ENCEPHALITIS

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.

DISINFECTANTS FOR GOAT FARM WORK

If you have a surgical or a laboratory area on your farm then the suitable and recommended disinfectants are follows.

  1. 10% solution of any household bleach
  2. 10% solution of H2O2
  3. 5-10% solution of Lysol concentrate
  4. 5-10% Dettol concentrate

For your housing facilities of which you can use a normal manual dedicated backpack sprayer or a mechanized one then the suitable and recommended disinfectants are follows.

  1. 5% solution of household bleach
  2. 5% solution of H2O2
  3. 5% solution of Lysol concentrate
  4. 5-10% Dettol concentrate

The following are NOT appropriate disinfectants:

  1. Ethanol based
  2. Phenol based
  3. Formalin based

PALPATION OF A BUCK’S TESTICLES

I apologize if some of you are not familiar with some of the terms used in this web log. Please let me know if there is anything else you need ‘translated’. Now this is the procedure on how to perform a palpation of goat’s testicles(testis).

The Buck is held (you will need someone to help you) in a standing position. Place one hand on each side at the base of the scrotum. Feel for the spermatic cords between your thumb and fingers and gradually move down to the epididymis. Without excessive pressure, most abnormalities can be felt for such as swelling or hardness. A comparison between the testicles (testis) can be made by simultaneously using both hands, one on each side.


The simple diagram should show you where everything mentioned is.

GOAT GRINDING TEETH

QUESTION - Hi. My goat makes a strange sound with it’s teeth. It sounds like it is grinding the teeth. It also seems to be off food. Please help?

ANSWER – Sorry to hear your goat is not doing well. Teeth grinding is a sure sign that all is not good. The first thing you should do is to take your goats temperature. Then call your veterinarian and tell him/her as much as you can tell what your goat has been up to and give the temperature reading (that will be the first thing they will ask you) I am sorry to be not of much help unless you give me more information as it could range from a fractured bone, bloat or even a snake bite. Goats will grind their teeth when they are in pain and extreme discomfort.

If you do not know how to take your goats temperature, you can refer to this post on ‘How To Take Your Goats Temperature’

EXTERNAL PARASITES IN GOATS

External parasites can be as big of a problem as internal parasites and they can cause problems with your goats. The below will give you a better understanding on mites that affect goats.

Mites belong to the family class which includes spiders and ticks. Like spiders, mites have 4 pair of legs. Mites are usually microscopic in size and their body and legs are covered with long hairs. Goats can be host to three different types of mites, the non-burrowing Psorptes and Chorioptes mites and the Sarcoptic mites that burrow into the skin.

Psorptes Mites

Infections of Psorptes mites, also known and called mange or scab mites usually start on the shoulders the back or the tail area. These mites prefer areas that are well covered by hair. As the course of the infection develops they will spread to other part of the body. Psorptes cuniculi mites (which at most times affect rabbits) prefer to live inside the ears. This is a very contagious mite.

Psorptes mites do not burrow into the skin. These mites have piercing mouth parts that they use to puncture the skin and to suck lymph. This stimulates an immune reaction by the host and the area swells and serous fluid will seep to the surface creating a crust and scabs. The hair or wool will fall out or the goat will pull it out when biting at the very itchy lesions.

These Psorptes mites do not prefer to live on the bare crusty patches so they will migrate to the edges extending the infection outward. Skin scrapings to identify this mite needs to be made at the edges of the crusty lesions. Long standing infections can cause weight loss. Psorptes mites are identified by their long, segmented pedicles.

The life cycle is typical of most Psorptes mites where the female lays eggs at the edges of crusty lesions hatching in 1 to 3 days. If eggs are laid away from the skin they take longer to hatch or may die. Larvae feed for several days after hatching then molt to a nymph stage. These nymphs will molt in another 3 to 4 days into young females or males where usually there are about twice as many females than males. Mating takes place shortly after the molt and lasts only for 1 day or less. The female mite will molt again about 2 days later then will begin laying eggs in another day. This whole cycle takes only 9 days after she first hatched from the egg. The female will live for 30 to 40 days, laying about 5 eggs every day.

