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Specific information on diseases and illnesses will be found in the Disease section of this website. For all other medical information, see the Medical pages.
Signs of abdominal pain are depression, restlessness,
bleating, teeth grinding, reluctance to move, increased shallow breathing,
increased heart rate, abnormal posture such as an arched back and a tucked-up
abdomen. (Smith and Sherman (1994) at p. 286)
A quick and easy way to estimate age of a goat or sheep is to divide the teeth down the middle and count all large teeth to the right of the line.
In overgrazed areas of the world, where goats are eating too
close to the ground, goats will wear their teeth down very early in life, so it will be
difficult to determine age. (Steve Weerts, Ethiopia Interview)
How To Tell The Age of Goats (Excellent pictures showing teeth at different ages.) http://www.acga.org.au/goatnotes/B010.php
Selecting Foundation and Replacement Goats (page 3 diagram) (meat goat article, but general
enough to apply to dairy. Excellent diagrams of teeth) http://www.uky.edu/Ag/AnimalSciences/goats/presentations/selectingfoundationandreplacementgoats04.pdf
Teeth and Age of The Dairy Goat http://www.ansci.cornell.edu/4H/dairygoats/factdg11.pdf
Anatomy and Physiology of The Goat http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/178336/goat-anatomy.pdf
This is an excellent overview of goat anatomy (digestive system, reproductive system, feet, embryology, udder) and physiology (liver function, kidney function, reproduction, digestion.) Diagrams of goat, skeleton, moveable joints, stomach andintestinal tract, reproductive tract, reproductive organs, skin, lower leg and foot, normal hoof, egg fertilization, fetus, cross section of udder and position of fetus in abdomen.
Anatomy of the buck reproductive organs http://kinne.net/fertbuck.htm
Anatomy of the Digestive System (Goat) http://www.ansci.cornell.edu/4H/meatgoats/meatgoatfs14.htm
Anatomy of the goat (video) with Test your Knowledge quiz
Digestion in the goat (videos) http://www.goatbiology.com/animations/digestion.html
Goat Reproduction http://vetmedicine.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?zi=1/XJ&sdn=vetmedicine&zu=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.
Guide to Regional Ruminant Anatomy Based On The Dissection Of The Goat (book)
By Gheorghe M. Constantinescu (Professor of Veterinary Anatomy, Department of Veterinary Biomedical Sciences, University of Missouri, Columbia) Hardback, ISBN: 9780813814933, Pub Date RoW 27 April 2001, Pub Date US 01 June 2001, Pub Date Aus 01 August 2001
Illustrations of The Goat Book http://caltest.vet.upenn.edu/grossanat/ (Vets can access this)
Anatomical illustrations of the goat. Includes sites for administration of anesthesia.
Parts of a Dairy Goat http://www.portal.msue.msu.edu/objects/content_revision/download.cfm/revision_id.283436/workspace_id.27665/Dairy%20Goat%20Parts.pdf/
Pictures of acceptable and unacceptable udders, p. 5 of http://cru.cahe.wsu.edu/CEPublications/em4894/em4894.pdf
This is a printable form that helps you get organized for a vet visit. http://cometothefarm.com/medical_assessment.htm
How to take blood samples (sheep article, but the same technique is used for goats) http://www.ces.purdue.edu/extmedia/AS/AS-557-W.pdf
Drawing blood is child's play www.goatconnection.com/articles/publish/printer_151.shtml
The following diagram illustrates what you are feeling under the skin when you body score goats.
Here is a pictorial summary showing the excellent materials from "How to Body Score Goats" from the E [Kika] de la Garza Goat Research Center at Langston University. Go directly to the site to learn how to body score. http://www.luresext.edu/goats/research/bcshowto.html and 2011 Goat Field Day notes at http://www.luresext.edu/goats/library/field/bcs2011.pdf
When you are first learning to body score, practice with one goat that is obviously too fat and another goat that
is obviously too thin. Get to know what they feel like, then bring in other goats and compare them to the two extremes.
-Make a fist with one hand. Place the open palm of your other hand over the knuckles. Feel how bony they are.
If you feel this when you body condition score your goat’s backbone, she is too thin. (Nickel, p. 17)
-Slight pressure is used to feel muscle, fat and bones along the top of the back (spinous processes) and on the side behind the ribs and in front of the pelvis (transverse processes). The amount of bone, muscle and fat that is felt is graded on a scale of 1-5.
Table from Haskell, http://www.rmncsba.org/SMALLRUMINANT.pdf
-The BCS should be 2.5-4.0 at the beginning of breeding season, and should be maintained throughout pregnancy.
-If a goat has a body score of 4.5 or more, or a BCS under 2, the goat very likely will get pregnancy toxemia. Prepare for it. Buy Propylene glycol. (See Reproduction section.)
