Moat Goats, 1.6.17

I started my 5th day by assisting Steph with the morning jobs.

It’s an ideal opportunity to identify any cases of lameness, as the goats are eager to follow you for their breakfast of cake. Whilst I was bedding down the maternity pens, Steph noticed that Curley, who is usually bouncing around, was lame. The treatment was spraying the inside of the hooves with an antibiotic aerosol spray. It was interesting to hear about the cause being interdigital dermatitis (foot scald) opposed to foot rot. I believe I have used the term ”foot rot” for foot scale, as cases of foot rot affect the horn and have severe clinical signs.


Foot scald is caused by Fusobacterium necrophorum, whereas this initial infection is followed by Dichelobacter Nicosia in cases of foot rot as it produces horn-digesting enzymes. Both are treated with antibiotic aerosol sprays, such as Terramycin. Some farmers will inject a long-acting antibiotic to control an outbreak.  

Blue spray is usually magic. The next day, goats will be back on their feet, and the antibiotics are effective.

Another cause of  lameness is caprine arthritis encephalitis (CAE), which is new information to me. I often see CAE mentioned in for sale posts on goat forums, prior to my kidding experience all I knew was that it was frequently tested for in herds. An infected goat will continue to shed the virus their whole life, there is no cure to CAE. It is caused by a lentivirus and the infected macrophages will spread to lymph nodes, mammary glands, choroid plexus of the brain and synovial membranes. The clinical signs include: hard udder, encephalitis and arthritis.

There was a busy day of kidding ahead of us. I learned a lot from Steph, a very experienced and knowledgable lamber. She reminded me to close my eyes to aid my visualisation of the kid’s position.

A doe had been in labour for over 30 minutes and the 30-30-30 rule is an outline of time scales for intervention. Before assisting with the kidding, we would insert a few fingers gently to do a vaginal examination. I was able to feel whether the presentation of the kids was preventing the doe from delivering them. It was a difficult situation to comprehend, 2 kids were trying to come at the same time whilst the first was sideways with a twisted head. Steph quickly deciphered between the twins and helped the doe whilst I watched in astonishment. A goat’s is more easily torn as we quickly learnt.

It wasn’t soon after the first set of twins, that a doe began to kid. Steph intervened due to the large amount of meconium which is a sign of trauma. The problem was the size of the kid’s head, but fortunately as Steph saved the twins, the tear was superficial.

The next doe to kid was straining for over 30 minutes, I assisted as the sac failed the rupture. The second kid was difficult to feel due to the sac but I was able to pop it to grip onto the kid.

Post-kidding, all of the does got a scoop of cake. It is important to meet the increased energy demand to prevent toxaemia from occurring. Post-partiurient toxaemia is also called fatty liver syndrome and goats with large fat deposits can develop this. Internal fat reduces the rumen volume, causing a reduction in food intake. Other problems resulting from nutritional factors include Lactational ketosis (acetoaemia) and Hypoglacemia (milk fever). I injected those I intervened with Pen + Strep (sub cut) to prevent metritis. After a few injections, I could inject without the need for a second person to hold the doe still (proud moment)!

I had been looking forward to this day in particular as the first 7 doelings were being disbudded. They have to be disbudded in the first 7 days, so it was important that we took the oldest. I lined buckets with straw and placed twins together, for the most part they were fast asleep on the journey to the practice. One by one, I took a goat from the car to the vets table and watched the process of the vet nurse administering isoflurene gas and the vet disbudding the kid, before waiting until she was conscious again to take back to the car. When I took them through the reception they screamed… of course!
It was interesting to see that all 3 vets that I have watched throughout the complete disbudding procedure used 3 different anaesthetics. I have only seen intravenous injections into the jugular vein of ketamine and metacam, and on another occasion ketamine, xylazine and butorphanol.  However, the same technique to remove the whole bud and cauterise the area then spray with an aersol antibiotic was used.

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