|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
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
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