AFRICAN NIGERIAN DWARF GOATS- This breed is a a miniature goat breed of West African ancestry. The Nigerian Dwarf does give a surprising quantity of milk for its size. Its production ranges from 1 to 8 pounds of milk per day (one quart of milk weighs roughly 2 pounds), with an average doe producing about 2.5 pounds of milk per day. Production depends upon genetics, how many times the doe has freshened (given birth), quality and type of feed, and general good management. Since Nigerians breed year-round, it is easy to stagger freshening in a herd for year-round production of milk. Thus, they are ideal milk goats for most families. Their milk has a higher butterfat content than milk from full-sized dairy goats, averaging 6.5% according to the American Dairy Goat Association. Later in lactation, butterfat can go up to 10% or even higher. This makes Nigerian Dwarf goat milk excellent for cheese, soap and cream making.
AFRICAN NUBIAN DAIRY GOATS- This breed was developed from goats from the Middle East and North Africa and milking stock from Great Britian. They can live in hot climates and have a longer breeding season than other dairy goats. Nubians are known for their high butterfat content of their milk. Mature Bucks average 175 lbs. Mature Does average 140 lbs.
AFRICAN BOER GOATS- This breed of goat that was developed in South Africa in the early 1900s for meat production. Their name is derived from the Afrikaans (Dutch) word boer, meaning farmer. Boer goats are a popular breed for meat.
There are several breeds of goats from all over the world. Here is Texas, the three breeds listed above seem to be the most popular. What do they all have in common? AFRICA!! Think HOT and DRY. OPEN RANGE. How do we house and run our goats? Sometimes, cold, wet, rainy, small pens, eating off the same area again and again, not free roaming... It's not that they aren't going to get sick, it's when and from what.
Kids!!! They're so darn cute!!!!!
But purchasing your first goat (or your 5th, 10th, 20th!!) comes with some pain and worries. No one told me about lung worm, Coccidiosis, Barber Pole worms, lice, or anything else. I didn't have mentor, but I tried to talk to as many people that did have goats as possible. One time I had some goats that started coughing (I had just purchased). My vet prescribed antibiotics for a cold. The medicine never worked and it spread. I thought they had allergies. I found out they had lung worms. Ugh!! I wish I knew.
I have tried to put together this site to inform and educate you. I don't want to scare or intimate you. I have found that EVERYONE has a different way of doing things, there isn't any "right and wrong", just a difference of opinion. One thing that everyone does agree on- FIAS CO FARM for goat information. I have also included several links to YouTube videos and other informational sites.
Feed- NEVER let them eat moldy anything!! (See Goat Polio) and NO ACORNS!!
Other important items-
Health of your goat-
External Parasite Control Recommendations for Dairy Goats
External Parasite Control Recommendations for Dairy Goats
Virus vs. Bacterial infections-
I had my first case of goat polio in the spring of 2018. I got a round bale of hay that had mold in it. Most of my goats wouldn't eat the hay, but after several days, all my goats started eating it. Then my goats started getting sick. One died, then several got sick.
The official name for Goat Polio is "Polioencephalomalacia". It is a nutritional /metabolic disease that affects primarily ruminants, including goats. Metabolic means relating to metabolism, the whole range of biochemical processes that occur within the goat's rumen. In ruminant animals that means processing the food the goat has eaten.
The main cause of this disease is either a thiamine deficiency or the stopping of the thiamine activity in the rumen. Thiamine, or vitamin B1, is a major part of the rumen processing that occurs with carbohydrates and amino acid in the rumen. Decreased processing activity leads to cell death in the brain and swelling from excessive accumulation of watery fluid in brain cells and tissues.
The symptoms originate from the damage to the brain. The thiamine is produced in sufficient amounts by specific bacteria in the goat's rumen. Any changes in the normal environment in the rumen may lead to reduced production of thiamine in the rumen Normally something else has occurred to upset the goat's processing of its food intake and that causes the Goat Polio to occur.
Causes- Things that can cause the rumen to not produce the required thiamine are:
Rumen acidosis cause by excessive concentrate feeding and sudden feed changes.
Thiabendazole - active ingredient in some wormer medication like Thibenzole Sheep & Goat Wormer
Levamisole - wormer
Some types of ferns
Following a shot of an antibiotic. - the antibiotic is used for killing bad bacteria but may also kill the good bacteria in the rumen that helps process the feed that results in thiamine. ALWAYS FOLLOW UP ANY ANTIBIOTIC SHOT WITH A TREATMENT OF "PROBIOS" some similar product that will repopulate the rumen with good microbes.
Overdosing of Amprolium - ingredant in medication such as CORID for prevention of coccidiosis: Amprlium is a thiamine analog, competitively inhibits the active transport of thiamine. Feeding horse type of sweet feed with high molasses content.
