Common Diseases of Goats - Management and Nutrition - MSD Veterinary Manual (2022)

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Overview of Health-Management Interaction: Goats Perinatal Management of Goats Nutrition of Goats Common Diseases of Goats

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Last full review/revision Jan 2014 | Content last modified Jun 2016

Goats harbor several species of coccidia but not all exhibit clinical coccidiosis ( see Coccidiosis Coccidiosis ). Adult goats shed coccidia in feces, contaminate the environment, and infect the newborn. As infection pressure builds up in the pens, morbidity in kids born later increases. Signs include diarrhea or pasty feces, loss of condition, general frailness, and failure to grow. In peracute cases, kids may die without clinical signs. Rotating all the kids through one or two pens is dangerous. To help prevent coccidiosis in artificially reared dairy goats, the kids should be put in small, age-matched groups in outside, portable pens that are moved to clean ground periodically. Eradication is not feasible, but infection can be controlled through good management practices. Coccidiostats added to the water or feed are adjuncts to a management control program and not substitutes. Chronic coccidiosis is one of the main causes of poor growth in kids and is responsible for the uneconomical practice of delaying breeding for a year until the goat has reached adequate size (70 lb [32 kg] for dairy breeds). In Angora goats kept extensively, the problem is seen at weaning, when the kids are kept in smaller lots and fed supplement on the ground.

In pastured and free-ranging goats, helminthiasis can assume great clinical significance. GI nematodiasis, liver fluke infestation, and lungworm infections all may be seen. Age-related resistance to parasitism in goats is weak relative to that in other ruminants. Although most common in yearlings during their first season on pasture, clinical parasitism may be seen in adults as well. Poor growth, weight loss, diarrhea, a scruffy hair coat, signs of anemia, and intermandibular edema (bottle jaw) may be seen with GI parasitism or liver fluke disease. Haemonchus contortus infection has emerged as a major constraint in the expanding meat goat industry in the southeastern USA. Persistent coughing in late summer and autumn is the usual presentation of lungworms; secondary bacterial pneumonia with fever is a common sequela. Parasitism is insidious on hobby farms, where the problem may not exist for several years and then suddenly explodes as goat numbers continue to increase and facilities become overstocked. Tapeworm proglottids are often noted in goat feces by owners. Although tapeworms are not generally considered to be of clinical importance, their discovery can be used to review the subject of helminthiasis with owners and develop an overall parasite control program ( see Gastrointestinal Parasites of Sheep and Goats Gastrointestinal Parasites of Sheep and Goats Many species of nematodes and cestodes cause parasitic gastritis and enteritis in sheep and goats. The most important of these are Haemonchus contortus, Teladorsagia (Ostertagia) circumcincta... read more ).

Clostridium perfringens type D can be fatal, and it is not always associated with the classic “change in quality and quantity of feed.” In problem herds, vaccination every 4–6 mo may be necessary, because goats may not maintain protective immunity as long as sheep or cattle when given the same commercial vaccines. Vaccination prevents the acute death syndrome, but occasionally even vaccinated goats may develop acute enteritis. Affected goats develop severe diarrhea and profound depression; milk yield drops abruptly. Death may result in 24 hr. Treatment involves administration of antitoxin, analgesics, fluid therapy, correction of acidosis, and antibiotics.

Vaccination for contagious ecthyma (sore mouth, see Contagious Ecthyma Contagious Ecthyma ) is not indicated unless the disease exists on the premises. The main problems with infected kids are difficulty in nursing, spreading lesions to the does’ udders or the assistants’ hands, and attendance at goat shows being disallowed. Live virus vaccine is used by scarifying the skin (eg, inside the thighs or under the tail) and painting on the vaccine. Both natural lesions and those resulting from vaccination may last as long as 4 wk, but after the scabs have dropped off, the goats can go to shows.

