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Dr Steve
Dr Steve, Veterinarian
Category: Large Animal Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 4266
Experience:  20 years of mixed animal practice experience
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Second Opinion Please

Resolved Question:

I have a 1yo female goat (toggenberg) who has been quite healthy until 4 days ago. Her symptoms are, temperature, lethargy, loss of appetite & thirst, very quiet not bleating just quiet groans when I pat her, tail down, lots of head shaking, teeth grinding, head circling & is sometimes trying to scratch her ears. Her usual diet is a couple of handfuls of muesli for breakfast, free ranging on 1 acre of treed land, 2 handfuls of Barastoc Completo (horse mixture) & 1 handful of goat pellets & oats for dinner. She has been on this diet for 8 months, has access to clean fresh water at all times. We have no other goats. She is up to date with all her worming/vaccinations. We are in the first month of spring so the weather is not too cold or hot. She is going steadily downhill & I am desperate to save her & prevent her continuing in pain. It is nearly 1am, I have just checked her, she is still not improving. Is there anything your can suggest that I have not done yet? Many thanks for ready this very long history.

Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Large Animal Veterinary
Expert:  Dr Steve replied 10 months ago.

Dr Steve :

Hi, I'm Dr Steve.I am very sorry to hear about your goat's condition.

Dr Steve :

The symptoms she is showing are vague and can be caused by several things. The symptom that gives the most information is that she has a fever. When you say she has a temperature , I am assuming that means a fever. I hope that is a correct assumption.

Dr Steve :

A fever is often caused by an infection somewhere that can be caused by a bacteria. This coudl be an intestinal infection a respiratory infection or even a urinary tract infection. When a goat has a high fever, they feel poorly enough to not want to eat or drink, they become lethargic and depressed ( tail down, groaning, etc) .

Dr Steve :

It is sometimes difficult to kwo how or where a goat may have gotten an infection, but that is what I would direct treatment towards if this were my goat. Injectable antibiotics are typically the best choice when an infection is suspected. I have had god results with excenel or naxcel. THese are good antibiotics that help with many different infections including the ones I mentioned. Unfortunately , these medicines are only available from a vet in the US. I don't know if you can get them from a farm and home or feed store in Australia.

Dr Steve :

Antibiotics help by killing the bacteria that may be causing the problem. There are other concerns that need to be addressed in addition to killing the bacteria like keeping her hydrated and bringing her temperature down so she may feel like eating .

Dr Steve :

If there is a vet available, that would be the best chance at helping her get better soon. He can give IV fluids to treat dehydration, give injectable antibiotics and decide if she would need antiinflammatory medicines to bring the fever down.

Dr Steve :

The groaning and grinding teeth can indicate discomfort due to pain or the fever. Do you have access to a vet ? If not do yo have any medicines on hand ? I would like to help her and if no vet is available, you may have some medicines there that may at least help her feel better. I will check back in a few hours to see if you have anything that may help her. I will look forward to your reply.

Customer:

Hi, thank you for your reply, unfortunately a large amount of information of what the vets have already done is missing from my email, this is what has happened so far.

Customer:

Sunday arvo. Went to vet, Temp 40.6 celsius, Flunixin given & Penicillin IM, with further doses of Penicillin for me to give twice daily.

Customer:

Monday no improvement, Temp 41.0 celcius, another Flunixin given, blood taken, continue with penicillin twice daily, Tuesday, temp 40.2 celcius, vet rang blood tests show Fibrinogen, back to vets for Ultrasound, no obvious obstruction or fluid build up, vet tried to syringe excess fluid, none found, drenched with Ketol, temp had reduced to 39.8. Returned home to continue with Penicillin IM & Ketol drench 60 mls twice daily, declining spent most of the day laying on the ground asleep in my arms groaning. No appetite, very little water consumption. Midnight was only a little improved. This morning has no appetite, about to give Penicillin & Ketol. Her bowel movements are of course reduced however are only a little harder than usual and more oval shaped than round pellets, urine has a slighlty more concentrated smell. Sorry you did not get all this info last night, I tried to transfer it from the Question section to Further details when I realised that was where it should be. Thank you for any other suggestions you can make, Celia

Customer:

Sorry, just looked at my notes, yesterday her breeder suggested I give her B1 injection & Vitamin C due to the 'Star Gazing' head movement. I went back to the vets & got 1.5ml to give IM & then gave her soluble Vitamin C. She has browsed a little this morning, I have now given her the morning dose of penicillin IM & 60mls Ketol drench which I'm sure she spat out about half of. All I'm hoping for is a 2nd opinion from a vet who may have more 'Goat' experience than mine....our clinic does treat large animals however most are horses, alpacas, cows with only a few goats. Many thanks, Celia. PS Hope your health care 'Obama Care' works if it goes through we have it in Australia & it is marvelous, everyone can receive the best health care for emergencies & terminal illnesses FREE immediately wherever you live with 'elective surgery' the only area having a waiting list. Even our medications are provided to low incomes at $8 per prescription. Middle Class -Wealthier may choose private health cover which allows private hospitals & choice of professionals.

Dr Steve :

Thanks for the rest of the information. I apologize for sounding so elementary wiith my suggestions. I am glad you have done so much with her and you have a vet involved.

Dr Steve :

The thing that still has me concerned is that her fever has not come down as quickly and as far as I would hope , especially with using flunixin. Flunixin is a good pain reliever and a fever reduces. In most bacterial infections, when you have the proper antibiotic that is effective against the bacteria involved the temperature usually comes down to normal within 24 hours even without flunixin.

Dr Steve :

Since it has taken this long and the fever is stil about 1-1.5 degrees higher than normal, this may indicate that the penicillin may not be killing the bacteria as well as another antibiotic. Another thing your vet could have you try would be to use the excenel or naxcel to get a different antibiotic into her . These antibiotics have a more broad spectrum actifvity, meaning they typically will be effectivee against more types of bacteria that penicillin. Penicillin is still a good antibiotic and unfortunately in most infections, it is difficult to knwo exactly what bacteria are involved and without knowing which bacteria, it is hard to know right away what antibiotic will be best. Treatment becomes a trial and "wait and see" approach. Penicillin is a good one to start with, but since the fever is still present, it may be worth switching to excenel or naxcel ( these are two different forms of the same active ingredient and either is just as good as the other).

Dr Steve :

ANother possible issue is that she may have an infection with a virus and antibiotics don't help with viruses. With a viral infection ( like a human's cold) the virus has to run its course and the only thing you can do is to keep her hydrated and force feed her like you are doing. Most viruses will run their course in 5-7 days. I still have owners give the antibiotic injections and in your case I would consider switching to one of the two I mentioned. With viral infections, the immune system becomes weakened and bacteria can come in as a secondary infection and cause additional problems and the proper antibiotics can help reduce this problem.

Dr Steve :

It is good that she has started to browse, perhaps she is on the mend and it sounds like your vet is on the right track. Monitoring her for dehydration and considering giving an IV of Lactated Ringers Solution will help hydrate her and maintain her electrolyte balance in the blood. THe Vit B is a good plan as well. Irecently had a sheep with similar signs and within a week she got better with Vit B and excenel.

Dr Steve :

I apologize for missing you and will be online for 2 more hours , then I will check in the morning to see if you have more questions. I hope this has helped give you some ideas. If it has would you please rate my answer so I may receive credit and If you have more questions, I will be happy to address them . THanks for the question and have a good day/night.

Dr Steve, Veterinarian
Satisfied Customers: 4266
Experience: 20 years of mixed animal practice experience
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