Chorioptes Mites

This type of mite commonly called a mange mite, causes tail or foot mange and it does not burrow into the skin. Chorioptes mites are not species specific. Different species of this genus can be found on cattle, sheep and goats and the different species can interbreed with each other. Although the species that usually infect goats is called Chorioptes caprae, it is probably the same as the species that infects sheep and cattle.

Infections of Chorioptes caprae the species that infects goats usually begins on the lower legs, later spreading to the hindquarters. Infections cause itching, and crust and scab formation. The life cycle is very similar to Psorptes mites, but is completed in about 3 weeks.

Sarcoptes Mites

This type of mange mite burrows into the skin often spending the entire life cycle within burrows. Sarcoptes scabei is the species that infects most mammals. An infection begins in hairless regions or regions of short hair usually on the face or ears.

The female Sarcoptes scabei burrows into the skin, and lays 40 to 50 eggs, 4 to 5 a day. The eggs hatch in 3 to 5 days producing six-legged larva. The larva leaves the breeding tunnels and wanders on the skin or remains in the breeding tunnels and develops to the nymph stage. Those that reach the surface may die, or they can make shallow pockets in the skin tissue to feed and molt to several nymph stages which can also wander on the surface and make new pockets or extend the molting tunnels. Adult males and females form about 17 days after the eggs were first laid.

The female remains in her molting pocket until fertilized by a male then extends it into a breeding tunnel, or returns to the skin surface to create a new tunnel and then begins laying eggs. Mature females do not live much longer than a month. Wandering larvae, nymphs and fertilized females spread the infection on the host and to other hosts. They cannot survive off the host for more than a few days.

As they pierce the skin to feed on lymph fluid and skin cells they cause a great deal of irritation, itching, and scratching which worsens the condition. Crusts form on the skin and then the skin becomes thickened and wrinkled and the hair falls out. Lesions in the skin begin to develop in just a few days after infection, but the intense itching typical of Sarcoptic mite infection does not begin for a month or so later. The fecal pellets of the mite are responsible for the host inflammatory response. These mites prefer areas where there isn’t much hair such as the face of goats and ears although in long standing infections the mites can spread to all parts of the body.

The signs include bare skin, which is thick and wrinkled and covered in dry crusts. Early in the infection small raised red bumps and fresh exudates can be seen. To identify these mites in the microscope deep scrapings of skin must be made down to the point of drawing blood. It still might be difficult to find live mites in the burrows.

Psorergates Species

Goats may rarely get infections of this mite commonly called an itch mite. Found more commonly on sheep, these very tiny, round mites — about half the size of a Sarcoptes mite — spread very slowly over the course of 3 to 4 years on the individual animal. It can cause a mild irritation, dry, scaly skin and weaking of the wool in sheep. Beware – Can infect humans!

Treatment

Treatment with Ivermectin injections twice at three week intervals will usually control all of these mites. On giving injections you may find some useful information here, here, here and here.

GOAT HOOF REFERENCE POINTS

AREA + DESCRIPTION

0. Interdigital Region (Skin)

1. White Line (Hoof Wall)

2. White Line (Hoof Wall)

3. White Line (heel bulb Junction)

4. Caudal Aspect of the Sole

5. Anterior Aspect of the Sole

6. Heel Bulb

7. Hoof Wall (Interior ½ of Claw)

8. Hoof Wall (Posterior ½ of Claw)

9. Coronary Band and Skin

10. Skin Above and Between Heels

On how to trim Goat Hoofs, click HERE.

ACIDOSIS

QUESTION – Hello! My goat is sick. Its head is hanging and looks drunk. It sounds like it is grinding its teeth and there is some swelling on the left side. Any advice? Thanks!

