1. Home
  2. Knowledge Base
  3. Animal Guides
  4. Goats
  5. Potential Goat Health Challenges

Potential Goat Health Challenges

Updated July 10, 2020

When it comes to goats, if you want to ensure that you treat any health challenges as early as possible, you’ll have to spend a lot of time with the herd, so slight changes and symptoms are more apparent to you. By conducting regular full body health examinations, you’ll be able to know what healthy looks and feels (and smells!) like, and when you should be concerned.

Animal Healthcare Disclaimer

This is not an exhaustive list of everything that can happen to a goat, but can help you get a sense of what challenges a goat under your care may face in their lifetime. If you believe a goat is facing a health issue, always discuss with a qualified veterinarian as soon as possible. Reading about health issues does not qualify you to diagnose your residents!

Issues By Afflicted Area

Appetite/Drinking Changes: Anaplasmosis, Anemia, Bloat, CL, Coccidiosis, Enterotoxemia, Internal Parasites, Listeriosis, Upper Respiratory Infection, Urinary Calculi

Blood: Anaplasmosis, Anemia, Anthrax, Barber Pole, Coccidiosis, Internal Parasites

Breathing/Mouth: Abscesses, Anaplasmosis, Barber Pole, Bottle Jaw, CAE, Clostridial DiseaseListeriosis, Lungworms, Sore Mouth, Upper Respiratory Infection, White Muscle Disease

Droppings: Anaplasmosis, Coccidiosis, Internal Parasites, Johne’s Disease, Pizzle End RotTapeworms, Urinary Calculi

Energy/Movement: Anaplasmosis, Anemia, Anthrax, Arthritis, Barber Pole, Bloat, CAE, CL, Clostridial DiseaseCoccidiosisEnterotoxemia, Hoof Rot, Internal Parasites, Joint Infections, LaminitisListeriosis, Mastitis, Overgrown Hooves, Parelaphostrongylus Tenuis (Meningeal Worm, Deer Worm, Brain Worm), Pizzle End RotTapeworms, Thiamine DeficiencyUpper Respiratory Infection, Urinary Calculi, White Muscle Disease

Eyes: Anemia,  Barber Pole, Clostridial DiseasePink Eye, Thiamine Deficiency

Feet/Hooves: Arthritis, CAE, Foot ScaldHoof Rot, Joint Infections, Laminitis, Overgrown Hooves

Head/Neck: Abscesses, CL, Listeriosis, Sore Mouth

Legs/Joints: Arthritis, CAE, Foot Scald, Joint Infections, Laminitis, Overgrown Hooves, Parelaphostrongylus Tenuis (Meningeal Worm, Deer Worm, Brain Worm)

Skin/Coat: Abscesses, Anemia, Arthritis, CAE, CL, Lice, Mange, Parelaphostrongylus Tenuis (Meningeal Worm, Deer Worm, Brain Worm), Sore Mouth

Social Changes: Anaplasmosis, Anemia, Anthrax, Arthritis, Barber Pole, Bloat, CAE, Clostridial DiseaseListeriosisPizzle End RotTapeworms, Upper Respiratory Infection, White Muscle Disease

Udder: Abscesses, CAE, CL, Lice, Sore Mouth, Mastitis

Weight: Anaplasmosis, Anemia, Arthritis, Barber Pole, CAE, CL, Coccidiosis, Internal Parasites, Johne’s Disease, Listeriosis, Tapeworms



Abscesses are pockets of pus that can develop internally or externally. They can develop in any area of the body, but some common sites for goats include their feet, face, and neck. Abscesses can form for a variety of reasons, including infections, poor wound management, and benign reactions to vaccinations or injectable medications. Abscesses can also form as a result of Caseous Lymphadenitis, a highly contagious condition that can cause internal and external abscesses. This disease is spread through contact with the pus, so separating individuals with external abscesses is typically recommended. In the event of a suspected abscess, it should be first evaluated by a veterinarian or experienced caregiver- they can aspirate the lump to determine if it is an abscess or not. Depending on the location, size, and whether or not the goat is displaying other signs of concern, your veterinarian may decide to lance the abscess. In most cases, a culture will be recommended to determine the best course of action. Your veterinarian will be able to advise you about any necessary treatments based on the cause of the abscess. If you have not been trained to identify and lance an abscess, you must work closely with your veterinarian. Not all external lumps are abscesses, and cutting into tumors or other masses could result in serious issues. Also be aware that any abscess on the neck or near major blood vessels should always be evaluated by a veterinarian. In these instances, it may be too dangerous to lance the abscess due to the risk of major bleeding. Back To Top


