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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We live on 5 acres in Western Washington and have a pack of brush goats that we have been using to clear our underbrush for the last year with no issues. Our friend brought over 2 appearingly healthy goats about 5 weeks ago and things have been getting weird since. We had one of our does have a miscarriage (about halfway in her pregnancy) about 4 weeks ago which we assumed was from being ramed by a new goat establishing dominance since we didn't know she was bred and kept her with the pack.. Then on Thursday I went to town at around 3pm and came back to one of my yearling bucks down and convulsing. He wouldn't drink but we surge fed him water and Nutri Drench Power Punch.. He didn't make it. He was in an area high in bracken fern (Been separated from the rest of the herd for about a week and a half since he didn't like the new goats, Nobody else was by bracken fern), We didn't know it was posionious and counted that loss as our fault for having him in an area with posionious food. We removed the bracken fern by the roots and burned it all weekend. This morning I just woke up to another goat down.. Alive but barely, Looks just like that last one. This is one of the new goats. I gave his Probios and Power Punch.

WHAT IS GOING ON?! We haven't had any problems before.. I don't want to loose my whole herd. I don't know any goat vets in our area.

Please help?! Any ideas???
 

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Goatless goat momma
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oh wow...that's really unfortunate. i'm really sorry for what you're going through.

I looked up bracken fern goat poisoning, and found this:
Bracken fern is very common in wooded areas and unimproved
pastures. Most animals will not eat bracken fern if there is adequate
pasture or other feed. In ruminants, such as goats, bracken fern must
be consumed over a period of several weeks before toxicity signs
develop. Affected animals are listless, show weight loss and may
exhibit small hemorrhages on the mucous membranes. They may die from
internal hemorrhages.

do you have it in other areas where they're eating it? if it's poison you're thinking, you should find some activated charcoal and make them eat that.

also, are they up to date with worming? could it possibly be bloat? how many goats do you have and what kind? are they pooing properly? what other symptoms did you see?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
They were wormed about 2 months ago, I don't think its bloat.. They are brush goats so they are just eating brush and mineral block. We had 9 goats but lost one on Thursday and I don't think this one will pull through either. Both young bucklings about 1 year old. The first loss was a nubian/boer cross and this guy is a lamanacha. Everyone is pooing properly and showing no signs of sickness until its suddenly to late.. Im so confused!
 

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I agree with activate charcoal. Can you take a temp on the sick one? Any other signs like thrashing around on the ground, diarhea, stargazing, nasal discharge, raspy breathing ect.,
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
He is staring off into space if thats what you mean by stargazing. He is down, Can't lift his head, wont put weight on his legs.. exactly like the last one. I need to get some charcoal but we are an hour from town and an hour back, I don't think he is going to make it that long. No wounds, broken bones, signs of injury.. Do you guys think my whole herd is going to get whatever is going on?!
 

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It could be so many things. It is just hard to say. I would go through your pasture and look to see what you have and try to indentify them. You may have more poisonous plants around than you think. You may have a worm problem and don't realize it. The new goats may have brought a disease with them and it is spreading through the herd.
 

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If you his temp is 100 or better start putting some type of energy in him... molasses or Karo in warm water. Coffee, just black, does wonders.
 

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It could be so many things. It is just hard to say. I would go through your pasture and look to see what you have and try to indentify them. You may have more poisonous plants around than you think. You may have a worm problem and don't realize it. The new goats may have brought a disease with them and it is spreading through the herd.
Very true. I think the biggest thing now is get his temp and see if you can geta him up and moving. If it over 103 he has a fever and you assume infection. Under 100 and you really need to get him warn. There are alot of ways to do that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
im trying to find the themometer but im having a hard time. He wont get up, just lets me drag him. No weight on his legs, nothing. I tried to give him some Karo but that was basically just a huge mess.. I don't know that he really got any down
 

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wow..Im so sorry..like Karen said..so many things.... could be a coincidence you bringing in the other goats, but you can not rule it out...with the stress of the new goats the immune system is weakened. It makes since poison plants can be an issue with such a fast onset..if you can not get activated Charocol I would give MOM...it may cause th runs but it helps reduce toxcity in the gut..also give CD Antitoxin and Banamine for pain...
here is a link to tennessee meat goats about this treatment
http://www.tennesseemeatgoats.com/articles2/poisoningandtoxi.html
 

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Don't know how to link back and don't want to waste time -- here is a post from 2011:
"Rosesgoats
Senior Member

Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 126
Bracken fern poisoning
To anyone who lives where bracken fern grows, please watch out for it! It is poisonous to ruminants by inhibiting thiamine production in the rumen. The goat will exhibit signs of goat polio by going blind first and then progressing to paralysis. I just had a friend with a goat who ate some bracken fern go blind. He caught it early and gave her B vitamin shots for 3 days straight and she made a full recovery. She was blind for a while until she got better."
Do you have any thiamine, just in case it is the bracken doing this?
 

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I'm watching you
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These are very very common in Western Washington and Oregon. Horse tail ferns. They quick acute Polio and death. In this area we must always have bottle of Thiamin or B complex 150 handy. These Horsetails and Braken Fern (which is a little less poisonous) also contain Nicotine so are addicting to the animals.
 

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