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Dr. Rosol
Dr. Rosol, Veterinarian
Category: Large Animal Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 171
Experience:  Skilled veterinarian working in a general practice. 
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I have a 2 year old milking goat doe who has always had a green,

Customer Question

I have a 2 year old milking goat doe who has always had a green, dirty looking mouth, since she was about 3 months old. It seems that she is bringing up stomach juices into her mouth, which she then dribbles around her mouth. The problem has become a lot worse lately, so that she is leaving quite a pool of green stomach juice where she sleeps each night, her mouth is quite dirty, and I feel that she is not gaining full nutrition from her food. Even just while she is being milked she produces quite a lot of this green liquid. She is on fresh pasture each day, with browse fodder of shrub branches fed each evening. Her companion, her mother, is very well with this diet.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Large Animal Veterinary
Expert:  Camille-Mod replied 1 year ago.

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Expert:  Dr. Rosol replied 1 year ago.
Hello! I'm sorry to hear about Twitchy.

So from my understanding this has been doing on for almost her entire life. With this being an on going issue we are dealing with the following possibilities...

1) Megaesophagus

2) Rumen diverticulum

3) Plant toxicity: rhododendron family including evergreen rhododendrons and deciduous azaleas, mountain laurel and Japanese pieris. Goats eat these even if not hungry because they taste good! Please find below an image of plant toxicity...

Figure 3. Rumen contents on the lips of a goat with rhododendron poisoning.

4) Rumen acidosis (stop feeding alfalfa if you do feed it, keep baking soda available for your goat to consume. Epsom salt can also help).

5) Rumen or abomasal foreign body/obstruction

6) Growth within the abomasum

7) Vascular ring anomaly (congenital remnant on the heart which causes stricture of the esophagus)

It seems as though she is doing well despite this condition?

Your veterinarian can perform a physical examination to rule out some of these conditions. However, further diagnostics such as an xray and barium swallow (contrast agent given to the goat, ingested, and then xrays taken) may be needed for an exact diagnosis. Unfortunately, without at least a physical exam by a vet we cannot give you an exact diagnosis, only an educated guess.

If she is doing well other than this problem and money is an issue then perhaps do nothing. My biggest concern is if she inhales this material which can cause a secondary pneumonia.

Please let me know if you have any questions and I will get back to you asap.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you Dr Rosol,


 


Would you mind giving me your further thoughts after reading my responses to your suggestions, below?


 


A general note is that the present more severe level of green juice production may be co-related with the last month of green autumn pastures after a very dry summer here. I am not sure if there is any connection there or not.


 


1) Megaesophagus


The green liquid is really a liquid, it doesn't look like recently swallowed food that has not even made it down into the rumen yet. The liquid seems to me to more likely be gastric juices from the rumen or further. Plus Twitchy brings up these juices most at the around the same time that her mother Rosie is chewing her cud, again suggesting something from the rumen.

2) Rumen diverticulum


Isn't this just the name of the compartment wall[s] within the rumen?

3) Plant toxicity: rhododendron family including evergreen rhododendrons and deciduous azaleas, mountain laurel and Japanese pieris. Goats eat these even if not hungry because they taste good!


 


I am in SE Australia, my goats don't have access to any of these plants. They are fed branches of tagasaste ['tree lucerne', Chamaecytisus palmensis] every second evening. Other branch fodder is fruit tree prunings - peach, apple, pear, almond, olive, [not walnut or pecan]. Unless tagasaste is causing the problem, the other branches are so varied, and mostly so palatable, that I feel they would be unlikely to be related to such a consistent and long lasting problem.



4) Rumen acidosis (stop feeding alfalfa if you do feed it, keep baking soda available for your goat to consume. Epsom salt can also help).


I don't feed grain to them, but maybe, just maybe, the tree lucerne has similar enough characteristics to alfalfa to be contributing to a disturbance in the rumen. If you think this is possible, can you expand on this point, please? I can stop feeding tagasaste, and you say to make sodium bicarbonate and epsom salts available?

5) Rumen or abomasal foreign body/obstruction


 



6) Growth within the abomasum

7) Vascular ring anomaly (congenital remnant on the heart which causes stricture of the esophagus)


 


I don't have any comment on these last three suggestions.


