Are you at your wits end for figuring out how to figure out why your goat is sick?
How to figure out why your goat is sick is a huge issue with new goat producers. It can be difficult at times to really narrow down the issue at hand, right?
But, one of the things I really advise is to not think too hard when it comes to goats. Yes, you’ll have people tell you, “It’s going to DIE because it’s a goat.”
Well, ok. Maybe so, but there is always a way to break it down and find the RIGHT treatment that is going to actually treat whatever is ailing your goat. Your goat isn’t acting like it’s bouncy self. What do you do?
So, I’m not going to be diagnosing anything for you today. Because I’m not a vet. But, I have been raising goats for quite a few years now. I have methods, people and meds I turn to that I recommend.
So, here is my standard quick protocol for how to figure out why your goat is sick.
First of all, Temperature
First of all, you need to take the goat’s temperature rectally. A rectal temperature is the best indication of an accurate internal temp that you can get.
So, how do you take a rectal temperature?
Well, you need a digital thermometer. You can get one here or from any farm store. Or even Wal Mart. Sometimes, if my child loses mine, I use theirs. And, of course, it then becomes the animal thermometer – Don’t worry.
So, you’ll need to contain the goat in some way. It will NOT like having its temperature taken. Turn on the thermometer and gently insert it into the rectum hole. Hold it there until the thermometer is done processing the temperature. A normal temperature range for goats is:
- 101 degrees F. to 103 degrees F.
After the temperature is determined, you can look over some other symptoms to try to determine the next step. So, what are these symptoms?
Then, Acknowledge Some Obvious Physical Symptoms
Look the goat over. Take some quality pictures or videos for documentation.
- Does it have a runny nose? Cough?
- Check the lower eyelids (FAMACHA). Read here for more on FAMACHA.
- Condition. Is the goat thin? Or well conditioned?
- Eating ok?
- Shivering like it’s cold? Huddled in the barn away from everyone else?
- Not feeding it’s kids (if it has kids)?
These are a few. But the biggest symptoms goat producers should look at is the goat’s poop.
Next, Note What The Poo Looks Like
Normal goat poop are pellets. Some would say they look like blueberries.
So, a big part of how to figure out why your goat is sick is looking at the poop. If the poop is runny, it can be a couple of different things:
- A different type of parasite
- Ecoli – Or another kind of stomach issue
- Ate too much feed or green grass
Or the poop could be hard and ball-like. But, wait. Before you deworm with what you have, please test that poop. Look inside the poop to see if and what kind of worm is truly ailing your goat.
And Gather That Fecal Sample
Fecal sampling is just about the most looked over task when raising goats. It’s important and necessary.
So, how to you gather a fecal sample?
Here’s how I do it:
- Separate the goat in question off by itself
- Obtain a glove (for myself) and an empty ziplock bag (for the poo).
- Watch said goat carefully until it poops. You want the sample to be fresh.
- Gather the poop in your gloved hand and place it into the ziplock bag. Seal the bag shut.
- Deliver bag to the vet. Or if you have your own microscope, you can just look at the sample yourself.
The sample doesn’t have to be a huge amount. Just a handful will do – enough to place onto the microscope to look at. I don’t do my own. I just take samples over to my veterinarian. We have a great relationship.
Then, Seek Advice from your Veterinarian
My vet is the bomb diggity. He knows more about goats than many vets in the area. And he’s willing to help goat breeders, which is more than many vets in our area.
Plus, he has owned goats for a short time to learn about them. Let’s just say that he’s tried and that I have a lot of respect for him for trying. So, I do call and ask him for advice.
However, my vet is not always available. Since he is a great vet, he has many other clients besides me. Plus, he takes some days off to stay sane since he works around the clock during busy seasons. So, when he’s not available to help with a diagnosis, I consult my goat mentors.
Or, Seek Advice from your Mentor
If you’ve been following my blog for a while now, you know how important it is to me to have a mentor. Someone who has a lot of experience and can be reached if you’re trying to figure out how to figure out why your goat is sick.
Finding a mentor should be pretty simple. He/she should be someone who is:
- Willing to help you.
You are wasting your time and money if you’re trying to rely on someone who isn’t willing to help you out. There’s always someone willing to help you learn how to figure out why your goat is sick.
Here are some ways to find your mentor. And here’s more information about why you need a mentor in your life. And your mentor won’t necessarily have what you need on hand, so here are some important supplies you should always have on hand in a safe place.
Keep Emergency Supplies On Hand
I’ve already covered a few of these. I’ve mentioned a digital thermometer, gloves, ziplock baggies and the microscope. I find the following supplies important to always have on hand just in case.