-A goat should enter winter with a body score of 3.0 (Langston, Training, Nutrition)
Record Body Condition Scores, Weight and Parasite Scores on a chart from our Forms page
How to Body Score Goats (pictures and description) http://www.luresext.edu/goats/research/bcshowto.html
Body Condition Scoring For Improved Management http://www2.luresext.edu/goats/library/field/Villaquiran05.pdf
Evaluating Goat Feeding Management through Body Condition Scoring http://smallfarms.wsu.edu/animals/goatfeeding.html
You can give a tablet or big capsule (bolus) to a goat with
a balling gun. This will get the tablet
or bolus back far enough in the mouth to have some chance of getting the
goat to swallow it.
A kid can be held between
your knees to deliver the bolus.
For an adult goat, you will need a
friend to hold the gun for you, and then to help you keep the goat against
the wall while you administer the drug.
The following directions are for an adult goat.
Using a balling (bolus) gun
Bucklings should be castrated before 14 days of age.
Castration is done to prevent a strong “goaty” flavor from passing into goat meat and to prevent accidental breeding of does. It reduces odor and aggressiveness. People often castrate companion animals. Whethers are useful for cart pulling or packing, and they make good “teaser” animals to stimulate heat cycling in does. Put them in with the does two weeks before you put in the buck. By then the does will be ready for the buck.
There are several methods of castration: elastrator bands, burdizzo clamps or knife. See "links" section below for specific procedures.
Castrating goats with a burdizzo clamp (photographs) http://www.ansci.cornell.edu/4H/meatgoats/castrating/castrate.htm
Castrating Buck Kids (Written directions for elastration or knife castration) http://www.luresext.edu/goats/library/fact_sheets/g04.htm
Elastrator Dehorning and Castrating http://hoeggergoatsupply.com/info/elastrator.shtml
Treatment slings are often used to hold adult goats for castration or other treatments. For more information about using treatment slings (also called deck chairs) see the article at http://www.premier1supplies.com/img/instruction/9.pdf
Premier 1 Supply
Biosecurity practices: Facility Cleaning and Disinfection http://www.milkproduction.com/Library/Scientific-articles/Housing/Biosecurity-practices-Facility/
Dr. Scott Haskell said in November 2005 at the Caprine Field Day (WDGA) that Virkon is the only disinfectant that will kill everything, even spores. It is expensive, but Dr. Haskell states that if it will save one goat from dying, it has paid for itself. The Wisconsin distributor of Virkon is IVESCO LLC, 161 Ensch Street, Mauston, WI 53948, phone 608-847-1146. Your vet, or feed mill operator, may order this for you. August 29, 2007 price: 10 lb. pail $56.50. Makes 120 gallons.
Composting Livestock Mortalities (with step by step pictures of composting process)
Composting animal mortalities on the farm http://extension.umd.edu/publications/pdfs/fs717.pdf
Composting animal mortalities http://www.mda.state.mn.us/news/publications/animals/compostguide.pdf
Composting winter animal mortalities http://www.uvm.edu/~ascibios/Animal/MNmortalitycomposting.pdf
Natural rendering: composting livestock mortality and butcher waste http://www.uvm.edu/~ascibios/Resources/NaturalRenderingFScolor03rev.pdf
Small Stock Mortality Composting http://luresext.edu/goats/library/field/merkel10a.pdf
Swine composting http://ohioline.osu.edu/aex-fact/0711.html
Swine composting site selection http://ohioline.osu.edu/aex-fact/0712.html
Swine composting, facility design http://ohioline.osu.edu/aex-fact/0713.html
See Disaster Preparedness for Livestock at http://www.luresext.edu/goats/training/disaster.html
Drenching and dosing are two ways of giving liquids to the goat. For drenching you can either buy a drencher or you can use a glass soda bottle. For dosing you will need a 60 cc. syringe (no needle). These methods are easier to use, and are less uncomfortable for the goat, when giving dosages of up to 8 or 10 oz, rather than using a stomach tube. You can give mineral oil, dewormers, antacids, diarrhea treatment fluids and other liquids this way. You may need someone to hand you the drencher (or syringe) and then to help you hold the goat.
1. Back the goat into the corner and crowd its left side against a wall. Encircle its upper neck with your left arm. Have your helper hand you the drencher into your right hand.
2. Insert the thumb of your left hand into the goat’s mouth, and with a combination of prying and pushing, open it’s mouth wide enough to allow you to insert the neck of the bottle with your right hand. Be very careful not to get your fingers between the grinding teeth or you will be bit.
3. Insert the neck of the drenching bottle into the corner of the goat’s mouth about 1 ½ to 2”. At the same time, lift the goat’s head so that the goat is looking up at a 45 degree angle.
4. Pour the liquid slowly onto the rear of the tongue and allow the goat to swallow it. Do go too fast or it could go into the lungs, causing pneumonia. (Batagglia, p. 446)
1. Fill the drencher bag with the desired solution. Hang the drencher bag on a hook on the wall or in the ceiling in a corner location, and place the hook high enough to keep the bag higher than the goat's head. Back the goat into the corner and crowd its left side against a wall. Encircle its upper neck with your left arm. Have a helper hand the tube part into your right hand.
