January 2020 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.


When a goat is sick, your first step is to take its rectal temperature with a digital rectal thermometer. Normal rectal temperature is 101.5*F to 103.5*F. Higher temperatures mean fever and infection. Below 100*F body temperature indicates problems with bodily functions like hypothermia that are feed or weather related or the kid is already dying. Fever is easier to resolve than sub-normal body temperature.

Solutions to easy-to-fix problems are presented below. The protocols that I use to fix more complex conditions are discussed in depth in articles on each topic on the Articles page at www.tennesseemeatgoats.com . Establish a relationship with a vet so you can purchase the prescription items you need.

Premature Kids: Normal gestation is 147-155 days. Kids out of the same litter can be fully mature while others can be premature. It depends upon how much nutrition they got in utero. Kids born with teeth completely in the gums are premature. Full-term males have slightly erupted teeth; full-term females have teeth completely out of the gums. The lungs are the last major organ to develop fully, so premature kids are often born with breathing problems. Kids born 7 to 10 days premature likely won't live, and if they do, they may have health problems throughout their lives.

Birth Defects: Atresi ani - no rectal opening. Cleft palate - lengthwise split in roof of mouth.Neither Atresi ani nor Cleft palate is fixable. Entropion - turned-under eyelid, causing eye lashes to irritate eye. This is fixable.

Constipation: Sometimes stressed newborns become constipated. Constipation in newborns is life threatening. Monitoring fecal output or lack of feces will catch problems early. Enemas may be necessary.

Colostrum: Kids that don't receive sufficient colostrum in the first 12 hours of their lives generally don't survive as they get older or they become "poor doers." Colostrum makes everything start working, especially the digestive system. Make sure your kids get the proper amount of colostrum when they are born.

Diarrhea: Diarrhea occurs with many illnesses and is a symptom, not the cause, of whatever is wrong. Figure out what is causing the diarrhea before you take action. Sometimes diarrhea is helpful, such as when the body is cleaning out something the goat should not have eaten. Diagnose the cause of the diarrhea, then take appropriate action.

Weak Kid Syndrome: A newborn or young kid cannot stand and has sub-normal body temperature (hypothermic). Condition can occur at birth or any time later when the kid doesn't get enough to eat, becomes chilled, and body temperature drops below 100*F. This condition is both nutritional and weather related. A kid has difficulty controlling its body temperature and is dependent upon both adequate milk and good shelter. It is not Floppy Kid Syndrome, which is overeating on milk.

Dehydration: Whether from lack of milk or climatic conditions that are too cold or too hot, kids can become dehydrated quickly. They have tiny stomachs and metabolize their food rapidly, so they can crash fast if their nutrition and hydration isn't adequate.

Thiamine deficiency: Thiamine is essential to brain function. A working rumen produces thiamine, but newborns and very young kids are pre-ruminant, operating off a milk stomach. Premature kids should get B1 (thiamine) injections. Sometimes a full-term kid comes out acting "stupid," not being able to figure out where the teat is. That kid needs Vitamin B1 injections.

Neonatal Diarrhea Complex is the term given a variety of causes of diarrhea in newborns and very young kids. Usually thought to be E.coli or Cryptosporidiosis, these are infections commonly occurring in young kids in cold and/or wet weather but are not limited to these climatic conditions. Without laboratory analysis (culturing the organism), exact diagnosis is not possible. However, a very young kid who is inactive, whose head is drooping and whose tail is turned down, who is not eating, who is dehydrated, who is feverish, who has no respiratory distress, and who may have (generally) grayish or whitish diarrhea with a very distinctive smell -- all of these symptoms point to these groups of bacteria, although E.coli in newborns tends to produce bright yellow feces. Reduce fever to normal body temperature with injectable Banamine (or baby aspirin orally). Hydrate the kid with oral electrolytes or Lactated Ringers given SQ. Use PeptoBismol orally every six hours dosed at six (6) to ten (10) cc's to calm the stomach. Give prescription liquid Sulfadimethoxine with Trimethoprim (SMZ-TMP).