 


Do my notes above help shed any more light? I look forward to hearing from you, and thanks again.


 


David

Expert:  Dr. Rosol replied 1 year ago.
Hello again! I will answer your questions below. But first, can you please answer this question?
Is the grass-like contents seen when Twitchy tries to swallow (pharyngeal palatal problem) or in a few minutes (esophageal problem) or in a half hour (rumen problem)? This will help with a diagnosis.


1) Megaesophagus
- it seems unlikely from the additional information you provided me with that this is megaesophagus due to the timing of the material. If your goat has megaesophagus you would see the material come up shortly after eating. Sometimes you can see a swelling on the neck as well. Cleft palate is also a possibility. Have you ever checked for this? Usually material is also noted coming from the nostrils.

2) Rumen diverticulum
- no, a diverticulum means that there is a "shunt" into an abnormal compartment (something that should NOT be there) of the rumen. This is congenital so the goat develops this in utero.

3) Plant toxicity: rhododendron family including evergreen rhododendrons and deciduous azaleas, mountain laurel and Japanese pieris. Goats eat these even if not hungry because they taste good!
- you stated that you feed peach tree clipping. I would avoid this. There have been documented deaths from eating peach tree clippings. The wilted leaves are considered toxic. They contain hydrocyanic acid. Please see the attached link .....http://www.dairygoatjournal.com/issues/87/87-2/plants_toxic_to_goats.html

4) Rumen acidosis (stop feeding alfalfa if you do feed it, keep baking soda available for your goat to consume. Epsom salt can also help).
- I do not feel that the tree lucerne is an issue here. It is considered safe in goats. If we believe the goat is having issues with rumen acidosis then baking soda and Epsom salts can help to increase the pH (make less acidic) in the rumen. I do feel as thought is is an unlikely scenario in your goat.

5) Rumen or abomasal foreign body/obstruction - very likely given the chronic history

6) Growth within the abomasum - again, very likely given the chronic history

7) Vascular ring anomaly (congenital remnant on the heart which causes stricture of the esophagus) - very likely since this has been going on since the goat was young


Please let me know if you have further questions. Sorry it took so long for me to get back to you, I had a busy day at the clinic.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi Dr Rosol,


 


what Twitchy produces is not actually 'grass-like'. It is more like digestive juices. Sometimes she may produce some grass-like cud, but the most noticeable thing is the green digestive juice, which I would say is produced more like half an hour after eating, at least. She has no apparent problem with actually eating. Overnight, where she sleeps, is the biggest accumulation of the green 'juice'.


 


So, given that, I am guessing that possibilities 5, 6 and 7 are what you think most likely, which would require surgery. Is that correct?


 


David

Expert:  Dr. Rosol replied 1 year ago.
Hello again, at this time I believe we are dealing with rumen diverticulum, rumen/abomasal growth/foreign body/obstruction or vascular ring anomaly. If this is the case, then yes, surgery will be needed. It will take a skilled vet to fix the vascular ring anomaly, however, I feel that this is the least likely diagnosis. The most likely diagnosis I feel is an obstruction or foreign body in one of the compartments (rumen, abomasum, etc).

The next step is to consult with a qualified vet and have him/her perform a physical exam. If you are unable to perform the necessary surgery then I would just leave Twitchy be. The reason I say that is because she has had this for so long without serious complications. The most concerning is that she may develop pneumonia at some point if she inhales the fluid.

Please let me know if you have further questions. If you are satisfied with the service, please rate me accordingly. Thank you!
Dr. Rosol, Veterinarian
Satisfied Customers: 171
Experience: Skilled veterinarian working in a general practice. 
Dr. Rosol and 3 other Large Animal Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you,


 


David

Expert:  Dr. Rosol replied 1 year ago.
You're welcome and good luck! I'd love to know the outcome so please keep in touch.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I think I will just stick with it. No apparent response to changes in diet so far. If I have a vet here I will certainly get them to have a look at her.


 


David

Expert:  Dr. Rosol replied 1 year ago.
David, I think that is fine. It's been going on so long and she's been fine. Wish you the best.

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