Goat Diseases

Diseases of Goats

Building this page is an ongoing work.

Here we describe various goat diseases (caprine diseases), with reference to integrated acupuncture, herbal treatment, homeopathic treatment, chiropractic manipulation etc., where appropriate. We invite and accept referrals for complimentary and alternative medicine treatments.

see also: Goat Cases

return to goat main page: Goats

Goat Disease List

Arthritis Back & Neck Problems Bluetongue Caprine Arthritis-Encephalitis
Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) Goat Pox Heat Stress/Heat Stroke Infertility
Maedi-Visna Mastitis Milk Quality Skin Problems
Unthriftiness Urolithiasis (Stones)

ARTHRITIS

What is it?

The term ‘arthritis’ implies inflammation of a joint or joints. Taken literally, this can include a simple sprain but it is more often used to describe osteo-arthritis, in which long-term bony changes occur in the skeleton, around the joints. These changes can result in swelling and deformation of the joint, with reduced range of flexion and extension. The resultant pain and altered movement can cause lameness or can, in bad cases, be quite crippling. This is possibly the most common reason for a lame goat (limping goat).

What causes it?

Arthritis can result from a poorly healed injury, ruptured ligaments, developmental problems, infective damage, surgery, repetitive strain injury or degenerative joint disease (DJD). The chronic inflammation around the joint stimulates new bone formation, which alters the shape of the joint, restricts the range of movement and gives rise to pain. Diet itself may play a part in aetiology.

Is it treatable?

By and large, the answer is yes. A cure may not be possible but positive responses can result in reduced symptoms or even apparent disappearance of symptoms in the best cases. Mobility and quality of life can generally be improved or restored and drug usage can be reduced or removed.

In conventional medicine, it is usual to try to suppress the inflammatory reaction and block the pain response with pain killers and anti-inflammatory drugs (such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID), steroid/cortisone or a combination of these). This is a life-time task and not every goat can tolerate these drugs. Progression of the disease is not altered by these drugs. Surgery may be offered, to alter the structure of the joint or to stabilise the increased movement (e.g. in cruciate damage).

In natural medicine, at the Alternative Vet, we try to stimulate healthier and more normal skeletal remodelling, aiming for long-term improvement in joint shape and structure. This is achieved using homeopathy and diet. We try to rebalance the body’s inflammatory responses, thus reducing or removing pain. In difficult cases, lameness and pain may be more directly controlled by acupuncture or by specific homeopathic or herbal medication. LASER therapy may also play a part. Magnet therapy shows great promise, in some cases (it is not usually possible to predict which cases) and can alter the whole situation over a period.

Diet is an essential component of holistic treatment, in that the immune system will heal much more quickly and more effectively if given a natural, healthy, unprocessed diet. Healthy skeletal structure depends upon feeding healthy raw materials, thus exploiting the opportunity presented by the inevitable constant recycling and replacement of the skeleton. The activity of inflammatory mediators can be modified through diet. Certain supplements may have a beneficial effect (e.g. vitamins, essential fatty acids, alfalfa etc.). Furthermore, some arthritis occurs solely as a result of an unhealthy processed diet.

In order to try to optimise the way in which the goat uses her skeleton, we use chiropractic manipulation in each case. There are usually multiple skeletal misalignments in arthritis cases. Some of these may be part of the ‘cause’ and some may be part of the ‘effect’ of the disease. In either case, better movement results in better healing capability.

Many cases attest to the benefits of this approach.


BACK PROBLEMS – NECK PROBLEMS

In any back problem or neck problem, proper resolution cannot take place, however, until any spinal or pelvic misalignments are corrected (e.g. by McTimoney Chiropractic-type methodology or osteopathic techniques). Inevitably, misalignment leads to incorrect movement and to abnormal stresses and strains being put on other parts of the body, quite apart from the local pain.

There is some skepticism, among conventional vets, about the validity of spinal manipulation but it only has to be witnessed, for it to be credited with belief.

The AVMC performs chiropractic manipulation work, alongside osteopathy, acupuncture, LASER and homeopathy. Advice is also given on therapeutic and preventive static or dynamic exercise programs. This integrated approach is usually enough to correct most back problems but is rarely an immediate fix, since many of the problems we meet have been in existence for a considerable period. At the AVMC, we have a special interest in back problems.

