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  • Writer's pictureConstance Wilmoth

Know your Goat!

As a goat owner, breeder,caretaker and showman, one of the most important things you can do is know what is normal for your goat. This means normal in the sense of behavior, personality,appetite and look. This is because you are the first line of defense in knowing when something is wrong with your goat. Sometimes, it can be very obvious that a goat is ill, they may be not moving well, not eating or even have drastic physical symptoms such as throwing up their cud or being excessively bloated. Other times, being a careful and mindful steward to your goats is needed. If you watch closely, you may notice that something is just off with one of your goats. This is when you are responsible as the caretaker to dig deeper into why the goat is not feeling their best. One indicator to me is the goats energy level and tail set. Generally speaking, a spunky goat with their tail held high is also a healthy happy goat.

That is why when my beloved MJ was simply not acting herself, I jumped into action. I always look at similar things when trying to determine what is bothering my goats. How are they eating, do they have an elevated temperature, how is their FAMACHA score, are they urinating and defecating normally? How are they interacting with the other goats? Are they isolating, acting lethargic or painful? Have they gotten into anything? Are they recent on their CD&T shots? When was the last time the had a fecal? Many times, I do not come up with an exact understanding of what is causing my goat problems, but I am able to identify and treat symptoms and give supportive care.

In my investigation of MJ, I noticed for the past day and a half she was simply acting a little more sluggish than her normal self. She still ate, but not with tenacity, and she was still up with the herd, but she did not look bright, and her ears were a bit droopy along with a tail that wasn't held straight in the air. I took her temperature which was normal, 102.3 and checked her over, her FAMACHA was good, and her urination and defecation was normal, but overall she was simply off. So I followed my normal off goat protocol and gave her some B vitamin complex and some probiotics. Then I came inside the house to really brainstorm what else could be bothering her. I was thinking about what changed, and we sold her brother last week, as the last kid to leave, so I thought maybe she was sad about missing him, as they did everything together. Then I thought about her diet, she was getting more milk, because her brother was gone and then it hit me. Her symptoms all pointed to coccidia, she is the right age to be impacted by them, she has had a stressful event of loosing her brother and she is consuming more milk. Although she does not have any diarrhea which is usually consistent with coccidia, I decided to treat her. I will continue to treat her for coccidia for 5 days and monitor her. If her condition worsens we will take her to the vet, but for now. I feel like we have a good handle on her condition and I hope to see her improve. I will keep you all updated to her condition, and I will keep working towards a happy healthy goat herd!

Happy Goating!

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