2. Insert the thumb of your left hand into the goat’s mouth, and with a combination of prying and pushing, open it’s mouth wide enough to allow you to insert the tube with your right hand. Be very careful not to get your fingers between the grinding teeth to avoid being bitten.3. Lift the goat's head at a 45 degree angle, so she is looking up, and insert the tip of the drenching tube
into the corner of the goat’s mouth on the left side. Push the tube into the esophagus. Look at the outside of the goat's neck to see whether you have it in the right place. If you can see a bulge in the neck area, you are in the esophagus where you should be. But if you cannot see a bulge in the neck area, you are in the trachea (windpipe), and discharging fluid into the trachea can cause pneumonia or death of the animal. If you are in the trachea, remove the tube and try again until you are in the esophagus.4. Release the clampon the tube, enough to let the liquid flow slowly into the goat's esophagus.
5. When the fluid is completely gone from the tube, shut the clamp. This will prevent drops of fluid from entering the lungs as you pull the tube out.
6.Wash the bag after each use, and make sure it is completely dry before you store it.
(General directions on using a drencher are from Batagglia, p. 446. Directions for using a drencher bag and how to tell if it is in the esophagus are from -Dr. Emma Ewing, DVM. Other directions from package insert provided by the manufacturer, Jorgensen Laboratories, Inc.)
Use the same method as "drenching with a small drenching gun", above, except the liquid is put into a large syringe. The syringe is inserted into the corner of the mouth and by slowly pushing down the plunger, you put the solution into the goat’s mouth. (Batagglia, p. 446)
Cornell University: Consultant Disease Database http://www.vet.cornell.edu/consultant/Consult.asp?Fun=Sign&spc=&dxkw=&sxkw=&signs=
This is a diagnostic support system for veterinary medicine See the following link for their complete list of symptoms: http://www.vet.cornell.edu/consultant/Consult.asp?Fun=F_Signlist&spc=&dxkw=&sxkw=&signs=
IVIS Drug Databases (veterinarians only) http://www.ivis.org/vetprod/drugs/toc.asp
Jack Mauldin Meat Goat Site http://www.jackmauldin.com/health.htm
A lot of health information, including a chart for goat medications, dosages, and drug precautions.
Medications Commonly Used In Goats http://www.uky.edu/Ag/AnimalSciences/goats/presentations/drugwithdrawtimeJan05.pdf
(Table of drugs, with dosage, route (by mouth, injection) and withdrawal times for milk and meat.)
Onion Creek Ranch site http://www.tennesseemeatgoats.com/articles2/articlesMain.html offers instructions for medical treatments. These are articles from The Goat Rancher magazine.
Small Ruminant Clinical Diagnosis and Therapy http://www.rmncsba.org/SMALLRUMINANT.pdf (On-line manual for small ruminant veterinarians. Covers goat, sheep, alpaca, llama and camels. Listed below you will find the sections that pertain to goats. Make note of the page for the section you want before you go to the site. It is a huge database.
University of Maryland Sheep and goat: alphabetical list of
sheep and goat diseases with links: http://www.sheepandgoat.com/disease.html
Langston University's 2010 Field Day notes are an excellent resource for basic goat care. (Go to http://www.luresext.edu/goats
Select library in the left panel and then Field Day.) These are
filled with excellent materials. They are written for meat goats,
but much of the material also applies to dariy goats. The Herd
Health pages contain tables for vaccinations, anthelmintics (dewormers)
and common drugs. They give goat dosages, and milk and meat
withhold times specific to goat.
Medical treatment forms which are available on the Goat Dairy Library:
Naxcel dosage chart this is a chart that allows you to know exactly how much Naxcel to give for a goat of a certain weight. You can make the same kind of sheet for any drug you give a lot.
Treatment chart A form for recording medical treatments.
Extra label drug use or ELDU, means that you are using a drug that
has not been approved for goats, or you are giving doses or are administering
it in a way that is not put on the label. For
example, the label says it is ok to give the drug to cows, but it says
nothing about giving it to goats. You cannot give that drug
without permission from your veterinarian. Why? The dose, meat
and milk withhold times may not be accurate for goats. Goats
need much more medicine than what would be given for a cow, because food moves
through a goat's body much faster than through a cow. Therefore less gets
The AMDUCA (Animal Medicinal Drug Use Clarification Act): http://www.avma.org/reference/amduca/extralabel_brochure.pdf allows vets to give medicines to species other than those listed on the label, but they must adjust the dose, milk and meat withholding times. It is illegal for farmers to do this themselves. You must have a personal, ongoing relationship with your vet in order to have the vet give you permission to use these drugs. You must also keep good records about who you call and what they tell you to do, so if you get into trouble, you have a record showing that you tried everything possible to get reliable information. Those records must be kept for two years.(Haskell, Reproduction)
FARAD (Food Animal Residue Avoidance Databank): http://www.farad.org/ (This service will give your vet dosage and withdrawal times for goats).
MUMS: Minor Use / Minor Species Animal al Health Act. On July 20, 2004 Congress passed the MUMS (MINOR USE/MINOR SPECIES) Animal Health Act that makes it possible to use sheep/goat pharmaceuticals, de-wormers and parasite control mixtures that are currently approved overseas.
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