Even the independent NHS watchdog, NICE (N.I.C.E. – National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence), has recognised the potential benefit from acupuncture and manipulation in the relief of human back pain (as of May 2009 –

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/article6368290.ece)

However, many conventional vets appear to be very suspicious of the practice, to the potential detriment of many of their patients.

Back People

There are many ‘back people’ who ply their trade. Animal-qualified chiropractors are examined by the McTimoney Chiropractic Association. These are genuine. Of those without this qualification, some will be genuine but caution is advised in using someone without the qualification. Some back people are dangerous. Physiotherapists work on the musculature, which can be very valuable in suitable cases, once back misalignments have been corrected, but most appear not to acknowledge spinal misalignment.

All chiropractors, osteopaths, physiotherapists and other manipulators are required, by the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966, to work only on the recommendation of a vet and under the supervision of a vet.

Gadgets

Many pieces of equipment are recommended, by salespersons or practitioners, for back problems. Ultra-sound, LASER therapy, Magnet, Faradic and TENS are but a few of these. Before embarking on such programs, which can be expensive quite apart from safety considerations, please consult your vet, to enquire about suitability or safety for your particular animal. You may need to consult a vet who is experienced in a full range of holistic therapies for goats, to access the necessary expertise to evaluate these tools.

See also: Pelvic misalignment article

See also: http://www.chiropractic-vet.co.uk


BLUETONGUE

This is a notifiable disease of ruminants and therefore of cattle, sheep, goats, camelids, buffalo and wild deer. It came to the UK in September 2007, possibly as a result of climate change. It is a viral disease borne by biting midges and appears to have spread from Northern Europe.

Although it is possible that cattle can show no signs of illness, usual signs in cattle are: fever, nasal discharge, swelling of the head and neck, conjunctivitis (runny eyes), swelling and ulceration of the mouth, swollen teats, languidness and drooling of saliva.

Sheep are the most susceptible and can die of the disease.

The disease signs that typify this condition suggest that it should be responsive to homeopathy (homeopathic treatment) and to homeopathic preventive methods (homeoprophylaxis). However, as this is a notifiable disease, if the AVMC were to treat cases we would need specific permission from DEFRA.


CAPRINE ARTHRITIS-ENCEPHALITIS

This section is in preparation. We have a policy of ongoing improvement, augmentation and updating, so that our website is constantly changing. We hope you have enjoyed what you have seen so far and found it helpful, so that you will revisit us soon, to see the latest developments. Put the home page in your ‘bookmarks’/’favorites’, for ease of revisiting.

Why not take a few moments to send us your comments and feedback, along with requests for new pages, to let us know what we have done well and to help our policy of constant improvement?

Thank you for spending some time with us.
Best wishes from the webmaster and team.


FOOT AND MOUTH DISEASE – FMD

This is a notifiable disease and, therefore, the AVMC does not provide treatment or prevention for FMD, unless special dispensation were to be offered by DEFRA. In the 2001 outbreak, the AVMCoffered MAFF research, treatment and prevention help, free of charge. This involved telephone calls and faxes on an almost daily basis. All were ignored.

We have a dedicated page for this disease (click), updated December 2007.


GOAT POX

This section is in preparation. We have a policy of ongoing improvement, augmentation and updating, so that our website is constantly changing. We hope you have enjoyed what you have seen so far and found it helpful, so that you will revisit us soon, to see the latest developments. Put the home page in your ‘bookmarks’/’favorites’, for ease of revisiting.

Why not take a few moments to send us your comments and feedback, along with requests for new pages, to let us know what we have done well and to help our policy of constant improvement?

Thank you for spending some time with us.
Best wishes from the webmaster and team.


HEAT STRESS – HEAT STROKE

This section is in preparation. We have a policy of ongoing improvement, augmentation and updating, so that our website is constantly changing. We hope you have enjoyed what you have seen so far and found it helpful, so that you will revisit us soon, to see the latest developments. Put the home page in your ‘bookmarks’/’favorites’, for ease of revisiting.

Why not take a few moments to send us your comments and feedback, along with requests for new pages, to let us know what we have done well and to help our policy of constant improvement?

Thank you for spending some time with us.
Best wishes from the webmaster and team.


INFERTILITY

This section is in preparation. We have a policy of ongoing improvement, augmentation and updating, so that our website is constantly changing. We hope you have enjoyed what you have seen so far and found it helpful, so that you will revisit us soon, to see the latest developments. Put the home page in your ‘bookmarks’/’favorites’, for ease of revisiting.

