products, pedilyte, and Gatorade, iron and b 12 pills, a long those line. This goat is a pet, and only a pet she can't nurse a kid due to a serious deformed udder, bad back, bad hips and back legs. But I like my little doe and I would rather decide now if I should have her put down or this is a battle that can be won. I am giving her a week to see an improve in her energy (I expect months before her weight goes any where), in her eating and drinking.

Any suggestions, even little ones are helpful, I don't want to lose another animal I care for die like this. There is no vet that knows dirt about goats, their idea of goat illness to shoot them up with b 12 and call it good and done, sometimes it helps others not so much.
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post #2 of 15 Old 08-17-2012, 05:02 PM
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Right off the bat it sounds like either barber pole worms (Haemonchus contortus ) or Johne’s.

Both are transmittable from one ruminate species to another. Johne’s originated in cattle.
Both will cause anemia, weakness, and can hit fairly quickly, although it may not be either... just a combo of other things.

Baber pole worms are really hard to stay on top of, but with the right dewormer and a lot of supportive care you could bring her back from this. Most dewormers aren’t effective against barber pole… she will need a dewormer that specifically list barber pole or Haemonchus contortus, and you will need to follow the instructions on the timing because they reproduce so fast.

Johne’s has no cure and needs a blood test for accurate diagnosis. A fecal taken to the vet (if you are able) can pinpoint barber pole and whatever other parasites that may keep her from gaining weight back.

Electrolytes and human vitamins, even if you are careful, won’t do a whole lot to help. Sick goats benefit from Vitamin B complex shots and tablets just aren’t strong enough. Same with the iron…. And if she is anemic (check the mucus membranes inside the eyelids- outlined in a link below) whatever is causing the anemia needs to be dealt with first. It takes the body about 7 days to generate new red blood cells.

She also may (probably) need some probiotic. Probios made for livestock is the best, but in a pinch organic plain yogurt with live active cultures can be used, although again it won't be as strong.
A ruminant's system operates so differently than a single stomached animal or human that some things don't work very well.
A livestock vitamin may boost her energy too. Look up Powerpunch or Goat Dyne for a list of what is in it, but I suggest you try to get something for livestock.

Many vets do not know that much about goats, but if you know what to call and ask for, they can answer ruminant questions because they are somewhat similar to cattle ans sheep. (Somewhat)

Here are some links on both…
Poke around on goat link. There is a large amount of info on goat illness and medicines too.
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post #3 of 15 Old 08-17-2012, 05:57 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Lockwood, now that you say barber worms, makes me remember we had a run in with bottlejaw when they were 7 months old, they were dewormed over and over every week(?) for a while. I don't know they could cause this too, maybe they are re infested? I'll see if I can get more of the wormer, or a wormer and starter on it again. I hope this is what it is, at least it gives a little hope.

The hard part is around here I am the go to person about goats, I know plenty but still learning. Some times it would be nice to have someone tell me what to do, instead of having people look to me.

Again thanks.
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post #4 of 15 Old 08-18-2012, 12:22 AM
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It is hard when there is so little info to be easily found.
Been there and am the go to girl in my area as well. Welcome to the learning curve!

Generally you shouldn’t need to deworm on a weekly basis unless advised by a vet for something very very specific. It sets you up for resistance problems.
For a bad load, depending on the dewormer, it is common to give three doses with each dose spaced ten days apart. This way, you get the adults first, then hatching eggs, then anything else that was missed. This is usually enough for even a bad load, so long as the correct dewormer is used, and in the proper way.

While the vets may not know much, it is worth a call for recommended dewormers for your area.
For example, Strongid (fenbendazole) is pretty much useless in my area ) especially for gotas and sheep) because of resistance, so I stick with the ivermectin class, and I do SQ injections.
It works better than oral depending on what you are after, and the doses are usually less.

Yep, bottle jaw is sometimes associated with anemia and parasite overload, but anemia doesn’t always cause bottle jaw.

Many parasite eggs can live in the soil/environment for up to a year, so it’s very possible that while you got your goats cleaned out before, the stress of changing places weakened them enough to be more susceptible. Another problem could also be making things worse… coccidiosis.
Another opportunistic bugger that likes to get out of control at times of stress.
Here is a couple more good references…
This is the worm page, but if you click “site map” up by the goat at the top… you will be reading for days. J Good good info!

While this chart is used for FAMANCH, it is a helpful guide to know what to look for when loking at the eye membranes for paleness to indicate anemia.
Sheep 201: Internal parasite (worm) control (although for sheep, is very helpful)

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post #5 of 15 Old 08-18-2012, 06:48 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for not making feel like a fool. We don't deworm our goats much I'll admit, our first few goats was and always extremely health, kept weight good. But we got these two from a different breeder and every time we turn around they have something wrong.

She is very anemic, I am just hoping it's not to late to help her, she sure had a lot of kick left in her when we had to get her into the crate. I honestly think that's the only thing she's got going for her, that and she loves to eat anything you put in front of her. Now she is curled up in deep clean bedding munching on as much hay as she can put in her mouth, as well as grain, and already drank a couple liters of water (half a gallon?) just last night. Put her favorite thing into the water, apple cider vinegar.

