February 2011 Issue



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Subscribe FREE now! Monthly issues with new articles and other educational information on meat goat health, nutrition, and management written by Suzanne W. Gasparotto of Onion Creek Ranch and Pat Cotten of Bending Tree Ranch. In all cases, it is your responsibility to obtain veterinary services and advice before using any of the information provided in these articles. Neither Suzanne Gasparotto nor Pat Cotten are veterinarians. None of the contributors to this website will be held responsible for the use of any information contained herein.


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OCR Twyle, mature TexMaster™ doe at Onion Creek Ranch in Texas, was found standing in her herd's pasture shelter around 6 p.m. on December 23, 2010. When I was able to walk up to her, put my hands on her, and she didn't move a muscle, I knew there was a big problem. My first thought was dust-induced interstitial pneumonia since West Texas was five months into a horrible drought and dust had been blowing like a sandstorm for weeks. Twyle's lower lip was stretched out and she was salivating heavily.

Twyle was transported to the Vet Building, where her temperature was taken (normal at 101.5*F). She was able to stand, but she would not eat or drink. She just stood in place. No other symptoms presented themselves that might contradict my diagnosis. Since I had already been treating four other goats for dust-induced interstitial pneumonia, I concluded that this was also Twyle's problem and began treating her with Nuflor injectable antibiotic daily and the pharmacist-compounded formulation of the no-longer-available Expectahist, an oral decongestant/antihistamine/expectorant twice a day.

On Christmas Eve, I noticed that Twyle could not see. Ah, listeriosis! No circling , no other usual symptoms of listeriosis --only blindness. So I switched treatment to procaine penicillin, Vitamin B-1 (thiamine), and dexamethasone. Twyle was given high doses of procaine penicillin 300,000 International Units every six hours on a 24-hour cycle for the next 10 days -- until her symptoms had been gone for at least 24 hours. Relentlessly, I dosed procaine penicillin SQ (under the skin) at 6 am, noon, 6 pm, and midnight without fail. This six-hour timeframe is critical. Listeriosis is a brain-stem disease, and the procaine penicillin level has to be kept up so the antibiotic can cross the blood-brain barrier and kill the bacteria. Her blindness was the result of pressure on the optic nerve.

Twyle was also dosed with Vitamin B-1 into the muscle (IM) every 12 hours for the entire time period cited. I also gave her the injectable corticosteroid dexamethasone IM every 12 hours for the first two days to relieve brain stem swelling. She wasn't pregnant but I still would have given the dex to her and therefore induced abortion; had she been pregnant, she would have needed to abort the kids in order to survive.

Late Christmas Eve, Twyle started drinking electrolytes -- a lot of electrolytes. Two days later, she decided that alfalfa hay was good and began eating it. I had placed a cafeteria selection of hay in front of her and she chose alfalfa. Curiously, she went for the alfalfa hay rather than green leaves; green leaves are usually a goat's first choice to eat when ill. They are easiest to digest -- the goat's natural food.

On the 11th day of Twyle's illness and a full 24 hours after her last symptom had disappeared, I backed off to procaine penicillin from every six hours to every 12 hours while continuing the Vitamin B1 every 12 hours. On the 15th day after her illness presented itself, I discontinued all medications.

Listeriosis is a tough disease to diagnose and medicate. The key is to stay the course with appropriate medications at specified intervals and not slack off -- or relapse is likely. Dosing amounts for the medications used are included in my article on goat polio and listeriosis on the Articles page at www.tennesseemeatgoats.com.

Suzanne W. Gasparotto, Onion Creek Ranch, Lohn, Texas 2/12/11


OCR Twyle, mature TexMaster™ doe at Onion Creek Ranch

Bending Tree Ranch has a nice selection of 2010 TexMaster™ and TexMaster™ percentage does
available. Package deals available.

BendingTree Ranch TexMaster Goats

For more information contact :

Pat Cotten 501-679-4936
Bending Tree Ranch
Located near Greenbrier, AR




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