October 2014 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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SOREMOUTH Version 2014

Some much needed rain arrived in 2014. We've been in extreme drought conditions in Texas since 2009. But weather changes bring new and different problems. The drought brought skin mites which I had never seen since I began raising goats in 1990. This year's increased rainfall and high humidity brought about conditions that I've dubbed "Soremouth V.2014."

The last doe to kid this year gave birth in early July. Her doeling developed a sore on the corner of her lower lip at two days of age. Over a period of five days, the sore became more pronounced, but never to the point that she had trouble nursing. Because the dam was one of my oldest does and because her brother was a far more aggressive nurser, I decided to supplement the doeling with a bottle. When the doeling was a week of age, her brother developed a similar mouth sore, but continued to nurse his dam.

The dam never developed sores on her teats or any other mucous membrane and never hesitated to feed her kids. My helper and I continued to handle the kids without gloves; I was convinced that this could not be Soremouth because it was not spreading to the other dams and kids in the same pen. A close friend and fellow goat raiser said it must be Soremouth. This diagnosis made no sense to me. I called my vet. He said he was seeing a similar situation with a few of his goat kids and that his recommendation was to treat it as if it were Soremouth. So out came the gloves, Gentian Violet was applied to the sores, and in a couple of weeks, the mouth sores were gone.

Meanwhile, in the pen/pasture from which this doe came, a few other kids developed similar sores on their mouths. Not a single dam developed sores. Only a few of the kids developed the blisters and they never oozed like typical Soremouth. I cannot attribute lack of the dams' developing problems to retained immunity from previous exposure because I've not seen Soremouth on my ranch in at least 10 years. Immunity is usually lost about every seven years and a new round of the disease crops up.

I attribute this outbreak to our changed weather pattern in 2014. Under favorable conditions, some diseases are suppressed and some make a comeback. If this was Soremouth -- and it must have been -- then we were very lucky in its limited scope of infection.

Suzanne W. Gasparotto, Onion Creek Ranch, Texas 10-5-14

BRAIN ABSCESSES

A five month old buckling developed symptoms of what appeared to be pneumonia. A recent dramatic change in weather from hot to cold and back to hot again sometimes results in pneumonia in recently-weaned kids. I brought him to a pen at the Vet Building and medicated him with Banamine until his high fever subsided and with the antibiotic Nuflor Gold for five consecutive days. He never went off feed even though he initially had high fever. I was encouraged that he would make a full recovery.

About two days after the completion of the pneumonia treatment regimen, he began to have a lop-sided gait and trouble with his balance. His fever returned. His appetite decreased. Occasionally he cried out in apparent pain. This was a very odd cry. The symptoms didn't all fit, but I decided to treat him for Goat Polio/Listeriosis. I use the same thiamine/procaine penicillin/dexamethasone treatment for both diseases. He was not responding favorably, so after 36 hours of treatment, I decided to call my veterinarian.

My vet said it sounded like a brain abscess. He was seeing similar symptoms in goats in the fall of 2014. Apparently something in our changed weather patterns had brought forth the bacteria that causes brain abscesses and some goats had gotten infected. A treatment regimen of Nuflor, Excenel RTU, and Thiamine (Vitamin B1) was prescribed.

Two days into this five-day treatment, the kid was getting worse. He was miserable. He was getting injections three times a day but showing zero improvement. He was in fact deteriorating and nothing I did stabilized his condition. Experience had taught me that if he did get better, his non-typical symptoms would likely recur and one day I'd find him dead in the pasture. I was certain that he was not going to be the hardy breeding stock for which I am known. I began to consider euthanization. I called a close friend and shared my frustration as well as guilt for thinking about putting him down . I don't like giving up, and I didn't want the primary reason for killing this kid to be my exasperation with his illness. I try to do everything within reason to save a goat (especially a kid) before giving up on it, but this lack of response to treatment was getting to me. I stopped all medications so I could evaluate its impact.

In a short period of time, he was on his side, eyes closed, occasionally moving a leg, and not making a sound. Usually a goat in that condition is paddling and moaning. Not this kid. His neurological system was apparently so damaged that he wasn't aware of his surroundings. He was almost comatose. I decided to follow the old rancher's advice that "you can't do live stock if you can't do dead stock." I put a bullet into his brain.

The right thing is often the hardest thing to do. That's why so few people do it. I did the right thing for the kid and for the health of the entire herd. In a managed environment, when Nature cannot cull, we have to do it ourselves.

Suzanne W. Gasparotto, Onion Creek Ranch, Lohn, Texas 10-5-14

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Pat Cotten
Bending Tree Ranch
located in Damascus, Arkansas
501-679-4936

www.bendingtreeranch.com
bendingtreeranch@cyberback.com


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