Coccidiosis: This protozoan attacks the lining of the intestinal tract and can do so much damage in a short period of time that the goat's gut won't ever be able to absorb nutrients properly. Blackish diarrhea can be one of the symptoms. Dewormers do not treat coccidiosis. Coccidia preventatives can be added to feed but that doesn't insure prevention. No medication can overcome poor management. If the goats already have coccidiosis, the curative dosage must be given orally directly into the mouth of each individual goat for five consecutive days. Sulfa-based medications like Dimethox 12% oral solution or Albon must be used. CoRid (amprollium) is a thiamine inhibitor, so I don't use it. Baycox, a pricey prescription drug, is being used by some goat raisers. If you have recurrent coccidiosis in your herd, you have management problems in need of immediate fixing.

Worms: Worms aren't a threat to newborns as they are pre-ruminant, but when they get to be about three weeks old, they become a real threat as the kids begin to eat solid food.

Pneumonia: Pneumonia is the common term for a range of respiratory infections that kill goats quickly, especially kids. There are many types of pneumonia: bacterial, mycoplasmal, viral, and inhalation pneumonia. Common symptoms include fever, labored breathing, sometimes runny nose discharging yellowish-green mucous, and occasionally a hacking cough, along with generalized listlessness and *off feed* behavior. Pneumonia kills so quickly that you don't have the luxury of time to determine its type. Prompt treatment is required. The same medications and treatment regimen are used for most forms of pneumonia. Though usually a summer disease in hot and wet weather, pneumonia can occur anytime in goats.

Interstitial pneumonia is the type of pneumonia most often seen in goats. Interstitial pneumonia appears with rapid-onset high fever, no nasal discharge, and oftentimes foam comes out of the mouth as it quickly progresses. Diarrhea is not present, unless some other illness is also in play. Interstitial pneumonia can easily kill in less than 12 hours. The goat appears ok at night and is dead in the morning. Body temperature can peak and fall so quickly that you may never see the high-fever part of the illness. When a goat with interstitial pneumonia reaches the point that its body temperature is below 100*F, its breathing is labored, its kidneys are shutting down, its lungs are filling with fluids, it finds sitting uncomfortable due to fluid build-up inside the body so it remains standing (or on its side, if unable to stand) in a depressed condition and cries out in pain, then it is going to die and you are not likely going to be able to save it. You must medicate the goat when it is still in the fever stage or before the body temperature drops below 100*F to have a decent chance of saving it, so stay alert and take quick action. Fever is much easier to bring down than sub-normal body temperature is to bring up.

Pneumonia also occurs in dry and windy weather. Do not move goats through dusty alleys or pens without first wetting the ground. Better yet, don't move goats at all in such weather conditions. Goats live close to the ground -- particularly kids. Ruminants have lungs smaller in relation to the overall size of their bodies than other mammals, making them susceptible to pneumonia. Wormy goats are susceptible to pneumonia (and other illnesses) because their immune systems are compromised.

I no longer use Colorado Serum's pasteurella pneumonia vaccine because it does not provide a good level of protection. Instead, I use the cattle vaccine Presponse HM that provides a very high level of protection. See my article on Interstitial Pneumonia to find out how I use it. Jeffers carries Presponse HM. I believe that vaccinating goats against pneumonia is as important as vaccinating with the CD/T vaccine.


Goat Camp™ 2020

Taking reservations for
Goat Camp™ 2020
Oct 26-29, 2020
Click Here for more info...


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Floppy Kid Syndrome: Overeating on milk. Generally happens with bottle babies. People love to watch kids suck that bottle down, literally killing them with kindness. Can happen with high-milking does who are penned in small areas with their kids and cannot get away from them to control kids' milk intake. FKS kills quickly; you must take immediate action.

