Looking for opinions on what may have happened

Discussion in 'Health & Wellness' started by Danielle Borden, Feb 14, 2019.

  1. Danielle Borden

    Danielle Borden New Member

    5
    Dec 20, 2018
    Valley Center
    Hello all! Yesterday and today we had our first experience with goat illness that ended in death unfortunately. We have had Nigerian dwarfs for 4 years and have never dealt with any sort of illness (luckily). 3 weeks ago we brought home our first ever adult doe (we have only ever purchased kids or kept our own from our does). She and her herd tested negative for Johnes/cl/cae (sorry if I got the abbreviations incorrect). I also brought home another doe from the same herd. Both UTD on vaccinations. They were kept together separate for 2 weeks and seemingly completely healthy. Upon arrival I de-wormed, BoSe, and probios. They are fed alfalfa and some grains with minerals. On occasion beet pulp for treats. The same thing the last owner fed them. Yesterday morning, I let the goats out and all was usual. By afternoon, I noticed she had scours. Treated her with dewormer, corid, electrolytes, and biomycin 200 I keep on hand incase a doe has a difficult labor (admittedly I’ve never had a need to administer biomycin, so it was my first time but I feel that I did it correctly). Checked on her that evening. Still had scours but was interested in dinner and overall seemed ok. No fever. Checked on her at 2am and same. Went out at 630 and she had taken a turn. Labored breathing, crying, and hardly able to stand. 98 degree temp, so I knew it was probably too late. But I called the vet who came immediately. By the time he arrived, she was taking her last breaths. He still gave her the shot to put her down at my request (sorry, I don’t know what that is called) because I couldn’t stand to see her suffer another second. The vet is at a COMPLETE loss as to what could have happened. Doesn’t sound like pneumonia, parasites, or coccidia because of how quickly it all happened, and hard to say it’s bacterial because she never had a fever. Literally no clue as to what could have happened. He inspected every single one of goats in my herd at my request (gotta love that bill), and all seem fine. All have pebbled stools. He suspects it might be something congenital, but can’t say for sure unless we take her for an autopsy (which honestly isn’t realistic for us to do). I am a complete basket case at this point and extremely concerned about the rest of my herd. I’m checking on them all hourly and taking temps constantly. I contemplated bringing them all into the house to keep an eye on them but my husband said no. So I told him I’ll go sleep with them outside. Lol. But I will seriously probably check on them every hour through the night. Has anyone ever experienced a decline this quickly? Or have ANY clue to what may have happened (yes, I understand it would just be speculation)? How long should I be a lunatic for about all my other goats until I can take a deep breath and be confident they won’t all fall ill also?!?! I am just beside myself right now. Any advice would be appreciated.
     
  2. ksalvagno

    ksalvagno Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Did you have the vet do a necropsy? Unfortunately pneumonia can come on that quickly. So pneumonia is one possiblity. Sorry you lost her.
     

  3. toth boer goats

    toth boer goats Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2008
    Corning California
    I do agree and so very sorry. :(
     
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  4. Danielle Borden

    Danielle Borden New Member

    5
    Dec 20, 2018
    Valley Center
    Thank you so much for your reply. We would have had to make a 3 hour drive to do a necropsy and it wasn’t realistic for us yesterday as it was the biggest storm we’ve had in YEARS. Wouldn’t have been safe or smart to drive. Any other day I would have, I can promise you that. I immediately thought/think pneumonia also, but the vet really didn’t think so as she never had a fever and her lungs actually sounded ok (according to him). I just can’t belive it happened so fast. All of the rest of the herd is fine today also, so I’m really hoping it was just something congenital. It will just have to be a mystery I guess. I was mainly just wondering if anyone else had experienced a decline that quickly and what I maybe could have done differently. I’m not one to get offended if anything thinks I did anything wrong.
     
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  5. GoofyGoat

    GoofyGoat Well-Known Member

    Sep 21, 2018
    TEXAS
    I'm so very sorry you lost your doe.
     
