Generally speaking, goats are pretty healthy animals, but from time to time they do get sick. Fainting goat diseases can be pretty serious, and you want to watch out for the warning signs so one animal doesn’t infect your entire herd. A healthy herd makes for a more successful breeding operation, so it’s important to know what you might be facing.
Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis (CAE) — CAE is an infection in goats that can lead to chronic disease of the joints. It can turn into encephalitis in some rare occasions. Symptoms of the disease can be varied, but knee joints may become inflamed and swollen, and the goats will slowly lose condition. In some cases the goats will be unable to stand. It is recommended that all of the goats in your herd be tested for CAE.
Scrapie — Scrapie is a degenerative disease that affects the central nervous system of sheep and goats. The disease is fatal and is classified as a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy. Goat breeders should have scrapie numbers issued by the government as well as tags for your animals. One of the signs of scrapie is when the animals scrape their fleeces off against trees, rocks, and fences. Scrapie is infectious and incurable and the most common way to contain it is to destroy the animal. You can find information on how to comply with the rules here.
Coccidia — Coccidia is a parasite that can infect your goats with symptoms that can be slight to serious. The disease can infect all mammals and can cause fever, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pain, and nervous system effects and changes to behavior, and may lead to death. To keep coccidia under control you should keep your pens clean, keep feed off the ground, and treat your kids on a regular basis. Talk to your vet about establishing a treatment plan. Treating the kids in your herd can help them build up some immunity.
Caseous Lymphadenitis (CLA) — The bacteria Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis causes CLA in goats and other animals. The disease causes abscessed lymph nodes. It can be seen during an autopsy as internal abscesses. You need to be careful around ruptured abscesses because it can infect you as well as other goats and sheep. Fainting goats with abscesses should be isolated. When draining the lumps, take precautions to avoid contaminating yourself and the environment.
Soremouth or Contagious Ecthyma — Soremouth is a painful and very contagious condition for goats and sheep. It can also effect humans. The disease usually forms lesions on the mouth and lips. It’s not fatal, but can cause a great loss in productivity. If your kids are infected and they are still suckling they can transmit the sores to the doe’s udder. This can make the doe prone to mastitis and be slow to heal.
How to Treat Fainting Goat Diseases
When it comes to fainting goat diseases, or really diseases for any goats, prevention is the best thing you can do. Vaccinations are a large part of this. The vaccinations your goats receive will depend on the area your farm is located, however some vaccines, like entero and tetanus, are standard wherever you live. Consult with your veterinarian to plan which vaccines to give your fainting goats and how often.
A strong program of herd management can help minimize these kinds of problems for your animals, yourself, and your operation. The more you can do for prevention the less headaches you’ll have later on.