Check Your Vet-Goats


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In the context of American agriculture, goats are a marginalized species. Consequently, while some vets are very familiar with goats and their needs, others are quite ignorant.  Vets who do not know goats and are willing to learn and study often provide excellent care and sometimes when no knowledgeable vet is available, open-minded and willing vets are the best option available.  Normally, people who have had goats for a while have reached some kind of solution with which they are comfortable to provide for the medical needs of their goats.  It is with those people in mind that are just acquiring goats and searching for a helpful vet that we offer this page.  Following is a list of questions that you may ask a vet with whom you are not familiar and compare those responses with ones we think would be desirable.  Hopefully, this comparison will be helpful when you determine which vet you would like to use.  

1.   Since I can't seem to find any mineral supplements labeled just for goats, will sheep and goat mineral meet their needs?

Desired Response:  No!  Sheep and goats have very different requirements for copper.  If a sheep ingests enough copper to keep a goat healthy, it will kill the sheep.  If a goat ingests only enough copper to keep a sheep healthy, it will have a copper deficiency.

2.   I've heard of urinary calculi, what is it and how do I prevent it?

Urinary calculi are small stones that end up partially or totally blocking the urethra so that male goats in extreme cases cannot urinate.  It's caused by the incorrect ratio of calcium to phosphorous in their diet.  You can prevent this condition by formulating your feed to the correct calcium to phosphorous ratio (2-2.5:1) or by by having ammonium chloride added to your feed at the rate of 2% of the concentrate ration.  A choice of feed that is labeled especially for goats, usually has the correct levels.

3.   I feed straight corn to all my other animals, it'll work for goats won't it?

Desired Response:  NO!  Feeding straight corn or other straight grains can not only cause urinary calculi but can also cause acidosis a condition which caused by excessive amounts of sugar fermenting in the rumen.  Acidosis can be lethal to goats. We had a goat die in the trailer on the way from the farm where we purchased it.  The seller claimed it was due to heat; we took the goat to the vet and he showed both of us that it was a perfectly healthy goat except for a large amount of corn in her rumen that had obviously been fed minutes before we arrived to buy the goat.   

4.  Can I use pour-on wormer on my goats?

Desired Response:  No. Pour on wormer is designed for cattle and enters the system  through the skin.  Goat hide is very different than cow hide and, consequently, the results may be erratic and may actually cause health problems for the goat.  Common usage seems to indicate that Cydectin administered at 1 cc/22 pounds and Ivermectin administered at 1 cc/50 pounds are both fairly effective when administered orally.

5.   What vaccines do you recommend we regularly use to inoculate our goats?

Desired Response:  CD/T is almost universal among goat raisers.  Pneumonia and CL vaccinations are common and depend upon your situation and opinion.  Soremouth  and hoof rot vaccinations are available, but lightly used depending on individual situations.

Once again, we remind you that we are not veterinarians and, therefore, cannot dispense medical advice.  Specific items mentioned in these questions and answers are for comparison purposes only.  Do not administer medications without first consulting your veterinarian.  

Dan & Paula Lane
Copyright 2005 [Bountiful Farm]. All rights reserved.

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