Why not take a few moments to send us your comments and feedback, along with requests for new pages, to let us know what we have done well and to help our policy of constant improvement?

Thank you for spending some time with us.
Best wishes from the webmaster and team.


MAEDI-VISNA

This section is in preparation. We have a policy of ongoing improvement, augmentation and updating, so that our website is constantly changing. We hope you have enjoyed what you have seen so far and found it helpful, so that you will revisit us soon, to see the latest developments. Put the home page in your ‘bookmarks’/’favorites’, for ease of revisiting.

Why not take a few moments to send us your comments and feedback, along with requests for new pages, to let us know what we have done well and to help our policy of constant improvement?

Thank you for spending some time with us.
Best wishes from the webmaster and team.


MASTITIS

This section is in preparation. We have a policy of ongoing improvement, augmentation and updating, so that our website is constantly changing. We hope you have enjoyed what you have seen so far and found it helpful, so that you will revisit us soon, to see the latest developments. Put the home page in your ‘bookmarks’/’favorites’, for ease of revisiting.

Why not take a few moments to send us your comments and feedback, along with requests for new pages, to let us know what we have done well and to help our policy of constant improvement?

Thank you for spending some time with us.
Best wishes from the webmaster and team.


MILK QUALITY

This section is in preparation. We have a policy of ongoing improvement, augmentation and updating, so that our website is constantly changing. We hope you have enjoyed what you have seen so far and found it helpful, so that you will revisit us soon, to see the latest developments. Put the home page in your ‘bookmarks’/’favorites’, for ease of revisiting.

Why not take a few moments to send us your comments and feedback, along with requests for new pages, to let us know what we have done well and to help our policy of constant improvement?

Thank you for spending some time with us.
Best wishes from the webmaster and team.


SKIN PROBLEMS

This section is in preparation. We have a policy of ongoing improvement, augmentation and updating, so that our website is constantly changing. We hope you have enjoyed what you have seen so far and found it helpful, so that you will revisit us soon, to see the latest developments. Put the home page in your ‘bookmarks’/’favorites’, for ease of revisiting.

Why not take a few moments to send us your comments and feedback, along with requests for new pages, to let us know what we have done well and to help our policy of constant improvement?

Thank you for spending some time with us.

Best wishes from the webmaster and team.


UNTHRIFTINESS

This section is in preparation. We have a policy of ongoing improvement, augmentation and updating, so that our website is constantly changing. We hope you have enjoyed what you have seen so far and found it helpful, so that you will revisit us soon, to see the latest developments. Put the home page in your ‘bookmarks’/’favorites’, for ease of revisiting.

Why not take a few moments to send us your comments and feedback, along with requests for new pages, to let us know what we have done well and to help our policy of constant improvement?

Thank you for spending some time with us.

Best wishes from the webmaster and team.


UROLITHIASIS (STONES)

Stone formation in the urinary system (usually blocking at the sigmoid flexure of the urethra) is not an uncommon problem in castrated male goats. It can be a very serious and life-threatening problem. Blockage is always painful.

Castration may prevent full development of the urethra, predisposing to the problem.

Occurrence arises primarily from dietary causes. Calcium carbonate stones may form as a result of feeding a high-calcium diet. Calcium oxalate crystals may be predisposed by feeding foods with a high oxalate content (e.g. beet tops). Silicates can be common on soils with a high silica content (e.g. sands). One of the most common dietary causes is the feeding of high-cereal diets, which notoriously have a low calcium:phosphorus ratio, resulting in an increased risk of struvite urolithiasis.

Hard water may play a part in the formation of calcium carbonate stones. Rain water may be a better option in hard water areas.

It is important to identify the type of crystal being formed in any case of this condition.

It is vital to supply plenty of fresh drinking water and to prevent water from becoming frozen. Some goats may even prefer ‘aired’ water (slightly warmed). Adequate drinking is a good preventive.

While surgical intervention may be necessary in severe cases, milder cases may be helped by homeopathic Sarsaparilla. It is not unknown for struvite blockages to clear after giving this remedy. In any case, once a blockage has occurred, other goats in the group are likely to be susceptible. All can be given appropriate homeopathic treatment (homeopathy) and dietary rectification, depending upon the type of crystals being formed, in order to try to prevent follow-up cases.