This is a somewhat rare red blood cell infection in goats. It is caused by a blood parasite that is typically transmitted by insects such as ticks and flies. It may be possible to also transmit the disease in the womb. Anaplasmosis presents itself as anemia, fever, and yellowing mucus membranes. An afflicted goat might also lose weight, suffer from depression, dehydration, constipation, and lack of appetite. A fully recovered goat might remain weak for the rest of their life. If you suspect Anaplasmosis, contact your veterinarian immediately. There are medicinal treatments available for Anaplasmosis. Back To Top


Anemia in goats can be characterized by pale skin, especially a pale color in the inner membrane of their lower eyelid. A healthy goat has a pink eyelid. If it is white, they may be very anemic. An anemic goat might also be more lethargic, have a dull or shabby coat, lose weight, or stop eating as frequently. Anemia could be a result of parasites or parasitic disease (especially Anaplasmosis or Barber Pole), lice, fleas, ticks, blood loss, or poor diet. Advanced anemia in goats can lead to Bottle Jaw (see below). Depending on a veterinarian’s recommendation, anemic goats can be treated with high protein food on a temporary basis, as well as additional minerals or iron supplements, probiotics, and vitamin B-12 to help restore red blood cells. An extremely anemic goat may require a blood transfusion. Regularly test for anemia using the FAMACHA systemBack To Top


Anthrax is caused by Bacillus anthracis spores, which can lie dormant in soil for many years. The bacteria is more common in temperate climates and can come to the surface after heavy rains, especially after periods of drought. Animals who graze are susceptible to the disease after eating contaminated grass. Symptoms include depression, incoordination, staggering, trembling, convulsions, excitement, high fever, bleeding, and unfortunately, typically death. If you suspect a goat has anthrax, you must contact your veterinarian immediately. The infected goat can quickly spread the disease to other animals, including humans. Confirmations of anthrax must be reported to government officials. If it is treated very early on with antibiotics, it is possible for goats to survive. There is also a vaccine available for anthrax. Back To Top


Like most animals, goats can become prone to arthritis as they get older. Arthritis can also be caused by Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis, injury, infection, malnutrition, and a lack of space to move freely. Symptoms include less motion, laying down more often, weight loss, shabby coat, strange gait, and swollen joints. Treatment for arthritis differs depending on the root cause, so if you believe that a goat is suffering from arthritis, it’s important to consult with your veterinarian. For arthritis caused by old age, there are a number of goat-safe anti-inflammatory supplements and NSAIDs such as Meloxicam available to ease swelling and pain. For a more longterm solution for arthritis, you can administer a Chondroprotective agent such as Adequan to help repair joint cartilage and soothe inflammation. We have also seen success treating arthritis pains with more natural remedies such as Botswella (also known as Indian Frankincense) to successfully lower inflammation. Make extra sure that their environment is as arthritis-friendly as can be, minimizing steep grades or long walks to food or water if you can! Back To Top

Barber Pole

The Barber Pole worm, a stomach roundworm formally known as Haemonchus contortus, is the most dangerous worm that a goat can get infected by. It is a bloodsucker that pierces the lining of the goat’s stomach, which can cause anemia and quickly be fatal. Barber Pole infections can present themselves through other anemia symptoms such as pale mucous membranes, Bottle Jaw, as well as lethargy, weight loss, and collapse. Extreme infections may require blood transfusions to save the goat’s life. You can diagnose Barber Pole infections with a worm test or larval culture. FAMACHA scoring can also help determine the seriousness of an infection; this tool requires training from a veterinarian. Unfortunately, many strains of Barber Pole have become resistant to common treatments, and some infected animals may carry (and spread the disease on pasture) for life. Goats exhibiting signs of resistant infections may have to live separately from the rest of the herd for their life. The best prevention is a regular fecal testing program and rapid intervention if necessary. Back To Top