Chronic wasting is seen quite frequently; it is not a single disease but a syndrome. Generally, if a goat is well fed, kept in a stress-free environment, and has good teeth and a low parasite load, it should thrive and produce. If it does not, and begins “wasting,” it should be culled immediately. The major causes of chronic wasting include poor nutrition, parasitism, dental problems, paratuberculosis, internal visceral abscesses due to Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis (ovis) or Trueperella pyogenes, locomotor problems (particularly arthritis due to retrovirus infection [CAE virus]), and chronic hidden infections such as metritis, peritonitis, or pneumonia. Tumors are occasionally diagnosed in older goats. These diseases are rarely treatable, and many are contagious; this is the basis for the strict culling policy, which is vital to the overall productivity of a herd.

Paratuberculosis in goats differs from that in cattle ( see Paratuberculosis in Ruminants Paratuberculosis in Ruminants Paratuberculosis, caused by Mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis , is a chronic, contagious granulomatous enteritis characterized in cattle and other ruminants by progressive weight loss... read more ); gross postmortem lesions are less pronounced, and profuse diarrhea occurs less commonly in goats until right before death. Consequently, many cases may go undiagnosed until necropsy. The ileocecal node is the most rewarding tissue for bacteriologic culture and histopathology. Diagnostic testing for caprine paratuberculosis includes agar gel immunodiffusion, pooled liquid fecal culture, direct fecal PCR, and ELISA. The control program for paratuberculosis in goats is similar to that in cattle.

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Caprine arthritis and encephalitis (CAE, see Caprine Arthritis and Encephalitis Caprine Arthritis and Encephalitis ) virus has emerged as an important infectious agent of intensively raised dairy goats, but all breeds of goats are susceptible to this retrovirus. CAE infection in goats can manifest in numerous ways: subclinical, persistent infection; a progressive paresis of young goats 2–12 mo old; agalactia with a firm, noninflamed udder at parturition in bred females; or an arthritic condition with pain and swollen joints in adults. A chronic, progressive interstitial pneumonia or a wasting syndrome may also be seen in adults. CAE infection has been considered primarily to be spread from dam to offspring through virus-laden colostrum and milk, and control programs have been aimed at separating the newborns from the adult population and feeding heat-treated colostrum and pasteurized milk. Infection may persist in herds in which this is practiced due to horizontal transmission between adults. Regular testing and rigorous culling of all seropositive goats, or strict segregation of seropositive and seronegative goats, must be practiced if disease eradication is the goal.

For mastitis in goats, see Mastitis in Goats Mastitis in Goats The organisms that infect the udder of does are similar to those in cows. Coagulase-negative staphylococci are generally the most prevalent and can cause persistent infections that result in... read more .

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FAQs

What is the most common cause of death in goats? ›

The most frequent causes of mortality were, in decreasing order: C. perfringens type D enterotoxemia (17.1% of the submitted animals), pneumonia (13.8%), paratuberculosis (10.5%), listeriosis (6.6%), pregnancy toxemia (5.3%), caprine arthritis-encephalitis (4.6%), and caseous lymphadenitis (3.9%).

What diseases can you get from a goat? ›

Other Diseases: Brucellosis, salmonellosis, giardiasis are other diseases that can be transmitted through contact with goats. In humans, these diseases initially exhibit as an acute gastrointestinal illness (nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea).

What causes goats to get sick? ›

Several but not all sources of this could be disease, feeding milk replacers, coccidia or other parasites, bacteria, quick feed changes, or overeating on something causing acidosis or enterotoxemia. Getting into something toxic to the goat, including moldy feeds, also causes the runs.

What are the common diseases found in goat and sheep? ›

Zoonotic Diseases from Sheep/Goats
  • Rabies. Rabies is a severe, viral disease that can affect all mammals, including sheep and goats. ...
  • Contagious Ecthyma (Soremouth) ...
  • Ringworm (Dermatophytosis) ...
  • Chlamydiosis. ...
  • Campylobacteriosis. ...
  • Listeriosis. ...
  • Salmonella. ...
  • Q Fever (Query Fever, Coxiellosis)

How do you control goat disease? ›

Health management is more important especially worm load. Hence the kids must be dewormed at first month of age and then once in a month upto 6 months of age. Ecoto-parasites must be treated carefully because it not only affect the growth and also affect skin quality.