Joint Ill (aka Navel Ill) occurs when bacteria travels up a newborn kid's wet navel cord and migrates to its (usually) leg joints. Over days or weeks, the kid begins to limp as joints swell. Antibiotic treatment is required, can be long term (weeks rather than days), and the kid may have life-long residual effects such as arthritis. Avoid Joint Ill by dipping the kid's wet navel cord all the way up to its belly in a strong iodine solution immediately after birth.

Enterotoxemia: Also known as Pulpy Kidney. Literally "poisoning from within." This can happen when newborns and very young kids consume too much milk (Floppy Kid Syndrome) or when ruminating kids eat too much sacked feed. Never free-choice sacked feed to any goat. Always have C&D ANTI-toxin on hand for immediate problems. Vaccinate with CD/T Toxoid when the goat is old enough.

Urinary Calculi: Commonly called "water belly," these are urinary tract stones that can occur when male kids have been wethered very young, stopping the growth of the diameter of the urinary tract. The calcium-to-phosphorus ratio of your feed and minerals should be 2-1/2 to 1. The problem is not calcium; the problem is too much phosphorus in relation to calcium. Areas where chicken litter is used as fertilizer will have high phosphorus counts in grasses, soil, and hay. You may have to add calcium to your feed.

Selenium Deficiency: Selenium Deficiency (White Muscle Disease, aka Nutritional Muscular Dystrophy) causes weak rear legs and can also keep the kid from swallowing. Walking on pasterns can indicate selenium deficiency. Find out if your area is selenium deficient. Prescription BoSe is an injectable combination of selenium and Vitamin E. Bo Se should be injected into newborns and young kids in selenium-deficient areas dosing at 1/2 cc. Do not use MuSe; it is too strong for goats. Injectable prescription MultiMin 90 is a concentrated chelated (slow release) combination of zinc, manganese, selenium, and copper that is being used by some goat producers instead of BoSe in adult goats.

Mineral and Vitamin Deficiencies: Mineral and Vitamin Deficiencies can affect newborns and young kids in significant ways. Copper is essential to the goat's bodily functions; loss of hair color is only one of the indicators of copper deficiency. Vitamin A deficiency can cause night blindness, poor hair coat, loss of appetite, and can predispose the kid to diarrhea, parasites, and respiratory diseases. Vitamin D is essential to the body's calcium and phosphorus absorption processes. Vitamin E deficiency contributes to White Muscle Disease (selenium deficiency), which affects the kid's ability to stand and have proper muscle function. All of the B vitamins are important to proper rumen activity. Vitamin B-1 (thiamine) deficiency can result in goat polio and poor brain function. Cobalt deficiency prevents synthesis of Vitamin B-12. Some minerals work together well and some minerals prevent absorption of other minerals. The form in which the mineral is used (oxide, sulfide, sulfate) makes a difference in how the goat's body can utilize it. Nutrition, which includes vitamins and minerals, is the most complex part of raising goats. Check with your livestock feed nutritionist for known vitamin and mineral deficiencies in your area. If you don't have access to a goat nutritionist, find one now. Vets are usually not trained in goat nutrition. Feed store operators are not livestock nutritionists. And your neighbor who raises goats and mixes his own feed isn't a goat nutritionist either. People raising show goats are the absolute worst source of advice about goat nutrition. They push the limits of nutrition to unsafe levels; they do just about everything wrong, in my experience.

Good management practices help prevent illnesses. Sufficient space to avoid over-crowding, clean and dry pens, fresh clean water, proper nutritional levels in sacked feed, quality grass hay, and sanitary conditions are minimum requirements. Filth and crowding breed sickness. If your goats are constantly wormy or have coccidiosis, you probably have too many goats on too small acreage. Learn to "think like a goat" so you can reduce the frequency of illnesses, injuries, and deaths.