Bloat is a serious issue in goats that is typically caused by a goat having too much gas in their rumen and being unable to expel it, or a mineral imbalance caused by this food such as potassium or magnesium. Symptoms of bloat includes a distended left rumen (the goat’s first stomach, swelling behind their last rib on their left side), heavy or labored breathing, general signs of discomfort like kicking, teeth grinding, loud cries or bawling, and heavy salivation. If you are concerned that a goat might be suffering from bloat, it’s critical that you contact your veterinarian immediately, as late treatment might not save the goat’s life (bloat can stop a goat’s lungs or heart). Someone at your sanctuary needs to be trained in advance to intubate a goat for emergency interventions such as these if a veterinarian is not very close by. It’s very important that when a goat gets access to a new pasture, they should not be allowed to graze on it until their digestive system adjusts to it, especially if the pasture has quick growing plants like clover or alfalfa. You should introduce goats to the new pasture for up to a week alongside their usual hay, only allowing for a few hours at a time, and never if the pasture is wet as this is highly more likely to cause bloat. Avoid feeding a goat old or dusty food as well. Back To Top

Bottle Jaw

Bottle Jaw, also known as submandibular edema, presents itself as a very swollen lower jaw in a goat. This is caused by extreme anemia (especially in the case of Barber Pole infections) resulting in watery tissue in their jaw, and requires immediate intervention to reverse their anemia, which could be life-threatening. Back To Top

Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis (CAE)

CAE is a retroviral infection that can affect sheep and goats. Once an animal is infected, they are infected for life. It is transmitted almost exclusively from mother to kid in utero and through milk. It can also be transmitted through blood, but this is more rare. There is a good chance that the goat you are caring for is CAE-positive, and it may not affect them visibly for the duration of a long and comfortable life. If a goat is symptomatic, there are five primary forms of CAE. Treatment involves managing the symptoms and providing extra supportive care to affected goats. Check out our article about CAE here. Back To Top

Caseous Lymphadenitis (CL)

CL is a chronic disease caused by the bacteria Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis which can cause localized enlarged pain-free abscesses on a goat’s skin (especially around their head), lymph nodes, and organs. External CL refers to abscesses on the skin, which can become internal through blood or the lymphatic system, moving on to affect a goat’s lymph nodes and organs. If it spreads internally, CL can affect a goat’s lungs, liver, and kidneys.  If a goat has an abscess on their skin, you should separate them from other goats and sheep and have your veterinarian culture the abscess’ pus, which can highly accurately determine whether it is CL. If a goat tests positive for CL, the pus in their abscesses can spread the disease to other residents. Other symptoms of CL can include anemia, lack of appetite, weight loss, and fever. It is possible (though very rare) for CL to spread to humans, so it’s important to maintain good biosecurity when handling goats suspected of having CL. Back To Top

Clostridial Disease

These diseases are unfortunately common if a goat isn’t given a scheduled CDT vaccine. They are found in many environments and can live a long time without a host. This includes Enterotoxemia types C and D (see Enterotoxemia below) as well as Tetanus. Tetanus causes stiffness, lockjaw, convulsions, lack of ability to stand, and their third eyelid blocking vision. Antitoxins and antibiotics can treat these diseases, though not always effectively. The vaccine as a preventative is always better than treatment if at all possible. Kids should get a Tetanus shot prior to neutering. Back To Top


Coccidia are parasites which can damage a goat’s small intestinal lining. Most adult goats are infected and immune, but one to six month-old goats are at risk of fatal infestations. An acute infection can lead to anemia, dehydration, fever, hair loss, weight loss, stunted growth, and bloody, mucus-filled diarrhea. Usually Coccidiosis is a result of overcrowding, stress, and poor sanitation. The best prevention is keeping a goat’s living space clean and uncrowded! There are medicines available to treat infections. As a preventative measure, you should have a lab perform a fecal test on goats every three months to ensure that they are not facing a dangerous parasitic infection. Back To Top