What disease kills goats? ›

Johne's (“YO-knees”) disease is a fatal gastrointestinal disease of goats and other ruminants (including cattle, sheep, elk, deer, and bison) that is caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP).

What food kills goats? ›

A diet heavy in grain, bread or other “junk” foods can alter the rumen's pH to a level that kills the organisms and sickens your goat. Your goat needs these bacteria to digest its food. Goats adore woody browse, but they also enjoy eating other plants.

What is poisonous for goats to eat? ›

Some examples of poisonous plants include azaleas, China berries, sumac, dog fennel, bracken fern, curly dock, eastern baccharis, honeysuckle, nightshade, pokeweed, red root pigweed, black cherry, Virginia creeper, and crotalaria. Please see Goat Pastures Poisonous Plants.

What are the 3 types of internal parasites in goats and sheep? ›

The most common internal parasites in sheep and goats are: lung worms (Dictyocaulus spp. or Muellerius capillaris); stomach worms (Haemonchus contortus, commonly called barber pole worm); liver flukes (Fasciola hepatica); and intestinal parasites, the most common of which are coccidia (Eimeria or Isospora).

What are 3 signs of a sick goat? ›

How to tell if your goat is sick
  • Diarrhea! constipation (esp. in kids)
  • Blood in stool or urine.
  • Vomiting.
  • Nasal/ocular discharge.
  • Abnormal breathing.
  • Abnormal swelling or bleeding especially.
  • around the jaw, throat, ears, shoulders, knees, udder, and hooves.
  • Paralysis.

What causes fever in goats? ›

Q fever is a disease caused by the bacteria Coxiella burnetii. This bacteria naturally infects some animals, such as goats, sheep, and cattle. C. burnetii bacteria are found in the birth products (i.e. placenta, amniotic fluid), urine, feces, and milk of infected animals.

What are the symptoms of disease in goats? ›

The three major symptoms of CA are mastitis, arthritis, and keratoconjunctivitis. Infected goats and sheep can have severe lameness as a result of the polyarthritis, hot swollen joints, weight loss, and fever. Some animals develop diarrhea and increased respiratory rates.

What causes diarrhea in goats? ›

WHAT IS DIARRHOEA AND WHAT CAUSES IT? When sheep and goats have stomach diseases their droppings usually become soft, watery and smelly. There are many conditions that cause diarrhoea. These include colibacillosis, paratyphoid, Johne's disease, Rift Valley fever (Slenkdalkoors), coccidiosis, worms and poisonous plants.

What are signs of copper deficiency in goats? ›

The earliest signs of copper deficiency are a faded coat, fish tail (balding tail tip), and losing hair on the face, especially around the eyes or the bridge of the nose. A black goat turns a rusty color; red goats turn gold; gold goats turn cream; and cream goats turn white.

What are the 10 illnesses of sheep? ›

Sheep diseases
  • Flystrike after floods. There are management options for reducing flystrike during heavy summer rains and flood. ...
  • Footrot in sheep. ...
  • Ovine Johne's Disease (OJD) ...
  • Scabby mouth (Orf) ...
  • Pneumonia and pleurisy in lambs. ...
  • Barber's pole worm. ...
  • Listeriosis. ...
  • Ovine mouth pathology survey.

What are some common diseases of sheep? ›

The most common clostridial diseases that affect sheep are tetanus, blackleg, malignant oedema (blood poisoning), and pulpy kidney (which affects lambs).

Which medicine is used for goat fever? ›

Naxcel® (Ceftiofur Sodium) is FDA-approved to treat sheep and goats for respiratory disease (pneumonia); however, its use is restricted to veterinarians [2].

What is the best vaccine for goats? ›

Goats. The most important “core” vaccine that should be used in goats is CD-T, the combined vaccine for Clostridium perfringens types C and D, plus tetanus. Pregnant does should receive the vaccine 30 days before birth.

