Medical Kit for New Goat Owners
The following products above can be found on https://www.valleyvet.com or at your local livestock/feed store.
There are many great blogs and forums on goat care. Sometimes, for a new goat owner, the amount of information out there can really be overwhelming. Just check out one of the forums and you will find 4-5 responses with different suggestions regarding illness, upkeep, and medical emergencies. When I first started raising goats I followed as many forums as I could and watched all the responses and suggestions. Over time I learned what worked with my little herd and what didn't. The following post is only a suggestion of what options are available. If you feel like you are in over your head with a goat sickness or emergency please see a vet.
5 Steps to Follow For Good Goat Health
Step #1 Treat your goats right!
Goats Don't Eat Tin Cans
Your goats need proper nutrition to stay healthy. Poor feeding practices and stress can trigger sickness. Goats also need adequate shelter. Believe it or not goats like cleanliness and won't generally eat hay that has been stepped on. Invest in a hay feeder or hag bag (do not use the netted kind...goats can get caught in them and strangle themselves). Keep their water clean and always available. Feed high quality feed for your animals and use the recommendations from the breeder on feed regimes. Always provide loose minerals and baking soda free choice.
Step #2 Observe your goats every day.
If one of your goats starts to feel ill you will notice if you observe your goats daily. Goats are fun loving and spirited animals. If they avoid eye contact, tuck in their tails and stand off in the corner something is wrong. If they start to lose interest in their favorite thing (food) something might be wrong.
Step #3 Be Prepared
I offer consulting for new goat owners. If something isn't right with your goat you might end up calling me and asking for help. The most important thing to do when your goat is sick is to act quickly. Not being prepared with the right tools can sometimes result in a dead goat. Honestly, I can't stress the thermometer enough. You can buy the damn things at the dollar store! I have had sooo many calls from people asking me about their sick goat and treatment gets delayed because they don't have a $1.00 thermometer. Delay in treatment means a sicker goat. Don't be that person. BUY a THERMOMETER. WRITE IN SHARPIE "GOATS ONLY" cause you obviously don't want to make that mistake......
Drenching gun (turkey baster in a pinch)
Injectable Antibiotic safe for goats
Step #4 Start with the simple and work your way down based on success of treatment.
Take the goats temperature (it should be between 102-103.5) If it is high and the goat has a fever then in is time to break out the antibiotics. I don't use antibiotics very often, really only as the last resort but I don't mess around with goats with a temperature. Also, Sub temperature...(below 102) may mean rumen issues which is even more of an emergency. My favorite site that deals with all kinds of goat related medical issues is from Fisaco Farms. I would encourage any new goat owner to check out their site.
Could be bloat, drench that goat with some baking soda mixed with water. Drenching is the term used for forcing the goat to drink it using a drenching gun or turkey baster. You can also add a little oil to the mixture but just baking soda water has cured many upset stomachs.
Read about bloat here. It is a nasty thing that can kill a goat fast. It doesn't hurt them to give them baking soda..so I usually just do this as a precaution any time I see they are off.
When was the last time the goat was wormed? If it was more than 3 months ago you should also worm them, just in case. Another way to check if it is worms is the FAMACHA method. Check their eyelids, if they are salmon pink they are doing good. If they are pale pink or white they have a serious worm problem.
Scours: the poops
I usually treat for coccidiosis if I the goat has not had a recent treatment. You can also take a fecal sample to your vet or do one of your own (fecal sample of your goat's poop, not your own fecal sample...that is pretty gross). See the link below for treatment options.
Poop can tell you a lot about the health of your goat. If your goat has the runs it could be one of the following:
Step #5 Be patient and wait for results.
Treatment can sometimes take 12-24 hours to show success. My general rule of thumb is that if the animal does not show improvement within 24 hours of treatment (48 for antibiotics) then you should contact someone who may be able to further help you troubleshoot the condition. ( A good Vet is a great resource!)