Internal Parasites (Worms)
Animals become infected by grazing on pastures seeded with droppings from infected goats. The first signs of infection are lethargy and rough hair coat. Animals that lose weight, have a poor appetite and in many cases diarrhea, may already be in various stages of anemia (pale lips, tongue and mucous membrane of the eyes) as a result of parasite infection. Preventative treatment for worms is easy. Your veterinarian can recommend a worming schedule that is best for your goats and the area you live. Young kids and adults should be grazed on separate pastures and newly purchased animals should be treated for parasites and confined from the herd for at least a week.
Coccidiosis, which is potentially fatal, is caused by a microscopic protozoan in the intestinal tract. Symptoms include extreme thinness, lack of appetite and diarrhea which is often blood-tinged. A stool specimen should be examined by a veterinarian to determine whether these organisms are present. Good sanitary management is necessary to control coccidiosis. Young kids are most susceptible and should be kept in well-lighted, dry pens. Treatment involves use of medicated feeds containing Decoquinate or Rumensin for the prevention of coccidiosis in goats not producing milk for human consumption or medicated drinking water. Sunlight is one of the most effective coccidiostats available.
Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis Syndrome (CAE)
CAE is a viral disease that is spread from older infected goats to kids through nursing. Kids with CAE positive mothers should be removed immediately after birth and given colostrum from a CAE negative doe. In young kids, symptoms include weakness in the rear legs, with no fever or loss of appetite. However, the unused legs lose muscle strength and structure – and the infected kids can die. In older goats, CAE is seen as swollen joints, particularly in the knees. Infected goats that do not run a fever, remain alert and eat well, but they never recover from the arthritis. An inexpensive blood test can be used to diagnose CAE. There are no corrective procedures or treatments. It is a good idea to make sure a goat is CAE free before purchasing. Always keep CAE goats separated from healthy ones.