Signs of Goat Polio-
Not eating and/or diarrhea
Early neurologic dysfunction such as excitability
elevation of the head
staring off into space
As the disease progresses
Involuntary eye movement
extensor rigidity - the muscles that extends or straightens a limb or body part
convulsions Diagnosis Early signs of depression and diarrhea
TREATMENT: CHECK FOR FEVER!! Thiamine (Vitamin B1) injections are critical and, if the problem is Goat Polio, can result in rapid improvement if begun early. Thiamine, like all B vitamins, is water soluble, so the goat eliminates daily what it doesn't utilize in the rumen, making it difficult to overdose thiamine. A sick goat's rumen doesn't produce B vitamins, hence the importance of administering Vitamin B1 daily until it gets well.
FROM ONION CREEK RANCH-
GOAT POLIO OR LISTERIOSIS? Different Causes, Similar Symptoms, Similar Treatments
"Listeriosis and Goat Polio are two very different diseases with extremely similar symptoms. As a general rule, adults tend to contract listeriosis while young kids develop goat polio, but this isn't written in stone. Over the years, many goat raisers have called me, telling me that their vet had them treat only with thiamine for Goat Polio and the goat was getting worse, but when they added my procaine penicillin and dexamathasone protocol, the goat got well. My experience has been that the problem is usually Listeriosis rather than Goat Polio, which is another reason I treat both diseases identically. When I hear of Goat Polio, it is usually in kids in over-managed and over-grained herds, especially show goat herds.
The information provided is how I treat Listeriosis and Goat Polio at Onion Creek Ranch in Texas. I am not a vet but I've been raising quality breeding stock since 1990. Use this information at your own risk and with appropriate care.
Listeriosis: Listeriosis is a brain-stem disease caused by the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes, which is found in soil, water, plant litter, silage, and sometimes in the goat's digestive tract. The bacteria usually enter the goat's body through the mouth and multiply rapidly. There are two types of Listeriosis: one type results in abortions, while the other causes encephalitis. Both types are seldom seen at the same time in the same herd. The organism can be shed in the milk of both carrier and sick goats. Listeriosis is potentially zoonotic (able to be transmitted to humans). Listeriosis is most often seen in intensive management situations and is more common in adult goats than in kids. Because some goats are carriers who never display any symptoms, it is possible to buy infected goats and introduce this disease into a previously uninfected herd. Listeriosis is not contagious from goat to goat. The bacteria is in the environment, waiting to infect a stressed goat. Listeriosis usually shows up in only one stressed goat in the herd.
Listeriosis can be brought on by feeding silage/haylage, suddenly changing type and kind of feed (grain or hay), parasites, dramatic weather changes, and advanced stages of pregnancy. The encephalitic form is most common, causing inflammation of the nerves in the goat's brain stem. Symptoms include some or all of the following: depression, decreased appetite, fever, leaning or stumbling or moving in one direction only, head pulled to flank with rigid neck (similar to symptoms of tetanus and advanced dehydration), facial paralysis on one side, blindness, "slack jaw," and drooling. Diarrhea is present only in the strain of Listeriosis which causes abortions and pregnancy toxemia. Listeriosis can be mistaken for rabies. Immediate treatment is critical. There is no time to waste with Listeriosis. Recovery is more difficult and time-consuming than Goat Polio. A goat can go blind and completely recover its eyesight and overall health if proper treatment is provided; such treatment can take days or even weeks, depending upon the severity of the illness and how quickly treatment is started.
TREATMENT involves administration of high doses of procaine penicillin (300,000 International Units) every six hours on a 24-hour cycle. Higher-than-normal dosage of procaine penicillin is needed to cross the blood- brain barrier to maintain sufficiently high levels of antibiotic in the blood stream to kill the bacteria. I use 10 cc procaine penicillin per 100 pounds bodyweight (double the normal dosage). I give procaine penicillin SQ over the ribs with an 18 gauge needle so the goat doesn't become a pin cushion from repeated injections and try not to give more than 6 cc per injection site, so I divide up high dosages. I also give Vitamin B 1 (Thiamine) injections, dosing at 5 cc per 100 pounds liveweight for 100 mg/ml thiamine every 6 hours. I start giving thiamine into the muscle (IM) and then change to SQ injections after five days. Thiamine of 100 mg/ml strength is required. The only injectable over-the-counter product with 100 mg/ml of thiamine is Fortified Vitamin B Complex. Prescription thiamine (Vitamin B1) is available only from a vet. Injections get the medications into the blood stream faster, and quick treatment is critical with this disease. Thiamine is an appropriate addition to treatment of any sick goat. Very Important: Continue procaine penicillin and thiamine injections for 24 hours after the last symptom has disappeared to avoid a relapse.
Dosing Procaine Penicillin and Thiamine (Vitamin B1)- Procaine Pencillin: 10 cc per 100 lbs. bodyweight every 6 hours on a 24 hour cycle
Thiamine: 4 cc per 100 lbs. bodyweight every 6 hours on a 24 hour cycle
Dexamethasone (prescription cortico-steroid) injections are used to reduce brain stem swelling. Dexamethasone will induce labor in pregnant does, but the doe is likely to abort anyhow, so ending the pregnancy will help save the sick doe. Dexamethasone dosage is 6 cc per 100 pounds bodyweight given IM and in decreasing amounts daily. Dexamethasone must be tapered off rather than stopped abruptly. I don't use Dexamethasone on young kids under six months of age except under the direction of my veterinarian. Steroids suppress the immune system, so they must be used only when necessary.
