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Goat Care / Diseases

Raising meat goats and Boer goats presents a variety of goat care and goat health issues and specific goat diseases that must be avoided, or controlled. The following are the primary ones to consider. All goat herders must be constantly vigilant for signs of disease and subsequent economic losses.

Some diseases can be transmitted to humans from animals. Most of these can be prevented by good hygiene and are mainly caused by not taking sufficient care when handling carcases or of handling placenta and foetuses. A good reference document for most goat diseases is the "Australian Goat Notes" published by the Australian Cashmere Growers Association.

Some typical signs that one of your goats may not be well are as follows:

  1. Look for goats that are well away from the main herd, and possibly not eating, or having an abnormal body posture, such as a head hanging down, as these should be suspect. Goats separate only for illness or kidding.
  2. Always observe faeces, if the droppings are clumping together, or goat is scouring (diarrhea) or the droppings are very hard, then something may be wrong.
  3. Always look at the herd for goats that lag behind or have problems keeping up with the herd.
  4. Observe the goats’ feet and legs for signs of swelling.
  5. Look for sudden or inexplicable weight loss in animals.
  6. Look for signs of swelling underneath the chin, which might indicate internal parasites, or lack of specific Vitamins or minerals (e.g. iodine).
  7. Look for any abnormal gait that could be staggering, limping or abnormal walking.
  8. Look for any dull and rough coats that may indicate underlying disease or deficiencies.
  9. Look for abnormal discharges such as blood, mucus and pus from the mouth, eyes, ears or vulva, or any other part of the goat’s body.