Suzanne W. Gasparotto, Onion Creek Ranch, Texas January 1, 2020

Taking reservations for GoatCamp™ 2020
Oct 26-29- 2020

  • FAMACHA training. Doing microscopic fecal counts. Reading fecals.
  • Learn how to diagnose and treat illnesses and diseases
  • Nutrition: , learn how to feed properly
  • Tubing, injections, tattooing, eartagging, handling and restraints
  • Hoof trimming, hoof care
  • Necropsy demonstration
  • Diseases affecting goats
  • Drawing blood, disease testing
  • Selecting goats for breeding, market sales, etc
  • Marketing your animals
  • Humane slaughter demonstration
  • Breeding, Kidding, Kid care
  • Importance of private property rights to goat owners.
  • and much more, all on a working goat ranch.

The GOATCAMP™ Instructors

  • MARK SWENING, DVM - VETERINARIAN, Coleman, Texas Vet Clinic

Classroom Instruction as well as Hands-on Work with Onion Creek Ranch goats on a working goat ranch


$475.00 IF RECEIVED ON OR AFTER 10-1-20

Registration Form on the GoatCamp™ page at www.tennesseemeatgoats.com SIGN UP NOW. SEATING LIMITED.

Additional Information or questions: Suzanne Gasparotto - 512-265-2090 (Texas) or email: onioncreek@tennesseemeatgoats.com


My name is Christy Dalros. I attended Goat Camp™ in October 2016. A few weeks ago, I noticed one of my does was not acting like her normal self. She had recently given birth to triplets and had been fine up until then. I check eyes at least weekly and she had good pink membranes prior. When I checked her eyes that day she was at a 4 on the FAMACHA scale. I immediately took a fecal sample and her count was extremely high. I began deworming her but she went down to a 5 on the FAMACHA scale soon after and developed bottle jaw. I have been so worried but I have run fecal samples on her weekly and continued deworming. I started her on daily iron and B-12. I also started giving her all the alfalfa she wanted for the added protein. I am happy to say that today she had no signs of bottle jaw and her eyes were at a 3 on the FAMACHA scale.

I wanted to thank you for the opportunity to attend Goat Camp™ last year. Without your class, I would not have known what to do. I lost more than 10 goats last year by this time and because of the training GoatCamp™ gave me, I am happy to say that ALL of my goats are thriving. I run my own fecal tests, something I would never have known how to do without Goat Camp™, and I refer to your articles and the notes from GoatCamp™ regularly. Thank you so much for the knowledge you shared. You have helped me more than you know.


I want to send you a huge thanks you for doing what you do and offering me the opportunity to attend Goat Camp and learn from the best!! There was a ton of new information for me to absorb but equally valuable was to confirm whether or not I have been doing things correctly or not. It was amazing to see how you setup your operation and all the things you had to consider . Since I got home, I set up monthly random fecal testing to monitor wormload. I also have a Jeffers shopping list and a few books to add to my collection. After the necropsy, all the things that I have read and pictured finally made sense. I found that demonstration fascinating and really well explained. The 4 days for information was more than worth the time and travel and you have provided me with more confidence in looking after my little herd. I wish you all the best with your business and hope you continue to educate others, as your experience and knowledge is priceless. Shelley Helmer Canada


We had the most amazing experience at Goat camp in 2018. The information I found there was very impressive. That is one of the best decisions I have made going into this venture. My second best decision is I will be back next year. My brain hurt trying to retain all the info. I will continue to review everything you supplied but I will be lucky if I have retained 50%. My 82 year old Mother was so excited when I explained all that went on she wants to come with us. Brian returned for the 2019 GoatCamp™ and was amazed at how much he has missed the first time around! Thank you, best money we ever spent. Brian & Lori, Rockport, Texas

BendingTree Ranch TexMaster Goats

Pat Cotten 501-581-5700
Bending Tree Ranch located near Greenbrier, Arkansas

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