Archive of ‘Goat Health’ category

BASIC PHYSIOLIGICAL & BIOLOGICAL NORMS

Goat care also means understanding basic physiological and biological norms for goats :-

Rectal temperature is in the range 39 – 40 degrees
Pulse rate is in the range 70 -80 beats per minute
Respiration is in the range 15 – 30 per minute
Rumen Movement 1 – 1.5 per minute
Oestrus is 17 – 23 days
Gestation period is in the range 143 – 155 days
Puberty is approximately 2 months for bucks
Lifespan Bucks – Around 8 years but up to 12 years
Lifespan Does – around 11-12 years and up to 20 years
Growth from Birth to Maturity is approximately 3 years

HOW TO EARTAG YOUR GOAT

Eartags are an easy way to permanently identify each goat in your herd. Unlike tattoos, you can read them without actually having to catch the goat. Unfortunately, unlike tattoos, they can break and fall out of the goat's ear. Before you put in the eartag, be sure to record what eartag number you are assigning to the goat.

Eartags are an easy way to permanently identify each goat in your herd. Unlike tattoos, you can read them without actually having to catch the goat. Unfortunately, unlike tattoos, they can break and fall out of the goat’s ear. Before you put in the eartag, be sure to record what eartag number you are assigning to the goat.

Load the proper number into the eartag applicator.

Load the proper number into the eartag applicator.

Restrain you goat kid in a disbudding crate or wrapped in a towel or by holding it like this. Older goats will need to be straddled and their head pressed against your attendant's thigh.

Restrain you goat kid in a disbudding crate or wrapped in a towel or by holding it like this. Older goats will need to be straddled and their head pressed against your attendant’s thigh.

Locate the area you want to eartag. Be sure to go between the large veins in your goat's ears. The veins are located in the large creases in the ear. Try to put the tattoo near the center of the ear where it will be less likely to catch on things and get yanked out.

Locate the area you want to eartag. Be sure to go between the large veins in your goat’s ears. The veins are located in the large creases in the ear. Try to put the tattoo near the center of the ear where it will be less likely to catch on things and get yanked out.

Position the eartagger over the area you have selected and give it a strong squeeze. If the eartag has two parts be sure the top and bottom parts are on the correct sides of the ear before you squeeze.

Position the eartagger over the area you have selected and give it a strong squeeze. If the eartag has two parts be sure the top and bottom parts are on the correct sides of the ear before you squeeze.

Eartagging causes about as much pain as getting your own ears pierced. Goat kids will want the comfort of their dam or a bottle of milk after the eartagging is finished.

Eartagging causes about as much pain as getting your own ears pierced. Goat kids will want the comfort of their dam or a bottle of milk after the eartagging is finished.

When you are done, you will have an easy-to-read identification number on your goat that can be used for herd records and health certificates.

HEAT STRESS IN GOATS

Goats cope with heat stress in a variety of ways. They may lie on their sides more than usual on a hot day or hang out under a tree all day and pant. Lying flat out, they also expose more body surface area, especially the short-haired parts of the body. When it gets hotter, involuntary functions kick into high gear.

The environmental comfort zone for goats is between 0-30C. Above 30C goats may begin to experience mild heat stress, especially when humidity cranks up the heat index. As heat and humidity climb, goats can have serious problems with thermal stress.

High temperatures affect body function in many ways. The hypothalamus, lying at the base of the brain, is in charge of balancing the body’s heat loss and gain by regulating respiration, skin temperature, sweating and muscle tone. Goats get eight times more relief from the heat by panting than by sweating, so rapid breathing is their primary form of cooling themselves. Panting and collapse are the most obvious signs of heat stress, and the rectal temperature will exceed 40C.

When the weather warms up, animals eat less in an involuntary effort to reduce body heat, feed and water consumption go down. Animals may reduce water intake however they need water to help keep them cooler. Weather and other factors can combine to get any goat, but some are more susceptible to overheating. Overweight goats cannot exchange heat efficiently. Aged goats just don’t function as well as they used to, and the very young have yet to reach optimum function. Animals in poor health (illness or parasites) may not be able to cope with this added burden. Selenium deficiency may exacerbate heat stress due to marginal muscle tone. Unventilated confinement, such as being locked in a poorly ventilated barn, crate or vehicle, can be a serious threat to an animal’s life in a very short time. Any forced exertion should be avoided. Don’t pick a hot, humid day to trim hooves or give the goats any other hassles.