Also known as pulpy kidney disease or bloody scours, Enterotoxemia occurs most commonly when a goat or sheep either gets indigestion or overeats. If a feeding source changes suddenly or a goat begins eating too much, a common organism in their gut begins to reproduce quickly and produces a toxin which can cause uncoordinated movement, convulsions, then death. Caught early, Enterotoxemia can be treated with CD antitoxin. There is also a vaccination available to prevent it. Back To Top

Foot Scald

Foot scald is very often mistaken for hoof rot. It happens when a goat walks frequently in muddy conditions, when bacteria infects their foot. It causes redness, swelling, or loss of color between their toes. It can be treated with topical medication or foot baths, but may introduce secondary infections to their foot given their more compromised state. You should get a determination whether a goat is dealing with Foot Scald or Hoof Rot from a veterinarian prior to treatment. Back To Top

Grain Poisoning/ Acidosis

Grain poisoning or overload is often mistaken for bloat. This happens when a goat eats too much grain, or gets into a food store. This causes excessive acid in their rumen, which can cause death quickly if left untreated. It can also be caused if a goat is put on grain without gradually introducing them to their new diet. Symptoms include depression, abdominal pain, a goat kicking at their sides, uncoordinated movement, and loud bleating. This should be considered a health emergency, and may require charcoal or Toxiban treatment as a veterinarian makes their way to your sanctuary. You must keep any grain stores away from all of your residents. Back To Top

Hoof Rot (Or, Foot Rot)

Hoof rot refers to a bacterial infection of one or more hooves of a goat. A symptomatic goat may be less mobile or even exhibit signs of lameness, have swelling between their claws, and have an elevated internal temperature. An untreated case of hoof rot quite literally begins to rot, leaving a very bad smelling discharge, like rotten eggs. To treat, an expert must trim out all the rotten parts of the hoof, and treat the affected feet with a hoof rot treatment medication.  The goat may also need a systemic antibiotic. You can also use a hoof mat soaked in a treatment solution. If a goat presents symptoms of hoof rot, it’s very important to get a veterinary evaluation, as there is a contagious form that is much more serious and difficult to care for. Back To Top

Internal Parasites

There are a number of internal parasites that can affect a goat’s quality of life, and unfortunately a number of internal parasites that are resistant to common treatments. Some internal parasites, such as Lungworms, Barber Pole, and Coccidia, can cause severe illness depending on the severity of the infection. Common parasite symptoms can include lethargy, diarrhea, clumped stools, weight loss, and anemia. As a preventative measure, you should have a lab perform a fecal test on goats every three months to ensure that they are not facing a dangerous parasitic infection and have appropriate treatment policies in place for infected goats. Back To Top

Johne’s Disease

Also known as paratuberculosis, Johne’s disease is a fatal contagious gastrointestinal disease caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis. It can affect goats, sheep, cows, and other ruminants. The strain that infects cows is not the same one that infects goats. It is usually transmitted when a goat incidentally eats fecal-infected material or while a kid is in their mother’s womb. An infected goat loses a large amount of weight and generally gets worse and worse off over time, and will have a large amount of diarrhea before death. There is unfortunately no reliable medication to treat Johne’s Disease. Back To Top

Joint Infections

If a goat has a swollen, reddened, or hot joint, have a veterinarian evaluate them immediately, and never tap a swollen joint yourself. There are a number of different diseases and illness that could cause joint infections, including CAE or Joint or Navel Ill if young. If untreated, the infection can spread to the bone or cause permanent damage and death. Back To Top


Laminitis can be extremely painful to goats and cause lameness. Symptoms include fever, heat in the feet, lowered mobility, enlarged feet, overgrown hooves, and a reluctance to stand. Laminitis is typically a secondary disease to digestion issues (sometimes from bloat or grain poisoning) or from eating too much grain, or from infection. A recovered goat might end up with permanently inhibited motion. There are other diseases that present similar symptoms to laminitis, such as hoof rot. Back To Top


