QUESTION – One of my younger goats has swollen looking knee joints and has like a ‘tremor’ going on all over him, like serious shivering? What is wrong with him?
ANSWER – It sounds like your young buck has a case of encephalitis (Caprine arthritis) This is a disease of goats caused by a Lentivirus. This disease is also called chronic arthritis-synovitis, big-knee, and caprine retrovirus disease. It causes chronic arthritis and sometimes progressive interstitial pneumonia and even chronic mastitis in adults and leukoencephalomyelitis in young kids. Other clinical signs include swelling of the carpal joints and lameness in adults. Other joints become involved as the disease progresses. Young goats can also show nervous signs such as tremors, ‘shivering’, ‘star-gazing’ and paralysis. This disease passes on when drinking colostrum, but can also happen through respiratory and other routes. To my knowledge there is no specific cure is known for this disease, however you can help improve the situation by providing your goat with quality feed, mineral and vitamin supplements, proper hoof trimming, comfortable sleeping quarters and give an anti-inflammatory drug like aspirin.