Dosing Dexamethasone-100 pound goat 200 pound goat
6 cc Day 1 12 cc Day 1
5 cc Day 2 10 cc Day 2
4 cc Day 3 8 cc Day 3
3 cc Day 4 6 cc Day 4
2 cc Day 5 4 cc Day 5
1 cc Day 6 2 cc Day 6
Adjust dosages for other weights. The goal is to finish the Dex injections in six days.
Supportive care, which means stomach tubing electrolytes and protein into the goat, is necessary until the goat is stabilized and able to eat on its own. For protein, I put eight (8) ounces of mixed goat milk replacer in every half gallon of electrolytes and tube feed a weight-appropriate amount divided into three or four tube feedings per day. For an adult goat, I will start tubing with no more than 16 ounces, but this must be adjusted based upon breed and age. See my articles on Stomach Tubing Goats on the Articles page at www.tennesseemeatgoats.com. If you've caught the disease and begun treatment early, the goat may be able to eat and drink on its own.
Goat Polio: Polioencephalomalacia is a metabolic disease with symptoms that are very similar to those of the brain-stem disease Listeriosis (Listeria monocytogenes). Goat polio is usually seen in goats raised under intensive management conditions.
Polioencephalomalacia (also known as Cerebrocortical Necrosis) is thiamine (Vitamin B 1) deficiency. Doesn't sound very serious, does it? Well, it is life threatening to the goat. Any change in the rumen's environment that suppresses normal bacterial activity can interfere with thiamine production. Too much grain decreases the pH of the rumen, creating an acidic condition and predisposing the goat to Goat Polio. Glucose cannot be metabolized without thiamine. If thiamine is either not present or exists in an altered form (thiaminase), then brain cells die and severe neurological symptoms appear.
Causes of thiamine deficiency include incorrect feeding (especially feeding too much grain and too little roughage, i.e. hay and forage), eating moldy hay or grain, dosing CoRid (amprollium, a thiamine inhibitor) to treat coccodiosis, feeding molasses-based grains susceptible to mold (horse & mule feeds), ingesting some species of ferns, sudden changes in diet, the dietary stress of weaning, and reactions to de-wormers thiabendazole and levamisole. Each of these conditions can suppress Vitamin B1 production. The usage of antibiotics destroys flora in the rumen, causing thiamine deficiency. It is important to repopulate the gut with probiotics (live bacteria) after using antibiotics or diarrhea (scour) medications.
Symptoms of Polioencephalomalacia can be any combination of or all of the following: excitability, "stargazing" (nystagmus - involuntary eye movement), uncoordinated staggering and/or weaving (ataxia), circling, diarrhea, muscle tremors, and blindness. Initial symptoms can look like Entertoxemia (overeating disease) because the rumen's flora is compromised. As the disease progresses, convulsions and high fever occur, and if untreated, the goat usually dies within 24-72 hours. Diagnosis is available via laboratory tests, but the goat will be dead before you get test results back.
TREATMENT: Thiamine (Vitamin B1) injections are critical and, if the problem is Goat Polio, can result in rapid improvement if begun early. Thiamine, like all B vitamins, is water soluble, so the goat eliminates daily what it doesn't utilize in the rumen, making it difficult to overdose thiamine. A sick goat's rumen doesn't produce B vitamins, hence the importance of administering Vitamin B1 daily until it gets well.
Since symptoms of Goat Polio can easily look like Listeriosis, I use procaine pencillin (300,000 International Units) in addition to thiamine. Better to cover both possible illnesses with appropriate treatments when symptoms are so similar than risk the goat's dying. See the Listeriosis section of this article for how I dose and treat with procaine penicillin 300 I.U. Important: I continue procaine pencillin and thiamine treatment until 24 hours after the last symptom has disappeared to avoid a relapse. Unless it is a very young (pre-ruminating) kid, I also treat with Dexamethasone. See Listeriosis section of this article for dosing.
The key to overcoming Goat Polio is early diagnosis and treatment. Complete recovery is possible. Try to avoid this disease by decreasing high grain intake, increasing quality roughage, avoiding moldy hay and grain, and not using feed that is susceptible to mold (molasses-based/textured feeds). Goat Polio is almost always caused by improper feeding.
PREVENTION OF BOTH DISEASES: Feed your goats properly. Feed pelleted feed (3/16th of an inch pellets). No textured (horse & mule) feed. No silage/haylage; the possibility of mold is great. No moldy hay. Clean pens. No sudden changes in types of feed (grain or hay). Lots of free-choice quality roughage; this is especially critical in the latter stages of pregnancy. Don't overfeed on grain. Never put out grain free choice; always take up whatever hasn't been eaten after ten minutes."
Understanding lineage and pedigree
I found this site to be the most helpful when understanding the codes on the Certificate of Registration of my goats-