  6. Danielle Borden

    Danielle Borden New Member

    5
    Dec 20, 2018
    Valley Center
    Thank you very much. We didn’t have her for very long, but she was just the sweetest thing
     
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  7. cbrossard

    cbrossard Well-Known Member

    552
    Oct 4, 2014
    I am SO sorry. I have had that happen and I know exactly what you are going through. My best guess would be pneumonia too because it happened so quickly. Goats can get Interstitial Pneumonia from damp weather or big weather changes. It is easy to miss the high fever because they spike a fever and then it drops very quickly. My understanding is that once the temp drops, it is pretty much too late, but even if you catch it when the fever spikes it is hard to treat. I lost a young doeling last year and I believe that is what happened. I don't know what else would cause her to die so quickly...

    Reference: http://www.tennesseemeatgoats.com/articles2/pneumonia06.html

    Sorry i can't be of more help.
     
  8. Damfino

    Damfino Well-Known Member

    Dec 29, 2013
    Right behind you
    I'm very sorry you lost your doe, and I'm especially sorry you don't know what hit her. That is always very upsetting.

    I'm just going to throw this out there, and please don't feel bad, but I tend to think that piling too much medication into a goat at once can over-stress their systems and cause a worse problem than the one you're dealing with (in this case scours). Scours does not have to be caused by parasites or coccidia. Since you had already wormed her two weeks prior, it is unlikely she would have had such a terrific parasite bloom in two weeks that she would have sudden-onset diarrhea requiring immediate re-treatment. And coccidiosis, while certainly possible in older goats, is not usually the first thing I would treat for because it's just not as common in adults.

    Usually with diarrhea I like to "wait and see" for a day or two. I will usually give probiotics, and if I think they're dehydrated I'll also put electrolytes in their water, but I'll give it a good 24-48 hours to clear up without medication unless I know the cause. Sometimes goats get diarrhea just like people, and it's quite often caused by something they ate that disagreed with them. Where I live, grass is just starting to poke up in our pastures, so I expect one or two goats may get the runs as things begin to get green. For this type of scours, a couple doses of Pepto-Bismol usually clears it up. If the cause were bacterial, a medication such as Scour-Halt would probably treat it effectively. Unless a goat is already on death's door, it is usually better to try to figure out the cause of the scours and treat specifically rather than throwing the medicine chest at them.

    Another thing to consider is medication intolerance. I have a goat that reacts poorly to oxytetracycline. She seems fine at first but by the next day she is stove up like she has arthritis all over her body and can barely walk. I know this is nothing like the symptoms your goat experienced, but bad reactions to medications can come in many forms. It's possible your goat was intolerant to one of those medications, or to the combination of them. The potential for chemical combinations to cause a reaction is one reason I try to avoid giving more than one medication at the same time. By only giving one at a time, if a goat reacts poorly to a certain medication or vaccine, I know exactly which one it was. I know my goat Tigerlily reacts to oxytetracycline because it was the only medication in her system at the time. The prescribed second dose amplified her symptoms, so at that point I knew for sure it was the medication that was making her ill, not that she'd been kicked by a horse (which was what I actually suspected at first).

    Once again, I'm very sorry you lost your doe. It's very possible that her death had nothing to do with the medications you gave her and she was going to go downhill fast regardless. Without a necropsy it's impossible to know for sure, and sometimes even a necropsy leaves people stumped. It may have been something totally outside of your control and untreatable. There was a goat on here a month or so ago that died very suddenly of asphyxiation, and it turned out she was in the advanced stages of cancer. It didn't show any symptoms at all until she suddenly died. So try not to beat yourself up, and try not to worry too much about your other goats. You did the best you could with the knowledge you had, and that's all any of us can expect from ourselves. I hope your other goats stay bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.
     
  9. Danielle Borden

    Danielle Borden New Member

    5
    Dec 20, 2018
    Valley Center
    Thank you so much for your honest opinion. I do agree, I panicked because I’ve never had an unwell goat before and treated her with several treatments very quickly. I know that coccidia is extremely uncommon in older goats, but I figured with the stress of the move it was always an option. I didn’t stop to think to give it some time to play out. I also gave anti biotics because I have always had a thought of pneumonia in the back of my mind ever since we had goats and we’ve had the wettest winter in probably a decade. Im in San Diego and it always heats up during the day so I know it’s a breeding ground for yuckies. Next time
    I will most definitely take my time and wait it out at least overnight. Thank you for your honesty and well wishes. It is much appreciated!
     
