Goat Screaming & Writhing In Pain

Discussion in 'Health & Wellness' started by Couple of Quacks, Nov 13, 2019.

  1. Couple of Quacks

    Couple of Quacks New Member

    Nov 13, 2019
    Hello Everyone,

    A few weeks ago, we heard a scream and ran into the barn to find our 9 month wether on his side, legs straight out head back, screaming in pain.

    He continued to have these episodes throughout the day (and has now for three weeks) and seems to be in discomfort for the remainder. He's even rubbed off the hair on one side of his face, I think from rubbing on the fence to distract from his pain. Sometimes he'll be standing with his head twisted back screaming, sometimes on his side, or nearly his back writhing, but silent with his eyes closed like he's passed out, and sometimes like the first episode. It hasn't intensified or alleviated, just stayed the same.

    Our first thought was urinary calculi, but after an ammonium chloride & urinary non-steroidal anti-inflammatory treatment regimen, and an extended stay at the vet, urine analysis, etc. that's ruled out (he was peeing regularly and his urine was acidic.

    The vet also treated him for a urinary infection with antibiotics, but to no avail. He hasn't had a fever either, so we're not thinking infection.

    We do have an adolescent LGD in with the herd, who has been known to try to "play" with the goats (we're working on it), but has never hurt one. Also there was no wound or blood and even if it were completely internal, I don't think he would have made it this long.

    We're getting a test for Lyme, but the pain seems rather intense for Lyme, and he has no loss of appetite.

    My current hypothesis is ulcers. Some of the drugs we used to treat the other diagnoses could have made them worse (antibiotics & anti-inflammatories). We've been giving him Carafate (stomach lining med for ulcers) and baking soda twice a day. It doesn't really seem to be helping much though.

    The vet seemed to be stumped so I'm reaching out here hoping somebody has had a similar experience. Please help!

    Note: It's been in the teens here at night and he's been shivering a good deal. All the other goats are fine (and usually are even below zero.) Just an observation.
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2019
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  2. Goat Whisperer

    Goat Whisperer Well-Known Member

    Dec 3, 2018
    Is he having proper bowel movements? Could he have eaten bailing twine or something he shouldn’t have?

    I’ve never had anything like this! Poor guy.

  3. happybleats

    happybleats Well-Known Member

    Sep 12, 2010
    Gustine Texas
    Oh How sad...poor baby...Have you put pressure along the spine to see if he gives a pain response? What is his eyes doing when he is screaming and twisting? Do they dart about, twitch? Dilate? did the vet rule out seizures? spinal injury? an x ray can show if he ate something he shouldn't.
  4. Couple of Quacks

    Couple of Quacks New Member

    Nov 13, 2019
    Thanks for the reply. He's been pooping fine, but that's a good thought. The vet took xray and ultrasound without finding anything. I'm not sure if something like that would show. He's not bloated at all either.
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  5. Couple of Quacks

    Couple of Quacks New Member

    Nov 13, 2019
    Thanks for the reply. The vet did some palpations in her exam, but I don't know if she focused on the spine. I'll try that.
    We had discussed seizures, but the vet seemed to decide against because the varying degrees and presentations of the episodes and that he seems like he's in pain/discomfort almost all the time. I'll make sure to note his eye movements & dilation though.
    The vet took xrays and ultrasound, but they were focused on the bladder area. He seems to be pooping normally though.
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  6. Damfino

    Damfino Well-Known Member

    Dec 29, 2013
    Right behind you
    This is so sad! Poor baby. The fact that he's rubbing the hair off his face makes me wonder if the pain is somewhere in his head like in a sinus cavity or tooth. I hope you can figure this out soon!
  7. happybleats

    happybleats Well-Known Member

    Sep 12, 2010
    Gustine Texas
    sure throws me off with him still having an appetite. Most times they will not eat if they feel bad or are in pain. This is why I thought seizure. Also check that side of his face for feeling..does that eye blink..is they side of the mouth a little droopy etc...if he has partial paralysis..it will feel funny and he may rub his face for that reason. I would check teeth and ears well..check for bad smell in ears look as deep in them as you can. Do feel every inch of his spine for pain reaction..dont forget the neck area..
  8. Goats Rock

    Goats Rock Member

    Jun 20, 2011
    NE Ohio
    Would the dog have grabbed and shaken him? What breed is he? Does Banamine help? Or Dexamethasone?
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  9. mariarose

    mariarose Well-Known Member

    Mine would have found relief through a bullet by now as I'll kill to stop pain VERY soon.

    I hope you find a solution, very soon, for it's own sake.
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  10. SalteyLove

    SalteyLove Well-Known Member

    Jun 18, 2011
    New England
    Would your vet be willing to try a course of steroids?

    I'd be injecting large doses of B-Complex and a dose of Banamine daily.

    So he is eating plenty of hay and his rumen is working?