- Of course, a Drench Gun (for administering dewormers and meds)
- Vitamin B-12 Complex
- Red Cell or Iron for Anemia
- Sulfa Meds for Coccidiosis
- Dewormers, such as Safeguard and Cydectin: The rule of thumb is to test the fecal and then use the same dewormer for that worm until it no longer works.
- Antibiotics: LA200, Nuflor, Penicillin, or others your vet would recommend. If it’s a fed antibiotic, you’ll need to talk to your vet about why you need a VFD.
- Outer care: Bag Balm, Vetricyn, Flyban, Koppertox, feet trimmers, etc.
- Syringes with needles
- Disenfectant (We buy ours from our vet)
- Banamine: Anti-Inflammatory
- Bovi-Sera: Immune Booster
- CD-T Toxoid: Long Acting Booster
- CD-T Anti-Toxin: Immediate Action
- And, What’s In The Kidding Kit
So, these are the top items I feel is important to have on hand in my animal vet supply room just in case. Because you never know when you might have a problem that needs to be addressed immediately. And also, I live quite a ways from any farm store. So, it pays for me to just have these on hand to prepare.
Many of my knowledge of these different meds did not come from my vet. But from different goat Facebook groups I have been a part of along my goating journey.
Also, Seek Advice from Certain Facebook Groups
I’m in some good Facebook groups that I learn a lot from. Here are the groups I love and learn the most from:
Why do I recommend Facebook groups? Sometimes (in the middle of the night) I have needed someone to help me diagnose the problem. And there is USUALLY someone online in the Facebook group who can help. Before you ask a question in one of these groups:
- First of all, Record a temperature.
- Then, Take some photos/video.
- And, be really descriptive with your symptoms.
Furthermore, understand that you might get a million different answers and concoctions for treating your goat. Like I said, Facebook groups are a last resort for me. Please do NOT try every concoction on your goat in hopes that one of them might work.
The groups I have listed have really knowledgeable goat breeders in them. And I’ve met some really great mentors that I now personal message if I have questions. Facebook groups are a great place to find mentors to follow. After finding success listening to a goat mentor’s advice, you can take a deep breath and move on.
Take a Deep Breath
And the most important thing you have to do during this entire process is to take a deep breath. To rely on the help and connections you have built preparing for the moment of learning how to figure out why your goat is sick.
So, now, you can use your vet or your mentor or even your Facebook group. They will ask you what the temperature is. They will ask you what the symptoms are. And you will have all of that information ready to give them.
This is similar to an exam or test. You’re putting your learning to the test now. Let’s see what you’ve got.
And being prepared will definitely make the process smoother and less stressful. Completing the initial steps will help you to know and understand the problem at hand.
Along the journey of learning how to figure out why your goat is sick, you will learn how to prevent the condition from happening again. And that moment in itself is a breath of fresh air.
Learning How to Prevent Problems
If you can learn to prevent problems, you won’t have as many. Many problems can be prevented. Here are a few ways to prevent problems you might have:
- Rotate goats when grazing them for parasite control.
- Maintain pastures to control danger in the pastures.
- Keep feed locked up to prevent goats from consuming more than they need.
- Allow goats to enjoy free-choice loose mineral year round.
These are only a few of the ways you can prevent many problems in your goat herd. Try as you might you won’t prevent EVERYTHING. But, you can sure try.
Finally, the main thing successful goat producers strive to do is to simply take one goat at a time. And that is the big picture thinking when it comes to diagnosing healthy problems in goats.
FOCUS: Take One Goat At A Time
So, the number one reason I see goat producers fail and sell out is because they didn’t ask enough questions. They stressed too much on their goat herd. And they didn’t focus on the problem at hand. And in turn, they didn’t learn how to diagnose the problem.
There’s a special acronym I like to relate to describe how to figure out why your goat is sick:
- First of all, Follow – Identify your goat’s ill symptoms.
- One – There’s usually one pinpoint causing your goat’s illness.
- Course – And there’s a treatment method for your goat’s illness.
- Until – Stick with the treatment protocol until your goat is better.
- Success – And just following those simple steps will help to diagnose and cure goats of their illness.
Focus. Find the root of the problem. And, no…It’s not always worms. There would be a number of causes.
So, pull yourself together and figure out the problem using those steps listed above. And let’s focus.
If you have a sick goat, you want to learn how to figure out why your goat is sick. And I’ve given you my tips for doing so. The main part of the equation is learning how to pinpoint what is making the goat sick.
When you master the art of why, you can then master how, when and where. Focus on one problem at a time and you will learn the art of how to figure out why your goat is sick.
Finally, by recording the temperature, sending in a fecal sample and consulting with people you trust, you’ll be well on your way to learning how to figure out why your goat is sick.
In conclusion, follow the steps to pin point the problem. Learn how to treat the problem at hand – The main problem causing the illness. Focus on one problem at one time to maintain your healthy herd.
~ Much Love ~