December 2013 Issue



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OCR Toby, a ten-month-old TexMaster(tm) buck, was found during evening rounds in his pasture on his side and unable to stand. He was trailered to the Vet Bldg and placed in a pen for examination.

Although Toby could not support himself on his back legs, I found no swelling and no heat anywhere along the length of his rear legs from body to hoof tips. Teeth grinding, an indication of pain, was not happening. He was hollering because he could not stand. Rectal temperature was 104*F; I attributed this slightly-elevated body temperature to dehydration rather than infection, given the results of my physical examination and taking into account weather conditions that had gone from hot to cold to hot in 36 hours. I've learned in 25 years of raising goats that (a) they have trouble adjusting their internal body temperatures when external temperatures change suddenly, and (b) going from cold to hot is more difficult for goats to adjust to than going from hot to cold.

Toby's weight was about 90 pounds, so I gave him a 1 cc injection of Banamine for inflammation. I began the gradual process of rehydrating him by stomach tubing one quart of electrolytes mixed with 4 cc's of thiamine (vitamin B-1). I also gave him a 4 cc injection of thiamine. A 100 pound goat needs one gallon of fluids daily but not all at one time. His rear-leg weakness was bilateral (equally with both legs), which is an indication of a spinal injury. (I had already ruled out other conditions that might cause bilateral weakness like selenium deficiency or meningeal deerworm infection.) I concluded that he had been hit by one or more of the other bucks in rut in his pasture. It is usually the simplest thing.

I got the A-framed sling out of storage, set it up in his pen, and lifted him into it twice a day for 30 minutes. I began dexamethasone injections daily as follows: 5 cc, 5cc, 4 cc, 4 cc, 3 cc, 3 cc, 2 cc, 2 cc, 1 cc, 1 cc. On Day Seven, Toby started slipping himself out of the sling and pushing himself around on the ground with his rear legs. I never got to the 1 cc injections because Toby got up on his feet on Day Eight and began walking . . . unsteadily . . . but walking.

It will take several weeks for his legs to become fully functional, but I believe it will happen. This is a remarkable turn-around for such a serious injury; OCR Tillie in 2001 took nine months to get back on her feet, and she bred and lived another 10 years. Toby is young and far from his mature body weight, making this recovery much more likely. He will remain in a confined area until he is fully recovered, then I will move him into a pen with several younger bucks so he can become the dominant male of the small herd before I move them all into a bigger group of bucks many months from now.

Suzanne W. Gasparotto, Onion Creek Ranch, Texas 12-8-13

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Sling used for Toby.

Using Products Off Label/Extra Label

There are many products which Jeffers carries and sells that are not specifically approved for use with goats.

What does "off-label/extra label" actually mean to goat raisers? Are medications used off-label/extra-label illegal to use with goats?

Administration of products which are not labeled for use in goats is called "off label/extra label" usage. This does not mean that such usage is illegal. It simply means that the manufacturers of these products have not spent the time or money to complete and submit expensive detailed research studies to obtain government approval to label them for use with goats. Using products off label or extra label is NOT illegal as long as the producer has a good working relationship with a veternarian and the vet has advised the producer on proper use and dosage of the drugs. Develop a good relationship with your vet so that he/she knows about, supervises, and approves of your drug management and usage practices.

Suzanne Gasparotto and Pat Cotten

Meat Goat Mania

BendingTree Ranch TexMaster Goats

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