    No trouble walking?
  11. Moers kiko boars

    Moers kiko boars Well-Known Member

    Apr 22, 2018
    I have a few questions..have you recently brought in any new animals? Do have cats or chickens, is their food in the barn? Have you tried any new wormers? Feed? Have you checked for tics or snake bite? Tics can get into the ear canal. I would scream my head off if that happened to me. Have you checked his teeth or inside his mouth For cuts, sores, or anything stuck in his mouth? Be careful..DO NOT put your fingers in his jaw teeth area...they are very sharp & strong.
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  12. Trollmor

    Trollmor Well-Known Member

    Aug 19, 2011
    Goatless in Sweden
    Poor boy! My thoughts have been nicely expressed above. But I am just as much at a loss as the rest of you. My thought was the possibility of him having eaten a sharp little stick, that has got stuck somewhere on the way, moving sometimes, and not possible to see on X-ray.

    And if you do not find the reason, and he goes on screaming, of course you must "take the hard decision". :hug:

    By the way - Welcome here! (grouphug)
  13. Pashi

    Pashi New Member

    How awful. I am so sorry for your baby. Have you noticed any weakness in his lower extremities? Or any changes in urination? Inflammation of the tissues surrounding the spinal cord or leakage of cerebrospinal fluid can cause severe, intractable pain (in humans). This can be caused by spinal structure abnormalties, connective tissue disorders, autoimmune disorders, trauma, maybe tumors? I believe an MRI would be diagnostic, but it may require contrast (and finding a vet that does this.) If your vet thinks it is safe, I wonder if a steroid, gabapentin, and maybe opioids could be tried. I really hope he feels better soon.
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  14. toth boer goats

    toth boer goats Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2008
    Corning California
    With him in pain and pulling his head back in pain, you would think polio/listeria, but it this has been going on for quite some time, it is a mystery.

    As was asked prior, are his eyes darting, twitching?

    Has he gotten up on his own?
    If not and he has been down all this time, that is a problem, he may not be able to now.

    Have you made a cushioned hoist to get him up? His legs need massaged and moved around naturally.Have it to where his knees are slightly bent so if he wants to try to stand on his own he can. Have him in it for a couple of hours supervised and do it on and off, throughout the day.

    Is his rumen working OK?

    Sounds like enterotoxemia, but it has been too long, so that is most likely ruled out.

    Was a fecal done for worms and cocci? Or bacteria? salmonella? Other?

    Check the mouth for abscess tooth.

    Has any blood been taken to measure any type of infection? Sepsis?

    Tetanus? Although been too long.

    White muscle disease?

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  15. SalteyLove

    SalteyLove Well-Known Member

    Jun 18, 2011
    New England
    Down here in CT, a livestock with a mystery beyond normal diagnosis tools would be referred to Tufts University veterinary clinic which is a teaching school and specialty clinic for small and large animals. Is there anywhere like that in Maine?
  16. Pashi

    Pashi New Member

    SalteyLove, good point. If there is not a major veterinary school in Maine, contacting Tufts may not be a bad idea. Even if they can't examine the "patient", they may have some ideas and they may be interested in investigating. Their website may have contact info.
  17. alicejane

    alicejane Active Member

    Jan 15, 2014
    I would think the mouth & sinus area after all the test.
    Or something stuck in his throat or ears. If he has normal bowel and urin & his first reaction.
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  18. Couple of Quacks

    Couple of Quacks New Member

    Nov 13, 2019
    Thanks for all the help! Still trying to troubleshoot this.

    He's been lifting his legs and limping a bit (but not always and not consistently the same leg). I've heard this is a sign of colic/bloat, but he's not obviously distended. His rumen does feel more bloated (like a balloon vs the usual taught muscle-y feel of a normal full rumen). I'm thinking about drenching with some cooking oil just in case. I've been giving baking soda too, which would help with that too.

    I looked in his mouth and felt/palpated around, and didn't find anything abnormal.

    His face/eyes/ears look and seem normal. I went over his spine with no pain response nor abnormality.

    He's a Nigerian, about 60 pounds. The dog is around 100 already so I guess that's plausible, but I would think there would have been a mark for a serious injury to have occured. I need to talk to the vet about other med options. Banamine can make ulcers worse, so I've stayed away from that just in case. A steroid like Dexamethasone might be a good option (non-steroidals also make ulcers worse)-I'll see if I can get it prescribed.

    We gave him one dose of B but I'll try daily dose-I guess it can't hurt, being water-soluble. I've been avoiding Banamine in case it's ulcers but will talk to vet about steroids.

    He's eating and pooping fine, he does seem to be limping (see above).
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  19. Couple of Quacks

    Couple of Quacks New Member

    Nov 13, 2019
    No new animals, wormers, feed, and he wouldn't be able to get into anything besides his hay. They do have a pasture, but it's same one they're in every winter, and everything is dead anyway.
    We don't really have snakes here (nor poisonous anything, one of the nice perks of being in Maine), and they get ticks all the time, but I haven't found any on him recently. His ears and mouth look good.

    Yeah, eating something sharp's a possibility. And wouldn't reasonably be able to afford surgery for that, so if ulcer/bloat treatment doesn't work, we'll have to think about that.
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  20. Couple of Quacks

    Couple of Quacks New Member

    Nov 13, 2019
    Thanks, I'll check that out!

    Ears/Nose/Throat all look okay, but I guess another check wouldn't hurt.
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