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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Large Animal Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 17087
Experience:  As a veterinarian, I have been educated to treat all animals, big and small.
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I have a goat about 10yrs old...he was fine ysterday and

Customer Question

i have a goat about 10yrs old...he was fine ysterday and this am he is paralized..i have not wormed him in a very long time, but he stays in a paddock area and does not graze at all. i tried to stand him up this am and he could barely get his trembling body to stand up and it was only for few seconds...could this be worms, or stroke.....thank you for your time and expertise
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Large Animal Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 7 months ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

Does he have any hind leg movement at all? Are the forelegs involved too?

Can he feel his back legs if you pinch (or poke with a needle) the skin just over the hoof?

What is he fed?

Is he on pasture? What plants/grasses are present?

Any fever?

Are his gums or eyelids pink or pale/white?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
he is fed horse feed...his front and back legs are stiff...his gums are pale looking and he is never out in pastures...he just eats the feed...
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
he can not walk because of the stiffness in his legs...he is not eating or drinking and he was doing great yesterday......could it be a snake bite..???
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 7 months ago.

Thank you,

Are you seeing any punctures around the legs?

Do you mean hay or horse pellets as well?

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 7 months ago.

Thank you,

Now I have to say I am quite concerned about your lad. Paralysis in the goat can be triggered by a range of issues. Snake bits are certainly one concern, but if there are no signs of a bite, we’d also have to consider brain based bacterial agents (ie Listeria, Clostridial agents like those causing tetanus, botulism, etc), viral infections, meningeal worm (especially if you have deer locally), exposure to moldy feed or toxins, nutritional deficiency (Vitamin B, Magnesium, Selenium and Vitamin E being top concerns), and even spinal disease (ie spinal fractures, abscesses, clots, disc disease, inflammation, etc). Furthermore, if his gums are very pale, then we have the additional worry of this being related to weakness from anemia (low red blood cell levels).

With this in mind, if he is deteriorating and since we have some serious life threatening concerns, we’d really want to get his vet out at this stage. They can examine him +/- check bloods and test a stool sample to help narrow down our concerns. And that would be the most straightforward way to get to the root of this if he is already in dire straights and would give us the best chance if helping him get through this.

Otherwise, we’d need to start some broad-spectrum supportive care. First, if he cannot rise on his own, you will want to deeply bed him in his pen. It would be ideal to turn him every 4-6 hours to reduce the risk of pressure sores. Or there are some slings on the market that could be used here. Whichever way you have him, we want to make sure he keeps eating/drinking. If he doesn’t we would want to drench fluids (electrolytes like Resorb or Lectaid are good options) and there are ready-made liquid nutrition diets that you can syringe feed available from most local farm supply. As well, we’d want to start supplementing with Vitamin B (thiamine especially) along with selenium/vitamin E. If he hasn’t been wormed, it would be ideal to use fenbendazole to counter concerns of meningeal worms. As well, since those bacterial agents are a concern too, we would want to cover based with Penicillin as it will help against some of those aforementioned concerns.

Overall, his signs do raise some very serious concerns. So, we’d need to start supportive care now to help address as many causes as possible. Though if he is deteriorating this quickly, we’d want to consider having him seen at this stage (or if we cannot get improvement with our care) to again give him a chance of surviving this serious situation.

Please take care,

Dr. B.

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