ANSWER – Hello there. It sounds like your goat has a case of Acidosis. Your email mentioned that she raided the pellet bin and must have gorged herself. Acidosis occurs after accidentally taking in large quantities of concentrate feed. Stop access to food. Drench your goat with something alkaline such as bicarbonate of soda. 2-3 ounces will help neutralize acid. Try walking goat and contact your veterinarian as needed

The rumen micro flora can only handle gradual changes in forage to grain ratio if your proportion changes too quickly, then lactic acidosis will develop. Feeding grain before forage also can cause lactic acidosis. Forage should be fed before grain and the daily amount divided into at least 3 separate feedings. A total mixed ration (TMR) helps keep the rumen flora happy by not overwhelming them with carbohydrates at any one time. Feed changes need to be made gradually over several days so the flora have time to adapt. The type of rumen bacteria change to gram positive from gram negative and lactic acid is produced and this lowers the pH of the rumen. Once below 5.5, protozoa and bacteria start to die. The acid that gets absorbed creates general acidosis. If the pH is low enough, the rumen gets “burned” and even if the goat survives, it can get rumen and liver infections from bacteria or fungi. Fiber is important in the diet as well as it stimulates the goat to chew, which thus produces alkaline saliva which serves to buffer the rumen. Diets with little fiber or chopped too finely are more at risk of lactic acidosis. Remember, before anything else your goat should be fed (three times a day) before being offered any grain.

WHEN WILL MY DOE GIVE BIRTH

Place you hand on your doe’s spine right where it starts to angle down, by putting your fingers on one side of the spine and your thumb on the other side. Now run your fingers slowly down her spine toward the tail, feeling along the spine and the areas just to the sides of the spine. As you run your fingers down the spine, you will feel the ligaments which are located on either side of your doe’s spine, about halfway between where her back starts to slope down and her tail. The ligaments seem to come out of the spine and slant down toward her pin bones. They feel similar to the size of pencils. If you can’t find them, keep trying, going slowly down the spine. You need to learn to feel for the ligaments because as the birth nears, the ligaments loosen. At first they will feel quite hard but then they will gradually start to soften and once it feels like they’re “gone” labor is close at hand.


As you feel for the ligaments you’ll also be feeling for the physical changes in the tail head. As labor drawing near, the area along the spine will seem to sink and the tail head seems to rise. Get used to running your hand down your doe’s spine to check the ligaments and the raising of the tail head. If you no longer feel the ligaments and you can practically feel and touch your fingers and thumb together around her tail head, your doe will probably kid sometime within the next 24 – 48 hours.

PARASITES IN GOATS

The Parasite is an organism living in or on another living organism, obtaining from it part or all of its organic nutriment, and causing some degree of real damage to its host, literally suck the life out of your goat, can damage the gut and intestine, ultimately to death.

Worming your goats when not needed wastes your time, energy, and money, plus increases the chance of building resistance to the wormers. Worming to late, the parasites may have already caused damage in your goats digestive system, causing anemia, stunting their growth, causing weight loss, decreased milk production, or worse.

Fecal testing at regular intervals enables you to monitor the parasite infestation in your herd, and treat when appropriate, avoiding problems, saving money, increasing profit, and minimizing losses. I will write later on how to do your own fecal examination and the tools you will need to have ready.

Please find below the most common parasites you can find in Goats (and Sheep). Be aware that you cannot always see signs of lungworms in a fecal sample, due to the fact that mature Lungworms reside in the lungs and not the digestive system hence your goat may have lungworms and it not show up in a fecal sample.

Lungworm dictyocaulus filaria
These eggs usually hatch before they leave the host in the feces, so you may not find traces of Lungworm in the fecal sample, even if the goat does indeed have Lungworms.

Tape Worm moniezia expansa

Egg

Adult

Thread Necked Nematode nematodirus spathiger

Liver Fluke Eggs fasciola hepatica

Coccidia

Twisted Stomach Worm aka Barberpole Worm haemonchus contortus

Brown Stomach Worm marshallagia marshalli

Thread Worm strongyloides papillosus

Doing you own fecal testing is not all that hard. It is a very useful skill to have in caring for your Goats.There is an investment you must make for the tools for this but these will pay for themselves very quickly since there will no longer be a need to take fecal samples to a vet to find out if you have a worm problem.

JAMNAPARI BUCK

This Jamnapari buck is a poor representation of its breed. Taken outside Kuching, Sarawak, this is the kind of standards that are prevalent amongst most goat farms there. At most times it is not the fault of the misinformed farmer that they choose to upkeep such low standards but rather are a victim of sellers who promote these as full blooded Jamnaparis when in fact these are crossbred’s.