A veterinarian should be consulted as soon as you see signs of heat stress. The animal may experience pain and swelling, and your vet may prescribe drugs to treat these symptoms. There may be a variety of moderate to severe blood abnormalities, impaired kidney function and metabolic acidosis. Electrolyte imbalances are common in heat stress, and IV liquids may need to be administered to combat acidosis.

Act promptly when you find a goat you expect is suffering from heat stroke. If the goat can walk, isolate it in the shade and take its temperature. If the temperature is over 40.5C, set a fan for direct ventilation, spray the coat with water, and wet the head, legs and stomach with water. (Cold water may be too great a temperature shock to the vascular system – any water will do). If the symptoms diminish in 15-20 minutes, the goat may continue recovery on its own. Make sure the temperature is reduced to 39.8C, and watch the goat closely for a few hours to see that it acts normally. Continue to monitor its behaviour, temperature, pulse and respiration after the animal has been stabilised. If the goat is prostrate and unable to walk, do not move it. Take its temperature. Erect shade if the animal is in direct sunlight and begin cooling with water. You will need the vet, tissue destruction begins prior to death, so prompt medical attention is imperative. When cooling therapy reduces the goat’s rectal temperature to 39.8C, cooling measures can be discontinued.

Remember, prevention is better than cure. Give free access to clean, cool water and freshen it frequently. In hot weather, move the water source into the barn if your goats normally have to travel to reach it. Ensure your goat/s have access to good shade and barns or living areas are well ventilated. Provide adequate barn and feeder space to reduce competition for resources. Ensure your goat/s do not undertake any activities that cause exertion or induce stress.

TRIMMING GOAT HOOVES

Hoof trimming is an acquired skill that takes quite a bit of practice to perfect. The tools you will need include a good pair of hoof shears. Do not try to save money on this particular tool. My favorite is called a “sheep foot rot shear”. Hoof trimming shears are available in any animal supply house and come in many shapes and designs. You will also need a hand held carpenter’s plane, the kind that looks a little like a cheese grater. Unfortunately for most goat farmers in East Malaysia we have little access to these tools and rely on favours from friends travelling to Australia or in some rare cases Ebay.

Trimming Goat Hoofs

Trimming Goat Hoofs

Sometimes, the heel is the part that seems to grow too fast, causing the goat to walk on the back of the hoof above the heel. In this case, be sure that you trim the hooves more often, and that you are not leaving the heel so long that the goat is walking on ‘high heels’. If the hoof was drastically overgrown, and you didn’t get it into the right shape, it is better to come back to it later than to make the goat lame, or risk serious bleeding and infection, by cutting too much at one time. Try again in one to three weeks. If it still isn’t right, come back in another two or three weeks. Sometimes it takes a while to whip a goat’s hooves into perfect shape.

Goat’s hooves need to be trimmed regularly (and don’t forget the bucks!). That will mean different things depending on your farm and conditions. If your goats have plenty of gravel to walk on, or are in a large herd that travels over many acres a day, you might be able to escape this chore for four to six months. Some people even build low platforms of rock and cement for the goats to play on to help them keep their hooves in shape. In most cases, when the goats are walking on grass or in pens, hooves should be trimmed every four to twelve weeks. Happy Trimming!

VIGOSINE

I have been trying out this Vigosine after being told that this was ‘the best’ in treating Goats for stress. I was not able to find much information on Google but ended up ordering 5 litre’s I have been using it for 2 weeks now and have found it really fantastic. But the uses are far more than for stress only.

USES – Poultry, Pigs, Cattle, Sheep, Goats, Horses, Dogs, Cats. It is also a stimulant of appetite, Energy support, Improvement of growth and reproductive performance. Also an aid to weaning. Diuretic and Stimulant of Liver and Kidney functions. An aid to recovery after stress and disease. Very helpful as an aid against heat stress.

COMPOSITION – Carnitine HCI 5g, Sorbitol 25g, Magnesium Sulfate 25g, Excipient (Vegetable Extracts) 100ml

I use it orally after diluting on ration of 2 parts water and 1 part Vigosine. I administer 5-10ml for mature Goats and 3-5ml for immature kids. Administer daily (for me i use a syringe through the mouth) for 3-5 days then stop. 3 days later i used it in their drinking water (which i discovered was not cost effective as their drinking bowls are emptied and cleaned everyday) and now instead use it to dress their feed which works out fine as they always leave little wasted feed.

The cost was to me expensive having paid RM450 (AUD140) and the postage ended up to be RM140 (AUD45) but now having seeing the results and taking into account the very small amounts used everyday it works out to be really reasonable.

Manufactured by CEVA in France