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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello everyone,

A few weeks ago, we had bloodwork done for one of our goats to check for selenium deficiency. Instead, the results came back showing phosphorus deficiency, signs of hemolysis, and abysmal liver values which the vet has attributed to chronic copper poisoning. We immediately had bloodwork done on the remaining goats in the herd, and they've all come back showing the same. The vet is just as baffled as we are as to how this could have happened.

So far we’ve checked their water, mineral lick, and pellet feed, and nothing has shown up. We’ve sent off a soil test from their pasture to a lab and are waiting for results. Their pasture seems fine but we are going to comb it for toxic plants this weekend just in case.

What could we be missing here? Has anyone experienced similar before? Please help!

EDIT: Forgot some important info. One of our goats died about a month ago, her liver had been degrading for a while and the vet attributed it to genetics. The necropsy showed extensive liver damage.
 

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Do you have older copper piping? A few people that I know put a copper pipe in their goat water buckets to add copper to the water.
I have no idea if it really works vs. giving copper bolus's. But, if it does work, possibly, your pipes are shedding copper? (sorry if this is a dumb
suggestion).
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Do you have older copper piping? A few people that I know put a copper pipe in their goat water buckets to add copper to the water.
I have no idea if it really works vs. giving copper bolus's. But, if it does work, possibly, your pipes are shedding copper? (sorry if this is a dumb
suggestion).
Not a dumb suggestion at all! Copper piping was one of the first things we suspected, we tested the water but there was no copper in it (also none in the river they graze near).
 

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Goats aren’t usually as sensitive to copper as sheep, but I just read of a vet who dealt with a client whose sheep were dying from copper poisoning. The culprit was some old copper bands of some sort, from way back in the day, somewhere in the pasture. The sheep were licking them. Might have to think outside the box for something like that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Hello everyone, thank you so much for your replies! For some reason I didn't get any email notifications about them 😬

Quick update, we've now replaced the goats mineral lick and hay. We also looked at the pasture this week and didn't find any unsavoury plants. I dissolved a piece of their old mineral lick in water and used a test on it, and it did indicate a slight hint of copper. The soil test hasn't come back yet.

We've started giving all the goats a milk thistle supplement to support their liver function, as well as phosphorus to the ones that have a deficiency.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Do you give any additional supplements?
Other than the mineral lick, no, at least not to all of them. Two of our does were getting Roboran sheep vitamins/Progal probiotics with their feed for the last two/one months, respectively. They also got Metacid for about a week.

Now that you've mentioned it, I'm going to ask what they were getting before I started working on the farm and report back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Goats aren’t usually as sensitive to copper as sheep, but I just read of a vet who dealt with a client whose sheep were dying from copper poisoning. The culprit was some old copper bands of some sort, from way back in the day, somewhere in the pasture. The sheep were licking them. Might have to think outside the box for something like that.
Wow, that's wild! Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be anything in the pasture that could be causing this. I'll check again tomorrow just to be absolutely sure. No one's noticed them licking anything out of the ordinary. It's all such a mystery.
 

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Ask your vet about providing a sulfur block. It may help prevent them from absorbing any more copper. I have high selenium in my soil and in years where selenium-rich plants are prevalent (their cyclical) I provide a sulfur block to my horses to prevent selenium poisoning. Sulfur blocks copper uptake as well as selenium. It would be interesting to see if your goats flock to a sulfur block.
 
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