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Everything You Need To Know About Goat Health Care

Health issues and concerns come up daily on a farm. Goat-raisers should, therefore, do everything possible to stay on top of, and keep their goats in good health. Of course, taking preventative actions is best so as the ensure that diseases and illness don’t occur in the first place. However, in the case of an illness or disease, goat-raisers should be aware of the necessary steps to take to remedy the same.

Vital Signs To Look For That Indicate Something Is Wrong

Early detection is key to maintaining goat health. Goat-raisers must, therefore, pay keen attention to the appearance and behaviors of the goats in their care. Some of the signs to look out for include:

1. Shying Away From The Herd

A goat that is staying away from the rest of the herd may not be well. This is a common trait among goats that are either pregnant or unwell. In the event that the goat is not pregnant, then the latter may be true. Other physical signs that this sort of behavior may be coupled with, include not eating normally and having a droopy, abnormal posture. Abnormal posture can include hanging the head and having a slow or strained gait.

2. Excretion

Goat feces or droppings are usually great indicators as to whether a goat is healthy or not. Goat droppings that either clump together or are hard is a sign of illness. Clumping can be as a result of diarrhea while hard feces may indicate another kind of illness. In the event that the goat is scouring, something may also be wrong.

3. Swelling

Swollen feet or even swelling under the chin can indicate that a goat may be ill. Swelling in the throat could point to a goiter while swelling under the chin could indicate internal parasites. In addition to swelling in the chin and the throat, swelling in the feet is another tell-tale sign that something is wrong.

Developing A Goat Health Checklist

Having a few questions on hand to ask yourself while you inspect your goats from day to day can help make the process easier as well as help you to not overlook some of the possible signs of illness. Your checklist can include questions like:

– Do the feet and legs look swollen?
– Has a goat in the herd suddenly lost weight without explanation?
– Is there swelling under the chin or in the throat?
– Do any of the goats have an abnormal gait (indicated by limping or staggering, for example)?
– Does the coat or fur of the animal look dull or rough instead of smooth and shiny?
– Are there any goats with fluid discharges (blood, pus, mucus) coming from any of its orifices?

Common Goat Diseases

Free-ranging goat may quickly and easily pick up a host of diseases or parasites despite your best efforts to keep them safe. Below are a few common diseases and illness that goat-raisers should familiarize themselves with.

– Coccidia

This is the name given to intestinal worms that feed on baby goats (kids) in particular and slow their growth. It can sometimes take a little while to detect this condition.

– Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis Syndrome (CAE)

Caused by a virus, this condition is passed from adult goats to their kids. Symptoms include weakness in the back legs and a gradual loss of strength, muscles, and skills. The knees of adult goats may also be swollen. Afflicted goats do not recover from CAE.

– Mastitis

This condition is a bacteria-based inflammation that decolors the udder tissues and makes the milk produced appear abnormal. To prevent this inflammation, take extra care to be clean during milking by washing hands and udders during milking and in between moving from one doe to the next.

– Ketosis (pregnancy toxemia)

Ketosis affects pregnant does when the body suddenly demands extra energy coupled with the inability of the doe to consume enough food and nutrients to provide the same. The doe metabolizes her own fat stores, producing ketone bodies, becoming increasingly weaker, losing muscle, balance, and control, and could die. To prevent Ketosis, do not allow does to become overweight during pregnancy, and provide extra pounds of grains.

Related resources:

  1. Getting Rid Of Illnesses With Proper Goat Care
  2. The Most Common Diseases That Affect Goats
  3. How To Care For Goats

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