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  10. Damfino

    Damfino Well-Known Member

    Dec 29, 2013
    Right behind you
    Thank you for not taking offense. Always before administering antibiotics, I take a goat's temperature. Rule of thumb: if temp. is high, there's an infection starting somewhere and antibiotics are indicated. If no temp. or if temp. is low, do not give antibiotics. At best they will do no good and at worst they could make the goat sicker. Low temperature indicates rumen trouble and antibiotics kill good gut bacteria, amplifying the problem.

    Diarrhea as the first symptom indicates that your goat was having digestive problems, not pneumonia. Pneumonia could have developed as a secondary complication if she was down, but probably not in this case, especially since you gave oxytetracycline as a preventive. It's a good antibiotic and it would be hard for pneumonia to get started with that in her system. If she was in the last stages of pneumonia when the vet saw her, he would have heard it in her lungs because at that point they would have been almost completely filled with fluid. So I'm going to go with rumen shut-down.

    I know it's easy to panic in the moment (been there, done that!), but try to keep a few things in mind when dealing with scours. Adult goats rarely die overnight from diarrhea, so it's ok to take a little time to figure things out before medicating for everything. The gut works by using good bacteria to break food down. Sometimes a change in food, stress, a sudden change in weather (you said you had a really bad storm), etc. can affect the motility and bacteria in the gut. The CD+T vaccine helps immunize the goat against one of the nasty sudden bacteria changes in the gut known as enterotoxemia, which is caused by the clostridium perfringens bacteria. Since the vaccine is not 100% effective under all conditions, I like to keep C&D antitoxin on hand and I will sometimes give a shot to a goat that has diarrhea and is acting ill. It is a temporary vaccine rather than an antibiotic so it doesn't compromise the gut like many medications can do. I don't usually give it to an adult goat that just started scouring and is otherwise energetic and eating well, but it is a good first line of defense when a scouring goat starts to look "off".

    As mentioned above, antibiotics can kill the good bacteria in the gut as well as the bad. If the good bacteria is already compromised, adding antibiotics can make the problem worse. Probiotics support good gut bacteria and are another great "first line of defense" for digestive problems. Whenever I do have to give antibiotics, I make sure to also give probiotics to support rumen function.

    Another "first line of defense" for gut trouble is Vitamin B complex. I keep it on hand and give it to goats during stress (such as a difficult kidding), or when I suspect health problems, particularly rumen trouble. When a goat's rumen is not functioning properly, their body can become dangerously low on Vitamin B1 (thiamine), resulting in polio. Even if a goat doesn't need thiamine, it won't hurt to give them Vitamin B complex anyway. They simply pee out what their body doesn't use.

    All of the above treatments (given in no particular order) belong in the "can't hurt, might help" category. They support healthy rumen function, and even if the goat has something else going on those treatments won't interfere.

    If diarrhea is caused by parasites, you will need to deworm the goat, but try not to panic. The goat will not die overnight from worms. Parasites take time to kill and the goat will likely start wasting away long before it actually dies. If a goat looks healthy and energetic, is carrying good weight, has a nice coat, etc. they probably are not carrying a dangerous worm load and you can hold off on giving worm medicine until you're sure worms are the culprit. I usually see clumpy and/or stringy poo when our goats have worms. Parasites don't usually cause them to go from well-formed berries to diarrhea overnight.

    Same thing with coccidia in adults. Most adults have some immunity to coccidia, so even if they do get a bloom during a time of stress, it is very unlikely to kill them overnight. They may even beat it off without medication if their immune system is healthy.

    Hopefully this has been a helpful post. These are just general guidelines and there are always outliers. However, I find it helpful not to think in terms of "worst case scenarios" but rather what is most common.
     
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  11. Danielle Borden

    Danielle Borden New Member

    5
    Dec 20, 2018
    Valley Center
    That is all extremely helpful and is very appreciated. I did go to “worst case scenario” immediately. You have definitely helped me calm down and take a step back. If it happens again (and hopefully it doesn’t) your info makes me feel much better and informed. Like I’m sure you read from my previous posts, I’ve had goats for some time, but have no experience in illnesses. While that’s a good thing, not so much when it actually happens. Again, thanks so much for taking the time to reply in so much detail and information.
     
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