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Goat Health and Care. Small Scale Goat Dairying Central Point, OR April 5, 2008 Charles Estill, OSU Extension Veterinarian. Buy from reputable breeders. Know the health status of the animals you are purchasing. Maintain a closed herd. Limit showing/ exhibiting.

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Goat health and care l.jpg

Goat Health and Care

Small Scale Goat Dairying

Central Point, OR

April 5, 2008

Charles Estill, OSU Extension Veterinarian

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Buy from reputable breeders.

Know the health status of the animals you are purchasing.

Maintain a closed herd.

Limit showing/ exhibiting.

Isolate new animals for at least 30 days.

BiosecuritySecurity from transmission of infectious diseases, parasites, and pests

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Don’t loan or share or bucks.*

Don’t breed does for other producers.*

Do not mix your animals with other people’s animals.*

Don’t share equipment unless it is disinfected after each use.

Limit access to your farm/animals.

Control cat, dog, bird, and rodent populations.

BiosecurityReduce transmission of infectious diseases, parasites, and pests

*Unless the other farm/animals have equal health status.

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Udder disorders

Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis

Caseous Lymphadenitis

Floppy Kid Syndrome

Johne’s Disease

Health problems of goats

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  • What is a normal udder?

    • Uniformly soft and symmetric

    • Temperature is same as rest of body

    • No swelling or pain

    • Teats are thin and uniform, milk easily

  • Examine milk for:

    • Color

    • Consistency

    • Clots, flakes

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Diagnosis of mastitis

  • Physical signs

    • Uneven udder

    • Udder is hot, swollen, or painful

    • Sick, off feed, fever

    • Reduced milk production

    • May be no outward signs

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General types of mastitis

  • Acute

  • Bluebag

  • Sub-clinical

  • Chronic

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Acute mastitis

  • Udder is hot, swollen, painful

  • Udder may be hard

  • Milk is abnormal (clots, flakes, watery)

  • Reduced milk production

  • Goat may be sick and have a fever

  • May have a stiff gait

  • Can be fatal

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Mastitis caused by Staph. aureus or Pasteurella

Up to 80% die

Udder is initially red and hot then turns blue and cold

Milk is watery, brown

May slough ½ of udder

Blue bag

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Sub-clinical mastitis

  • Very common

  • May be difficult to detect without CMT

  • Udder may be firm

  • May be occasional clots, flakes

  • Reduced milk production

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Chronic mastitis

  • It is 15 to 40 times more prevalent than the clinical form.

  • It usually precedes the clinical form.

  • It is of long duration.

  • It is difficult to detect.

  • It reduces milk production.

  • It adversely affects milk quality. Firm, non-painful udder

  • Career counseling

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Diagnosis of mastitis

  • Testing

    • California mastitis test

      • pH

      • Cells

      • 0, Trace or 1+ is normal

      • Compare halves of udder

    • Somatic cell count (inaccurate)

      • <500,000 is normal (1M reg. limit)

      • Much higher at end of lactation

    • Milk culture

      • Technique

      • Staph. epidermidis most common

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Treatment of mastitis

  • Frequent stripping out

  • Oxytocin

  • Antibiotics

    • Intramammary (1/2 tube)

      • Today

      • Spectromast

      • Pirsue

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Treatment of mastitis

  • Sick goats need systemic treatment!

    • Systemic antibiotics

      • Penicillin G, Naxcel, LA-200, Gallimycin

    • Anti-inflammatory therapy

    • Fluids

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Mastitis prevention

  • Hygiene

    • Clean, dry, comfortable environment

  • Maintain milking equipment

    • Avoid excessive vacuum

    • Properly working pulsators

    • Properly fitting liners

  • Proper milking routine (teat dip)

  • Good nutrition

  • Clip udder hair

  • CMT monthly

  • Treat ALL does at dry-off

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Usually external abscesses in skin or lymph nodes.

Pus in external abscess is initially pale green.

Usually affects animals > 6 months of age.

Lives in soil for >1year

Caseous lymphadenitis (CL or CLA)cheesy gland, boils, abscesses

Caused by Corynbacterium (Actinomyces) pseudotuberculosis

Zoonotic potential - ???

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Caseous lymphadenitis

  • Diagnosis

    • Culture of organism

    • Necropsy

    • Blood test

  • Treatment

    • Complete surgical excision is best

    • Isolate for treatment-do not open in environment of other goats

    • If draining- flush with Nolvasan or iodine

    • Cull

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Controlling/eradicating CLA

Identify and cull affected animals

Avoid skin injuries

Practice good hygiene.

Purchase from CLA-free flocks/herds.

Vaccination can reduce severity of disease.

Do not vaccinate naïve herds

Caseous lymphadenitis (CL or CLA)cheesy gland, abscesses, boils

Caused by bacteria Corynbacterium pseudotuberculosis

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Retroviral infection

Only 25% will ever show signs (38-81% positive)

Joint swelling/arthritis in goats >6 mo.

Encephalitis in 2-4 mo. kids

Pneumonia and mastitis in adults

Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis (CAE)

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CAE virus is primarily transmitted to kids through colostrum and milk.

Contact transmission is rare, but possible.

Diagnosis- blood test after 6 months of age

No treatment or vaccine is available.

Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis (CAE)

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Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis (CAE) and milk.

  • Prevention and control

    • Pasteurize colostrum(133 F for 60 min)

    • Feed pasteurized milk(165 F for 15 sec)

  • Milk positive does last

  • Quarantine and test new additions w/i 60 days

  • Disinfect equipment

  • Cannot eradicate w/o culling positives

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Cattle, sheep, and goat strains and milk.

Fecal-oral transmission

Young animals most susceptible


Only 5% show signs within a herd at a given time

No signs until 2-7 years old

Animals w/o signs are still a source of infection

Chronic weight loss

Precipitated by stress

Profuse, watery diarrhea in terminal stages

Johne’s Disease paratuberculosis

Caused by bacteria Mycobacterium anium spp. paratuberculosis

Victoria, Australia

Small intestine

Ohio State University


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Difficult to diagnose and milk.

Fecal culture (40-60%)

Blood test-good when clinical signs present

No treatment.

Difficult to control.


Maintain a closed flock/herd

Cull offspring of infected animals


Be careful with cow colostrum

Test annually

Theoretical link to Crohn’s disease in people.

Johne’s Disease

Small intestine

Ohio State Univ.

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Affects kids between 3 and 10 days of age and milk.(normal at birth)

Most common late in kidding season.

Causes muscle weakness, ataxia.

Cause unknown, but suspected to be gastro-intestinal, a metabolic acidosis.

Treat with sodium bicarbonate and supportive therapy.

Floppy kid syndromeFirst documented in 1987

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Questions???? and milk.

Questions, comments