Lice infections are very common and very unlikely to cause long term harm to goats in mild infections, though those who are very young, elderly, or have compromised immune systems may get more serious infections. There are a number of goat-safe treatments for lice, but it’s important to begin treatment early on to prevent infestations to get out of control! Untreated, lice could cause anemia. You should be checking for lice every time you conduct a goat health checkup. Back To Top


Listeriosis is the result of an infection caused by the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes. In goats, listeriosis is also known as “circling disease”, as it causes a goat to become weaker on one side of their body, leading them to only be able to walk in circles until they become completely paralyzed and die. Other symptoms include depression, lowered appetite, fever, stumbling, head pulling in one direction, facial paralysis, a loose jaw, and drooling. If you think a goat is suffering from Listeriosis, it’s critical that you get a veterinary evaluation. It can be treated with an intensive regimen of penicillin for up to two weeks. Back To Top


Lungworms are an internal parasite that infect goats who inadvertently eat food that has been contaminated with infected feces. They enter the lungs and trachea of goats and sheep, but do not typically present symptoms until the infection becomes severe. These symptoms include coughing, runny nose, and fever. More vulnerable goats such as very old, very young, or those with compromised immune systems can potentially die from a serious infection. As a preventative measure, you should have a lab perform a fecal test on goats every three months to ensure that they are not facing a dangerous parasitic infection and have appropriate treatment policies in place for infected goats. Back To Top


Mange is a skin condition caused by a number of species of very small mites, one of the most common types being Demodectic mange, which can be tough to eliminate, causing nodules filled with whitish material on their face, body, and udders. Mange presents as flaky and scruffy dandruff-like material on the skin as well as irritation. In more advanced cases, a goat may lose some hair and the underlying skin might become thick and hard. Chorioptic mange is common in goats, which begins behind their dewclaws and can spread up their legs and infect an entire herd quickly. Goats are also susceptible to Sarcoptic mange, which causes crusty lesions on their face and head, is contagious to humans but has effective treatments. Any type of suspected mange must be dealt with quickly. There are a number of medications available for mange, but you must make sure that they are goat-safe, as some treatments could cause dangerous or lethal reactions. Treatments usually must be repeated over a long period of time in order to be effective. Back To Top


Also known as acute pasteurella, hard bag, or blue bag, mastitis presents as inflammation to a bacterial udder infection, typically of Staphylococcus aureus or Pasteurella hemolytica. A goat can have either acute mastitis or chronic mastitis, the latter typically undetected throughout a goat’s life. Acute mastitis presents itself as discolored, dark, swollen, and warm udders. An afflicted goat will likely not want to walk, keep a rear foot held up, and might not be able to nurse any kids. Mastitis can also be a secondary infection to sore mouth. Have a veterinarian evaluate the disease to determine appropriate treatment. It is treatable with antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs. Back To Top

Overgrown Hooves

Unless their living space has a great deal of rough or hard surfaces, goats need humans to trim their hooves, typically around every six weeks. Older and less active individuals may require more frequent trimming than that. If goat’s hooves are allowed to grow unchecked, the hoof wall can wrap around their footpads or the tip may curl painfully, causing impaired mobility, a higher risk of getting foot rot, and could even lead to permanent lameness. Extremely overgrown hooves may require several sessions over a period of weeks to trim the hoof without causing damage. Check out our hoof trimming guide for reference here. Back To Top

Parelaphostrongylus Tenuis (Meningeal Worm, Deer Worm, Brain Worm)