Most of my goat experience was learned from a man that I got my first two goats from now that he moved away it is all learning on the fly. Most of the time it is just good luck, I know most about legs issues and hoof trimming than worms.

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post #6 of 15 Old 08-19-2012, 10:19 PM
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Oh, no worries. Trust me… none of us are born with all the knowledge, no matter how many people would like you to think otherwise (especially when it comes to horses )

Not too many years ago, even a vet would tell you that goats were just skinny sheep with slick coats. Computers were far more advanced than goat science and it has only been in the last 10 to 20 years that vets (some vets) have come to realize goats are vastly different than sheep... And cattle too.

I think much has to do with the gain in goat popularity and goat dairies as goat milk and cheese are becoming more mainstream. They are no longer considered the poor man’s cow and we owners are demanding the respect and knowledge they deserve.
I also have alpacas, which are more closely related to a goats system and boy, talk about vets not knowing what to do with them….LOL

You know, I still have trouble trimming the hooves short enough. I’m afraid I will quick them and have a tendency to leave too much. There is an art form to getting those little tootsies perfect when there aren’t enough rough rocks for them to jump and climb on.
Insides are more my area, but it has still been a steep learning curve Cruiser, steep.

In the goat world it is said (and is generally true) that within a herd 20% of the goats carry 80% of the worm load. Sounds like the second farm you got goats from had/has issues and your kids arrived with those problems.
Happens to the best of us.

How is she feeling today?
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post #7 of 15 Old 08-19-2012, 11:16 PM
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If I were a betting woman, I would put my money on worms.

Haemonchus contortus.

And they are probably resistant to most dewormers.

I was involved in a research project with this particular parasite several years ago at Fort Valley State University. We found that most of the worms were resistant to everything except ivermectin. The symptoms in the research goats with worms were pretty much the same as your goats. The goats would get sick and die of the worms so fast it was amazing. It was hard to keep them healthy enough to stay in the research project.

Goats almost all have tons of worms.

Carpe Diem!
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post #8 of 15 Old 08-20-2012, 09:11 AM Thread Starter
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I spent the first year of the two little ones life straightening out the wether's hind legs with trims because the man never touches their feet and he was already 4 months and had legs like a rocking horse. They are perfectly straight now, as well as helping people down the road the "rescue" goats from bad places, I spent time treating infected eyes, over grown elf shoe hoofs and so much more. As for quicking the hoof, just have a bucket of corn starch ready, if you see a little blood put it into the bucket, but the best thing in to let them stand on clean, hard ground for a few minutes usually stops quickly.

We don't usually have problem with worms because our goats all browse of high bushes and trees but these two came from a farm where they only grasses, I am guessing they brought it with them, even though they were kept in a smaller pen and dewormed before meeting our older wether (who's never been sick before).

Guess I should say how she's doing. We brought her home and was really tired and weak, so she spent most of the day sleeping in a pile of bedding and eating the hay in front of her. We ended up getting b 12 stuff from the vet, and getting a couple different dewormers one it starts with a cy? I think? And ivermectin, and she'll be dewormed every 10 to 14 days.

She's very vocal now, which is normal for her, it was weird when she didn't make any noise. Eating fairly normal, I would like to see more hay, but she is eating the stuff in her over grown pen some. Drinking is slow, I'm not sure on how to get water in to her, any ideas would be good. The vet (a horse vet) doesn't want to come out for her, and crating her and haling an hour would be too stressful for her right now. She is deyhrated some, extremely anemic though. We're trying apple juice right now to get her to drink.

Like I said any ideas would be good, we're not about to give up on her yet.
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post #9 of 15 Old 08-20-2012, 10:00 AM
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Glad to hear she is fighting!
Gatoraid, kool-aid, or horse electrolytes that you can add to the water. For goats I usually do half the horse dose per gallon.
The cherry flaver seems to be popular with my goats as well as berry flavored gatoraid. They like sweet things so be careful not to overdue sugary things. I'll check my heath book and see what's in there for homemade remedies... BRB
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post #10 of 15 Old 08-20-2012, 10:15 AM
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This is my go to book and I highly reccomend it. I know this person through online forums (nice person) and the info in this book is worth more than all my other goat books combined!

Here are some suggestions from it and my apologies to Cheryl for copyright infringement...

Homemade Electrolyte:
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp lite salt
1 tsp baking soda
4 oz corn syrup
warm water to make 4 pints
Offer 1 pint 4 times a day for dairy size goat, or 1/2 to 1 cup for smaller goats 4 times a day.

Goat Magic: (you may have already heard of this)
8 oz hot water
2 tbsp molasses
2 tbsp light corn syrup
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
Mix well and serve warm.

I have used Goat Magic before, but my girls were not fans and prefer a goat product or the cherry electrolytes.

For pick me ups I have used Red Cell (1 to 2cc per 25lbs) once a day for 5 to 7 days, but I prefer the powerpunch designed for ruminants or even Vit. pastes from TSC.

CY probably = Cydectin (moxidectin).
I personally haven't used it, but it is popular in goat circles.

Last edited by Lockwood; 08-20-2012 at 10:24 AM.
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