How do you treat pneumonia in goats? ›

For bacterial pneumonia, give antibiotics. Naxcel is labeled for goats and is considered the drug of choice for the most common bacterial pneumonias. It is a prescription drug with a short shelf life. Make sure to give the whole course of antibiotics, according to veterinarian instructions.

How do you treat a bacterial infection in goats? ›

Ailing animals in early stages of infection can be treated with penicillin or oxytetracycline or other long-acting antibiotics. An anthrax antiserum may result in recovery if used in early stages. Vaccination should follow 7–10 days after the conclusion of antibiotic therapy [4].

What is coccidiosis in goats? ›

Coccidiosis is the most common cause of diarrhea in goats between 3 weeks and 5 months of age. This is especially true when goats are housed in confinement. Coccidiosis commonly strikes young goats shortly after weaning because of the stress of being suddenly separated from their dam.

What is coccidiosis? ›

Coccidiosis is caused by protozoan parasites from the genus Eimeria. These parasites are host-specific, and many species occupy a specific segment of the intestinal tract. Coccidiosis may be one of the most common diseases affecting small flocks around the world, causing loss in performance and even mortality.

What medications do goats need? ›

Medications Approved for Use in Goats
DRUGTRADE NAMESPECIES
AlbendazoleValbazenGoats
Ceftiofur SodiumNaxcelGoats
DecoquinateDeccoxGoats
FenbendazolePanacur 10% SuspensionGoats
9 more rows
14 Aug 2019

What is sweet feed for goats? ›

Sweet feed is a mix of whole grains or pelleted food tossed with molasses. The molasses makes the grain very palatable to goats; in fact, they can become obsessed with it!

What fruits can goats eat? ›

Tasty Treats

Goats also enjoy munching on healthy fruits and vegetables such as watermelon, pears, peaches, bananas, grapes, carrots, lettuce, celery, pumpkin, squash, and spinach. Before feeding fruits and veggies, make sure that all pieces are small enough to prevent choking.

Can goats eat bananas? ›

Plenty of new goat owners wonder if goats will love bananas as much as they do. And the answer is yes, goats love bananas. Luckily bananas are healthy for your goats as well.

What leaves can goats eat? ›

As browsers, goats are designed to eat, and prefer, brush and trees more than grass.
...
  • African Rue.
  • Andromeda (related to foxglove)
  • Avocado- South American Avocado leaves/tree such as Haas or crosses with Haas.
  • Avocado- Fuarte (definitely)
  • Azalea.
  • Brouwer's Beauty Andromeda.
  • Boxwood.
  • Burning Bush berries.

Can goats eat bread? ›

In small quantities, bread is ok for goats to consume, but the primary source of their diet should come from hay, grass, and vegetables. Like sheep, cattle, deer, and elk, goats are ruminant animals.

Can goats eat ginger? ›

Garlic Ginger Paste for Goats (or others): Immune Booster and Natural Dewormer! This easy to make paste will give your animals extra immunity when sick and can be used as a natural weekly prevention for worms and parasites. Garlic, Ginger, Cayenne and more!

What are 5 internal parasites? ›

Intestinal parasites that remain prevalent in the United States include Enterobius vermicularis, Giardia lamblia, Ancylostoma duodenale, Necator americanus, and Entamoeba histolytica.

What are the symptoms of worms in goats? ›

Worms can kill young and old goats, and contribute to poor growth rates, an unthrifty appearance, coughing, diarrhea, and in severe cases, bottle jaw. Worms not only kill both young and old goats, they contribute to poor growth rates, an unthrifty appearance, coughing, diarrhea, and, in severe cases, bottle jaw.

How do you treat worms in goats? ›

Tramisol, levamisole and ivermectin are among the more popular chemical products for sheep; for goats, popular chemical products include albendazole, fenbendazole, ivermectin, levamisole and moxidectrin. Moxidectin will kill barber pole worm larvae for at least two weeks after drenching.

