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Dr. Taus
Dr. Taus, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
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Experience:  Veterinarian with experience in equine and small animal medicine.
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I have a Nubian buck who is a little over 1 year old. Two weeks

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I have a Nubian buck who is a little over 1 year old. Two weeks ago, I found him with his cheeks stuffed with chewed up hay and he was drooling. He acted normal otherwise and didn't have a temperature. Called my vet and agreed to begin treating for Listeriosis. We gave him 3cc of LA200 for 5 days and 2cc of Banamine for 3 days. He stopped drooling, but still would have hay packed in his cheeks. He still acted fine otherwise. Called back into the vet's office after the 5 days of LA200 to see how he wanted to proceed. My regular vet was now on vacation, so I spoke with an associate. He had me continue with the LA200 injections. He also had me give 2 shots of Dex at 2cc each 2 days apart. It has now been 2 weeks since we first started treating him and he still gets hay stuck in his cheeks. He has also started to vomit (for lack of better word) cud during the overnight hours. The vet came out last night to look at him and ran a stomach tube down him to check for blockages. The tube went all the way in no problem. He doesn't have a hard or thick tongue, but it just seems like the whole tongue isn't working to move the food down. And I don't know why he vomits cud overnight. He is still very alert, active and eats(as best as he can since his tongue doesn't seem to be working like normal) and drinks. When given the chance, he will run right over to the doe pen and check out the ladies. The vet was at a loss, saying he has never seen this in his 28 years of practice. I was wondering if you had any ideas that could shed some light on what might be going on with him. He has been given probios the entire time and also had several Fortified B Complex injections. Thank you for your time.
This certainly sounds like Listeriosis, which is probably the most common cause of neurological diseases (like you are describing) in goats. LA 200 is a perfectly acceptable treatment for this, although some vets try ampicillin and gentamicin or high doses of Penicillin. Unfortunately, most goats who get the neurological form of Listeriosis do not survive-- anywhere from 40-90% depending on which study you read. Goats are often euthanized because they fail to improve.

You may be able to submit feed samples to test for the presence of the bacteria, which could help you determine if that is in fact what is causing your goat's symptoms. You usually need spinal fluid or brain tissue to test for the bacteria in the goat, which is difficult in the field. If your goat has polioencephalomalacia, the other usual cause of symptoms like these, it should have gotten better right away with the Fortified B complex injections.

Other things to consider would be caprine arthritis encephalitis virus (unlikely if you are not bringing untested new goats into your herd, but if you are, you might test him). Rabies always comes to mind with neurological disease, but he has been sick for too long for that to be the problem (goats with rabies typically die within 10 days of becoming ill). Very rarely, we can see parasites that get lost within the body (called aberrent migration) and end up in the brain or spinal cord, causing neurologic symptoms. This is very difficult to diagnose or treat and is usually found on postmortem exam.

Ultimately, I'd suggest good nursing care and possibly trying a different antibiotic, testing your feed for Listeria, and potentially testing your buck for CAE, with the understanding that he may have Listeria and simply not respond to treatment.

Since I haven't examined your animal, this is my best advice based on the information you've provided. If I've been helpful, please rate me positively.
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

What antibiotic would you suggest trying next? He is negative for CAE. We did have him tested. He has been dewormed with Ivermectin. Should we deworm again with a different wormer? Which one one would you recommend? He never showed any other signs except the drooling and not swallowing his chewed up food. How long should we keep trying before we know there isn't going to be an improvement? He is acting normal otherwise. Thank you for time and opinions. It is very much appreciated.

If you deworm him again, I'd suggest Panacur (although no dewormers are very good at getting into the central nervous system if it's parasite migration that is the problem). Penicillin would be my next choice for antibiotics, unless your regular veterinarian feels he has seen something in person that makes another antibiotic a better choice.

If he's acting normal and maintaining his weight, I would give him some time (2-4 weeks) after you've decided the meds aren't working to make sure that his symptoms aren't going to get better with time. For example, if your medications have killed off the bug that was causing his illness and his cranial nerves need time for the inflammation to go down and heal, although Banamine and Dex should have helped with that. If, on the other hand, he's struggling, losing weight, or getting worse in spite of treating him, it may be time to say that he is not going to get better.

If he does get worse or you decide for any reason to euthanize, I'd recommend a necropsy to find out for sure what was going on. Listeria can be spread in the feed, and knowing could help you protect the rest of your herd.

The only other thing I can think of would be a really thorough veterinary examination of his teeth and the back of his mouth, if this hasn't already been done (this may require sedation). The inability to move food around well with his tongue and the regurgitation makes me really think this is neurological disease, but if he's got an abscess or foreign body in the root of his tongue or a tooth abscess, you might see similar signs. These usually don't get better on antibiotics alone, the abscess has to be drained to make the signs go away.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your insight on this issue with our buck. As of right now, he isn't getting any worse, so we will wait another week or two to see how he does. We haven't had his teeth thoroughly checked, since as you know, goats don't appreciate you trying to pry their mouth open to look in, so we may do that to rule out any problems there. Thank you again for your help.