Goat Health Overview

18 September, 2015rodster385Comments (0)

Goats experience similar health problems as sheep and other livestock. Adult goats should be vaccinated annually for enterotoxemia (overeating disease) and tetanus. Does should be vaccinated prior to kidding so that kids receive temporary immunity through the colostrum. Two shots are required the first year followed by a yearly booster vaccination. If does kid more often than once a year, they should be boostered before each kidding. Kids should be receive their first vaccination at approximately 30 and 60 days of age. Clostridium perfringens type C & D and tetanus toxoid are the products that should be used. Vaccines for other disease conditions will depend on the incidence of the disease in the herd. A large animal veterinary or state animal health lab can help diagnose disease problems in the herd.

The most common health problem affecting meat goats is internal parasites. Unfortunately, there is no "miracle" drug or magical recipe for dealing with the problem of gastro-intestinal worms. Essentially, all healthy goats have worms present in their guts. Effective parasite control is best achieved through a combination of strategic dewormings and pasture management. Frequent anthelmintic treatments, without regard for pasture conditions, are costly and may lead to a false sense of security. Moreover, frequent exposure to anthelmintics causes worms to become resistant to the drugs.

Reducing the worm burden on pasture is the key to effective parasite control. Treating the goats at strategic times can reduce the contamination of the pasture. Does should be dewormed prior to or shortly after kidding. Early spring treatments are advocated to prevent the "summer explosion" of worm eggs. Moving animals to a "clean" or rested pasture after deworming will prolong the effectiveness of the treatment. Taking a hay crop or plowing and reseeding a pasture will lessen worm burdens. Pastures should be regularly clipped to allow the sunlight to kill off eggs. Multi-species grazing is another method of managing parastite burdens (only sheep and goats share the gut worms).

Anti-parasitic drugs are available in many forms of administration - oral drench, paste, gel, bolus, injection, pour-on and feed additive. Oral drenching is the recommended method for deworming goats. Oral products clear the animal's system faster and are more effective than other methods.

Unapproved drugs and/or methods of administration, if used, must be under the guidance of a veterinarian. Resistance problems have been widely reported in the benzimidazole family of dewormers (TBZ, Fenbendazole and Albendazole). Tramisol and Ivermectin are effective against hypobiotic larvae. Ivermectin is effective against "biting" external parasites.

The following anthelmintics have been used in goats:

Thiabendazole (TBZ©)
Levamisole (Tramisol©)
Fenbendazole (Safeguard, Panacur)
Ivermectin (Ivomec)
Albendazole (Valbazen)
Coccidia are a single-celled protozoa that can be devastating to young goats. Prevention is the key to controlling coccidiosis. Good sanitation is a must and overcrowding should be avoided. Weaning is a particularly stressful period for kids. The addition of Rumensin© or Deccox© to the feed or salt-mineral mix can prevent outbreaks of coccidiosis. Sick goats, including their pen mates, should be treated with amprolium (Corrid) or sulfa drugs. Watery diarrhea, smeared with blood is a common symptom of coccidiosis and should be suspected any time a young kid is sick.

The following products have been used to treat and/or prevent coccidiosis in goats:

Monensin (Rumensin©)
Lasalocid (Bovatec©)