How do you check a goat's temperature? ›

Straddle the goat, if possible, so that you are looking at the hindquarters. Lift the tail and gently insert the thermometer under the tail partway into the rectum and hold it there for 3 minutes. Remove thermometer and read the results. Normal is 101.5-103.5°F.

What do you feed a goat with diarrhea? ›

Offer electrolytes in addition to the goat's normal milk diet.” Offer electrolytes one to three times a day. Continue to feed them for two to three days until scours have stopped and hydration is normal, or as directed by your veterinarian. Remember to offer plenty of clean, fresh water.

Why do goats cough? ›

When a goat has a runny nose or cough, people often assume it has a respiratory infection or lungworms. But those symptoms could be caused by something as simple as dust from hay or living on a gravel road.

What is leptospirosis disease? ›

Leptospirosis is a rare bacterial infection we get from animals. It's spread through their urine, especially from dogs, rodents, and farm animals. They may not have any symptoms, but they can be carriers. In most cases, leptospirosis is unpleasant but not life-threatening, like a case of the flu.

Can goats get salmonella? ›

Abstract. Three episodes of salmonellosis in goats were similar to the disease described in neonatal calves, 2- to 4-week-old calves, and adult cattle. However, bloody diarrhea so often associated with salmonellosis in other animals was not seen in any of the goats.

Why would a goat stop eating? ›

If the goat stops eating normally, the animal is probably sick. Going "off feed" is one of the few ways a goat can tell you it does not feel well. Teeth grinding is also a sign of illness in goats. You can easily hear this unpleasant noise and can tell that the goat is uncomfortable and needs your attention.

How do you prevent goat lice? ›

Treatment: Pyrethrins and pyrethroids are labeled for control of lice in sheep and goats. Shearing may be necessary to achieve effective louse control on sheep and goats. Re-treatment is often necessary.

What is goat bloat? ›

What is bloat in goats? Bloat is the symptom that occurs when a ruminant animal cannot burp. The rumen produces a lot of gas from the fermentation of food, and goats (as well as all other ruminants) normally get rid of this gas by belching.

What is a natural antibiotic for goats? ›

Pau d' arco is also a strong antibiotic and antiviral herb, so it would be most useful for a new arrival that may be harboring any illness. If the stress of kidding has a doe looking anemic, or she has been exposed to a goat that is not well, then she too may get some of this same herb.

What causes constipation in goats? ›

According to Goat Medicine, second edition, by Smith and Sherman, the reasons for constipation in goats, in general, are intestinal blockage, pregnancy toxemia, coccidiosis, poisoning, liver damage, dehydration, or lack of fiber in the diet.

How do you treat E coli in goats? ›

Antibiotics are used for both treatment and prevention of E. coli scours in lambs. Spectinomycin oral pig scours medicine is commonly used, though it is not approved for sheep and goats. Ewes and does can be vaccinated with bovine E.

What are the common vitamin and mineral deficiency in goats and what are the symptoms? ›

Lack of thiamine (Vitamin B1) can cause any of the following: anorexia, anemia, tremors, odd gait, diarrhea, infertility, blindness, full-body weakness, dermatitis, “goat polio” causing severe neurological problems, and low immune system.

What causes weak legs in goats? ›

White muscle disease (WMD) is caused by a deficiency of selenium and/or vitamin E. It is a degenerative muscle disease found in all large animals including sheep and goats.

What can copper deficiency cause in goats? ›

Copper (Cu) 10 – 80 ppm

Deficiency symptoms include anemia, bleached looking and rough hair coat, diarrhea and weight loss. Young goats may experience progressive incoordination and paralysis, especially in the rear legs.

What are 3 signs of a sick goat? ›

How to tell if your goat is sick
  • Diarrhea! constipation (esp. in kids)
  • Blood in stool or urine.
  • Vomiting.
  • Nasal/ocular discharge.
  • Abnormal breathing.
  • Abnormal swelling or bleeding especially.
  • around the jaw, throat, ears, shoulders, knees, udder, and hooves.
  • Paralysis.