Parelaphostrongylus Tenuis (P. tenuis) is a parasitic worm whose natural host is the white-tailed deer. Goats, sheep, and camelids living in areas with white-tailed deer populations can also become infected by this parasite but are considered aberrant, or unnatural hosts. In these species, the parasite can cause significant issues not typically seen in white-tailed deer. There are two common manifestations of this parasitic infection- one presents as neurological issues and the other presents as skin issues. Neurological symptoms typically start with slight weakness or dragging of one or both hind legs, which can then develop into more severe ataxia and even hind limb paralysis. When presenting as a skin issue, symptoms include excessive itching and hair loss- typically in vertical stripes on the body. In rare instances an affected individual may develop a head tilt, walk in circles, have rapid eye movements, and have a hard time chewing. Presumptive diagnoses are made based on clinical signs and exposure risk- a fecal test will not detect P. tenuis in unnatural hosts. In some cases, examination of the cerebrospinal fluid may be recommended to help support the presumptive diagnosis, but this requires anesthesia and will not result in a definitive diagnosis. Absolute confirmation of P. tenuis can only be made during a post-mortem examination. Treatment typically includes a combination of multiple dewormers (often at higher and/or more frequent doses than when treating other parasites) and an anti-inflammatory medication. With prompt treatment, even goats with more severe symptoms can make a full recovery, though some may have residual weakness for the remainder of their lives. If left untreated, paralysis and other neurological symptoms can become permanent. Back To Top

Pink Eye

Pink eye in goats can be a serious disease, and comes in both infectious and noninfectious forms. Infectious pink eye is caused by either a viral or bacterial disease, sometimes via flies traveling from goat to goat. Early symptoms include eye discharge as well as red and swollen eyes. The cornea of the goat’s eye might become hazy or opaque. It is very important to treat all pink eye early in goats as it can lead to permanent blindness. A goat with pink eye should be isolated to avoid spreading the disease and kept in a cool, shady location removed from sunlight. Noninfectious pink eye can come from eye abrasions, vitamin A deficiency, toxins, or stings, which can be treated with ointments (or in the case of Vitamin A deficiency, Vitamin A supplementation). Contact a veterinarian if you suspect a goat has pink eye, as there are a number of treatments available depending on the pink eye’s underlying cause. Back To Top

Pizzle End Rot

Also known as Sheath Rot or Urine Scald, Pizzle End Rot occurs when a male goat’s urine is getting caught in their hair as they urinate, causing scald (ammonia burns) or a bacterial infection on their prepuce. Untreated, this can lead to painful and potentially dangerous scarring and could block urination, and will likely require at least a round of antibiotics to clear up if it goes unnoticed for some time. It is much easier to treat early on. You must have an expert or veterinarian show you how to treat it.  High protein diets can exacerbate urine acidity. Back To Top

Sore Mouth (Or, Orf)

Sore mouth is a viral disease caused by a relative of the chickenpox viral family. It enters a goat through cuts or abrasions of its skin (or through nursing in young goats) and is highly contagious in both goats and humans. Sore mouth symptoms include blisters in less hairy parts of the goat’s body, on their lips and mouth, with the blisters eventually becoming scabs. It is especially dangerous in young goats, who may not be able to properly nurse when infected and can quickly become malnourished. It runs its course in three to four weeks. Afflicted goats should be isolated during the course of symptoms.  Treatment sometimes involves applying approved medicated ointments to sores and thoroughly cleaning anywhere where the affected goat had been spending time. It’s important to ensure that the sores do not develop secondary bacterial infections. Goats can be carriers of the disease (and spread it to other goats) without ever showing symptoms, and once a goat has had sore mouth, they are unlikely to ever become symptomatic again (just like humans with chickenpox). There is no cure for sore mouth other than letting it run its course, but there are some vaccines available to prevent it. Back To Top


One of many parasites that affect goats, tapeworms can be diagnosed by finding yellow to white segments in a goat’s feces. Goats can become resistant to tapeworms relatively early on in life, so they do not pose too great of a health risk. Symptoms can include weight loss, sluggishness, and stomach discomfort. As a preventative measure, you should have a lab perform a fecal test on goats every three months to ensure that they are not facing a dangerous parasitic infection and have appropriate treatment policies in place for infected goats. Back To Top

Thiamine Deficiency

Sometimes referred to as Polioencephalomalacia or Cerebrocortical NecrosisThiamine or B1 Vitamin deficiency affects a goat’s central nervous system. It can cause blindness, lack of ability to stand, and their head turned up against their back. It is more frequently seen in younger goats, and typically caused by plants that prevent Thiamine absorption. A veterinarian can treat a deficiency with a round of injections. Back To Top

