Hi Mitch, thanks for getting back to me and for your responses. Very helpful!
Based on what you have told me, I would be suspect of several possibilities: firstly, it is not uncommon this time of year, (and especially with whethers) for them to experience a blockage of the urinary tract. This is normally caused by stones formed in the urinary bladder, and often, only one will become lodged in the tip of the penis, as it is a very small opening. I work with a lot of goats, and unfortunately I see this condition quite often. If it is not addressed, it can be fatal. It often starts with minor generalized discomfort, and you will often see straining, which some people confuse with the goat being constipated. Some goats will only be partially blocked, while others will get a complete blockage. My suggestion for attempting to check this condition out would be to feel the end of his prepuce (right at the hole where the penis would come out), and see if you can feel any moisture in the hair at that area. It is normally somewhat moist with urine. It shouldn’t be completely dry. Other signs of a blockage are an overall worsening of the goat feeling bad, which includes lying down, moaning, grinding of the teeth ( a pain response), and refusing any food or water. Hopefully if this is the case, he won’t get to this point. Something else that you can do is to try to feel the penis within the prepuce (the end is about midway within the prepuce) and apply a mildly firm squeeze at the tip of the penis. This is where a stone will often lodge, and at times it will be fairly painful (but not always…)! Keep a close eye on him for urination, or any of the other things I’ve mentioned. If anything is suspect, it’s best to get Veterinary attention IMMEDIATELY!
Another possibility could be internal parasites. There are numerous types of worms and other organisms (one amoeba-type of parasite is called “Coccidia”, which normal de-wormers won’t take care of, and is very common, especially in wet weather). I would strongly suggest that you have a fecal sample analyzed by your Vet. If you don’t have a large animal Vet, a small animal clinic should be able to run a fecal test for you, fairly inexpensively. I would recommend doing this as soon as possible, just to get the possibility ruled out. If parasites are present, the Veterinarian should be able to direct you as to which type of parasites are present, and which would be the best treatment.
In both of these cases, you can often see a mild bloating.
One other possibility would be a condition known as “rumen acidosis”, where the rumen becomes too acidic ( low pH) to do it’s job. Often, the best way to remedy this is to dissolve some regular baking soda in some warm water, and carefully squirt it down his mouth, but slowly, so he doesn’t inhale any of the liquid. For a pygmy goat, I’d recommend dissolving about ¼ cup of baking soda into ½ cup warm water. You can use either a regular syringe or something like a turkey baster to administer the solution. Even if the rumen isn’t acidotic, this won’t hurt to try.
Lastly, I am glad that he seems to be feeling somewhat better. I’m hoping he will continue to do so and that I’ve just typed all of this for your informational purposes only! Aspirin is fine to give goats, just be sure it isn’t Tylenol or Ibuprofen.
But please do check what I’ve described above, especially getting a fecal sample analyzed and examining the prepuce and watching for urination or straining. You can’t see worms in the manure with the naked eye, it has to be processed in a specific way, and what is seen under the microscope are actually the worm eggs, not the worms themselves.
I do hope that I’ve been of some help to you, and please don’t hesitate to get back to me if you have any further questions. And please, if you have the time, let me know how he is doing. I do this because I care and want to help in the best way that I can, and I always like to know how my online “patients” are feeling.
Many thanks, ***** ***** of New Years to you and your family! -Dan C., DVM