What the disease that kills goat? ›

Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR), also known as sheep and goat plague, is a highly contagious animal disease affecting domestic and wild small ruminants. It is caused by a virus belonging to the genus Morbillivirus, family Paramixoviridae.

What are the signs of brucellosis in goats? ›

In sheep and goats the main signs of brucellosis are:
  • abortions in the herd.
  • swollen udders due to infection of the mammary glands (milk producing organs)
  • swollen testicles.
  • nervousness.
  • fever.
26 Aug 2014

What are the signs of polio in goats? ›

Goats appear dull and depressed and unable to coordinate muscular movements. They may also show signs of increased aggression, muscle tremors, and temporary blindness that can last 2 to 3 weeks. Body temperature, pulse, and respiration rates can be increased. Rumen motility is maintained normally.

What are the symptoms of disease in goats? ›

The three major symptoms of CA are mastitis, arthritis, and keratoconjunctivitis. Infected goats and sheep can have severe lameness as a result of the polyarthritis, hot swollen joints, weight loss, and fever. Some animals develop diarrhea and increased respiratory rates.

What are signs of copper deficiency in goats? ›

The earliest signs of copper deficiency are a faded coat, fish tail (balding tail tip), and losing hair on the face, especially around the eyes or the bridge of the nose. A black goat turns a rusty color; red goats turn gold; gold goats turn cream; and cream goats turn white.

How do you treat pneumonia in goats? ›

Treatment: Ceftiofur is the only FDA-approved antibiotic to treat caprine pneumonia. The daily dosage is 0.5 to 1.0 mg/lb body weight injected intramuscula.

What is the best vaccine for goats? ›

Goats. The most important “core” vaccine that should be used in goats is CD-T, the combined vaccine for Clostridium perfringens types C and D, plus tetanus. Pregnant does should receive the vaccine 30 days before birth.

What is coccidiosis in goats? ›

Coccidiosis is the most common cause of diarrhea in goats between 3 weeks and 5 months of age. This is especially true when goats are housed in confinement. Coccidiosis commonly strikes young goats shortly after weaning because of the stress of being suddenly separated from their dam.

What is Q fever in goats? ›

Q fever is a disease caused by the bacteria Coxiella burnetii. This bacteria naturally infects some animals, such as goats, sheep, and cattle. C. burnetii bacteria are found in the birth products (i.e. placenta, amniotic fluid), urine, feces, and milk of infected animals.

What causes brucellosis in goats? ›

The major sources of infection are reproductive (mainly fetal and placental) secretions and mammary secretions (milk) from infected animals. Brucellosis can be transmitted through ingestion of or contact with aborted fetuses and infected kids or lambs.

What is the test for brucellosis? ›

CDC utilizes a test called the Brucella microagglutination test (BMAT), a modified version of the serum (tube) agglutination test (SAT), that can detect antibodies to Brucella species – abortus, melitensis or suis.

What is the leptospirosis? ›

Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that affects humans and animals. It is caused by bacteria of the genus Leptospira. In humans, it can cause a wide range of symptoms, some of which may be mistaken for other diseases. Some infected persons, however, may have no symptoms at all.

What causes vitamin B deficiency in goats? ›

High levels of sulphates (Sulpher) in the diet such as goats grazing lucerne or fed concentrate diets that contain molasses. Some water sources are also high in sulphur. Any illness or condition that leads to a goat not eating can cause the rumen to function poorly, resulting in a drop in B vitamin production.

What is white muscle disease in goats? ›

White muscle disease (WMD) is caused by a deficiency of selenium and/or vitamin E. It is a degenerative muscle disease found in all large animals including sheep and goats.

Can you give vitamin B complex orally to goats? ›

For use as a supplemental source of B Complex Vitamins in Goats, Sheep and Calves. Fortified to support appetite, digestion and energy levels. Administer during kidding, vaccinating, post antibiotic, deworming, weaning, diminished feed intake and other stressful events.

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