Animal Health & Welfare • Want Goats?
I chose four important factors of goat care for this article- parasite prevention, CAE testing, hoof trimming and toxic plants. I talked to local Goat Guru, Janis Dolphin, and asked for her input on these four subjects.
What parasites typically affect goats? Janis says, “Coccidiosis in kids has been a problem from time to time, but is easily cured if you recognize the nasty diarrhea and treat it immediately. Untreated goats may get over the diarrhea, but can remain poor keepers, stunted and scrawny, for the rest of their lives due to gut damage. Stomach worms are a constant threat, but the trick is to keep them down to a very low level so they don’t cause the goat problems (like anemia, poor coat, lack of condition). I worm with an herbal blend that’s given weekly and have fecal tests done periodically to make sure my program is working. I use ivermectin and fenbendazole for a couple of de-wormings with young kids who may not be eating grain well enough to consume the herbal de-wormer yet.”
What is CAE? Goats can get Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis from other goats through contact with saliva, urine and feces. “I’ve had goats for over 40 years and had one case of CAE. A doe developed swollen knees and mastitis and was culled from the herd promptly. It’s a nasty, insidious disease with no cure so it’s worth testing for and making sure your goats are healthy”, says Janis. Collecting a blood sample and sending it to the lab for testing will tell you if your goat has CAE.
Proper hoof care is mandatory. As the hoof walls grow, they need to be trimmed back to maintain a flat surface on the bottom of the hoof. “I start trimming the kids’ hooves at two months and trim everyone’s feet every month. It’s so much easier when the hooves aren't too overgrown and keeping them trim avoids hoof rot and lameness problems”. As a hoof trimmer myself, a goat who is comfortable with regular trims, and trained to stand for them, is better for everyone.
Your friendly neighbor who just did some yard work could kill your goat! “A friend almost lost her herd queen when someone gave the goats an armload of brush trimmings containing some rhododendron”. Along with rhododendron, azalea, foxglove and even bracken fern can all be toxic to your goats.
Keeping any kind of animal requires that you educate yourself on the risks and responsibilities in order to provide a healthy life for your pet(s).