Upper Respiratory Infection

There can be a variety of different illnesses and parasites that can affect a goat’s breathing, nose, windpipe, and lungs. Symptoms of an upper respiratory infection include coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge, increased body temperature or fever, and loss of appetite. If you suspect a goat may have an upper respiratory infection, it’s important to get an immediate veterinary consultation to determine its cause as some infections are considerably more dangerous and harder to treat than others. Back To Top

Urinary Calculi

Also known as kidney stones (in humans), urinary calculi form when there is a large imbalance of certain minerals in a goat’s body, leading to mineral crystals that block a goat from being able to urinate. This will cause tremendous pain and discomfort, but some goats may still mask all signs of illness. Watch for signs of straining to urinate, head pressing, and vocalizing.  If you are concerned about urinary calculi, contact a veterinarian immediately as this is very dangerous for their health and could cause their death quickly. They will likely need one or more surgeries to correct the problem, which are advanced and require an expert. They might even permanently have an alternate opening made to clear their urine that will require frequent care to not get infected or scald. The most typical case of urinary calculi in goats comes when a male goat is fed too much grain or generally has a calcium phosphorus imbalance in their diet (the recommended calcium to phosphorus ratio is 2 to 1), however there is no definitively agreed upon reason why certain stone cases occur. The best preventative measure is to make sure that you feed goats products that are appropriate for foraging goats. Be careful about feeding goats an exclusive concentrate food as this can quickly imbalance their nutrition and avoid feeding alfalfa to neutered males. Back To Top

White Muscle Disease

White muscle disease is a degenerative disease that can be found in both sheep and goats. It is caused by a nutritional deficiency of selenium, Vitamin E, or both. White muscle disease can affect heart muscle, skeletal muscle, or both. When the heart muscle is afflicted, a goat might have fever, trouble breathing, and bloody, frothy nasal discharge. When the skeletal muscle is afflicted, a goat will have an arched back, appear to be hunched over, and move very stiffly. Affected goats will also have a much weaker immune system. Vitamin E deficiencies are typically a result of insufficient forage nutritional quality, and selenium deficiencies are typically found where the soil lacks selenium in appropriate quantities for foraging goats. Treatment involves having a veterinarian giving goats Vitamin E and selenium nutritional booster shots, which should show positive results within a day. If you suspect a goat is suffering from white muscle disease, contact your veterinarian for evaluation and to get the appropriate injections. The best prevention is to ensure that goats have access to nutritional sources that are rich in both vitamin E and selenium throughout the year! Back To Top


Goat Care | Farm Sanctuary

Common Diseases Of Goats | Merck Veterinary Manual

Meningeal Worm – Deer Worm – Brain Worm | Maryland Small Ruminant Page

Overview of CAE | Merck Veterinary ManualCommon Goat Health Problems | Life Slice (Non-Compassionate Source)

Goat Diseases: Signs, Symptoms & Testing | Weed ‘Em & Reap (Non-Compassionate Source)

Goat Diseases | The Spruce (Non-Compassionate Source)

Anemia In Goats | The Free Range Life (Non-Compassionate Source)

Anaplasmosis | Goat Wisdom (Non-Compassionate Source)

Goat Anthrax | Extension (Non-Compassionate Source)

Barber’s Pole Worm | Worm Boss (Non-Compassionate Source)

Johne’s Disease | American Dairy Goat Association (Non-Compassionate Source)

Diagnosing & Treating Listeriosis | Goat World (Non-Compassionate Source)

Diagnosing & Treating Arthritis | Goat Link (Non-Compassionate Source)

Deer Worm Factsheet | Cornell Sheep & Goat Program and Cornell Ambulatory Veterinary Services (Non-Compassionate Source)

Non-Compassionate Source?

If a source includes the (Non-Compassionate Source) tag, it means that we do not endorse that particular source’s views about animals, even if some of their insights are valuable from a care perspective. See a more detailed explanation here.

Updated on July 10, 2020

Was this article helpful?

Related Articles

Support Our Work
Please consider supporting The Open Sanctuary Project by making a donation today! We are 100% donor-funded and rely on the support of generous individuals to provide compassionate resources to animal caretakers worldwide.
Donate Now