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No matter how well you take care of your goats, sooner or later one of them is going to become ill.  There are various ways that a goat can get sick.  Some of the illnesses we have experienced in our herd include ketosis, poisoning, pneumonia, pink-eye, and peritonitis.  I will share with you the methods that we used to treat some of these illnesses.  I am not an expert , however so before beginning any treatment, you should always consult with a veterinarian  and most importantly, before you consult with your veterinarian, ask God to guide and direct both of you. 

General First Aid Kit:   Have on hand, a rectal thermometer, wormer, Vet Rx, Baking Soda, Mineral Oil, Goat Nutri-drench, Probiotic powder, Electrolytes, Vet Wrap, gauze pads, blood stop powder,  corn starch, blue-kote spray, neosporin, Vitamin B-12 injectable, CD&T vaccination, penicillin, sulfa-dimethox, terramycin ointment, needles and syringes (6cc w/ 20 gauge x 1" needles works well for most things) a 60 cc syringe is handy for drenching, saline solution, iodine, nitrile gloves, keto-strips and anything else you can think of that I may not have mentioned.  When an emergency arises, you don't want to be caught without the things that you need.  Some items you may want to have on-hand but are only available from the veterinarian are Epinephrine, Banemine, Nuflor, Excenel, Bo-Se, etc.

Ketosis - This is a dangerous disease that goats can succumb to prior to their delivery date.  When the kids grow so large that they are restricting the feed intake of the dams, they will start to lose weight and ketones will be excreted in their urine.  We keep keto-strips from the pharmacy on hand to check the goat's urine beginning about two weeks before the expected delivery date.  If ketones are present, we will begin giving Nutri-Drench to try and ward off any progression of the disease.  We also keep a bottle of Propylene Glycol on hand for emergencies.  If they continue to lose weight, they can become toxic which will lead to the death of the doe and the kids.

Peritonitis - I hope that no one else experiences this with a doe.  Our doe Dreamy had a difficult delivery in early June of 2008 and subsequently became infected in her abdominal cavity due to an undetected tear in her uterus.  An infection this severe and painful will normally kill a doe.  The vet at OSU gave her a poor prognosis.  I prayed hard for her and asked goat owners across the country to join me in prayer and then we took action.  Symptoms were low grade fever, inappetance, difficulty urinating, fluid retention in abdomen and weight loss.  I had her on high doses of antibiotics, so the main concern was to keep her rumen active and help prevent further weight loss.  We took her to OSU veterinary hospital where they ultra-sounded her abdomen and drained off 1.5 liters of infected fluids.  They recommended surgery, but I felt that for Dreamy to have the best chance, we should avoid surgery if possible.  She was also loaded with worms and very anemic, so the vet gave her Levanasole, Banemine for pain  and a Tetracycline IV and we brought her home to try to nurse her back to health.  I prayed again and made a trip to PBS in Circleville where I loaded my cart with goat serum, TNT probiotics and vitamins for goats, Omega 3 nutritional drench, and Daily 72 ionic minerals.  I am so thankful for the quality nutritional supplements available today.  We also started drenching her with colostrum that we had previously frozen and after a couple of days switched to giving her a couple of pints of pasturized goat milk per day.  She stopped losing weight with the nutritional supplements and milk and I believe that God directed us to use the Goat Serum injections.  The vet explained later that the way LA 200 tetracycline works is to keep the infection from spreading while the goat's own immune system goes to work to eliminate it.  Giving the Goat Serum in conjunction with the tetracycline probably strengthened her immunity to help her fight off the bacteria.  In our long battle against this infection, we switched from LA200 with goat serum to Nuflor and then to Penicillin which my vet explained will actually work to kill the bacteria.   

After two weeks, I took Dreamy back up to OSU.  The vet was very surprised to see that Dreamy was still alive.  He drained a little more fluid from her abdomen and infused it with tetracycline, warning us that she still had a long road ahead of her to full recovery.  

Near the end of July, Dreamy was still not eating well enough to take her off of the supplements, but she is was improving daily and started to eat nearly two cups of ration for breakfast.  We gave her the last of the penicillin shots and decided to watch to see if she would backslide or continue to improve.

I hope that this information and our experience helps someone else to be able to save their doe whether she suffers from peritonitis or some other infection.  Whenever an antibiotic is used on a ruminant, probiotics should also be used to keep the rumen alive and active.  If a doe is losing weight rapidly, nutritional supplements can literally be a life saver.  We used a 60cc syringe to drench the doe in the beginning, but then found that she really likes all the supplements mixed together with her milk and will suck it straight from the bucket with gusto!

Update on Dreamy.  It is now September and we have Dreamy back on Penicillin due to a fever and discharge from her birth canal.  She is doing much better on her feed, but with the return of the infection, we have started her back on the nutritional supplements to keep her energy up.    Her coat has become glossier and fuller and her weight has slightly increased and we continue to hope for the best and in spite of everything, this amazing doe continues to display a great attitude.  We will not breed her this fall in order to give her body the rest it needs to fully recuperate.  Her daughter, Shazam, is growing well and we are looking forward to showing her when the time comes.  For now, she is her mom's constant companion and reason for living, so she stays home.

Pneumonia - One year at the fair there was a disagreement between goat keepers who knew that an airy barn is important to goat health and those who thought the cold night air would make their goats sick.  The barn was kept closed up for the most part of the week and one of our young doelings became ill with pneumonia.  The symptoms were rapid, shallow breathing and nasal discharge.  We set her up in the most draft-free corner of our airy barn and I put a room humidifier into a cat carrier box and placed it right next to her to aid in her breathing.  We treated her with Penicillin and probiotics and she was soon well again.

Pink-eye - There are two types of pink-eye.  One is more of a conjunctivitis that causes inflammation in the eyelids, the other attacks the actual eye of the goat causing redness in the whites and potentially blistering over the pupils.  We have had normally had just the conjunctivitis and treated it successfully with no worries.  Last year, Dreamy's eyes started tearing and her face was wet, then suddenly she wouldn't open one eye.  When we investigated we saw that her eye whites were blood-shot, within hours the eye had glazed over with a white cloud.  We treated with Terramycin ointment with no effect.  I called our vet and he gave us another eye ointment and we started giving her Nuflor injections.  The weeping stopped but it took weeks for the eye to heal.   Today, you cannot tell that she ever had a problem with her eye.  During her infection, we treated our entire herd prophilactically with Terramycin.  We separated her from the herd and treated her last to prevent us from spreading the infection to the other animals.  This rapidly progressing infection can affect both eyes in the goat which can cause temporary to permanent blindness.  If your doe has the infection in both eyes, put her in a small pen with food, and water where she can locate it.  Make sure she is eating and if not, hand feed her until her vision returns.