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Why Are My Goats Dying? (10 Possible Reasons)

Why Are My Goats Dying? (10 Possible Reasons)
The purpose of this blog is to share general information and is written to the author's best knowledge. It is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. For health concerns, please seek proper veterinary care. In addition, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Goats spiritually represent faith and independence, and as farm animals, they deliver several benefits.

People keep goats for various reasons. Some people keep them at home because they eat weed, while others keep them for the milk they can use to make cheese.

Even if you’re keeping goats because they’re amazing companions and pets, sometimes you might be dealing with the unfortunate event where your goats are dying.

Are you asking yourself: why are my goats dying? You’ve come to the right place because we’ll give you all the possible answers.

Keep on reading to learn more about this topic.

Why Are My Goats Dying?

Veterinarian Assessing Adult Goat

Believe it or not, there are specific laws that govern your ownership of pet goats. These state that you should offer them a proper diet and a suitable place to live and thrive.

But in some cases, after making sure that your goats are getting everything they need, they might still die.

When an animal you raise for work or keep as a pet dies, you feel responsible, and you want to find a way to prevent the other members from facing the same fate.

You either want to protect your investment if you want to keep your goat for milk or to clear the weeds in your backyard. Or, you want to make sure that your pet will stay healthy and receive all the love it needs.

There are several reasons why your goats might be dying. Here are the reasons and what to do in each case.

1 – Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis

CAE is a viral infection that affects both young and old goats. Although some goats don’t show symptoms, most of them suffer from arthritis pain that causes them to limp while walking or wobble while standing.

If the mother is infected, it could easily pass on the disease to baby goats through milk. This is why you should separate the infected baby goats from their mother if it’s not feeling well.

After a while, this disease can cause difficult neurological situations that lead to the paralysis of the legs, neck, and respiratory organs. This might eventually cause the goat to die.

Unfortunately, this disease is untreatable, and there’s no vaccination available.

2 – Q Fever

Q fever is a bacterial infection that occurs in animals and can be transmitted to humans.

It’s fatal to goats and humans. In humans, it can damage the heart, liver, and brain, and in goats, it causes late-term abortions.

It’s essential to test your goats before giving birth and avoid contacting the new babies if the mother is infected. Antibiotics can suppress the infection and put it under control.

3 – Johne’s Disease

Paratuberculosis is a serious bacterial disease that thickens the lining of the intensities and prevents the goat’s body from absorbing nutrients. Symptoms include depression, weakness, soft defecation, and shedding of hair.

The best way to protect your goats from this deadly disease is to protect your herd from newcomers who might be infected because it’s transmitted upon contact. But, unfortunately, it can also be transmitted to humans.

It’s a fatal disease and doesn’t have a treatment, but a vaccine can decrease the risk of infection.

4 – Heartwater

Goat with Ticks Attached to it's Ear

Heartwater or cowdriosis is a common and fatal disease that infects goats through ticks.

It’s one of the most severe infections because the symptoms progress quickly, leading to convulsions that eventually lead to the goat’s death.

The first symptoms are poor appetite, weakness, and high fever. After a while, the goat’s tongue will protrude outside, and the eyes will start to twitch until the goat becomes unable to breathe.

The best way to protect your goats from heartwater is to control the presence of ticks using a potent insecticide. Luckily, this disease isn’t transmitted to humans, but the treatment in goats only works if the infection is at an early stage.

5 – Bloat

When the goat eats toxic plants, it suffers from bloat. This is a fatal condition that is preceded by difficulty in breathing and the protrusion of the tongue.

This is one of the fastest ways where a goat dies, usually found with a blown-up rumen.

There are two types of bloat that affect goats; fresh gas, which happens after consuming toxic weeds and plants, and frothy bloat, where the gas gets trapped in the foam and the goat becomes unable to relieve itself.

6 – Brucellosis

Brucellosis affects goats and can cause infertility. But when it doesn’t, the disease is transmitted from the male to the female during breeding.

The first symptom of Brucellosis is having swollen testicles, and it causes abortion in females, which can be fatal.

This disease can be transmitted to humans and dogs. The administration of antibiotics can help with the symptoms, but the fertility will remain poor.

7 – Pneumonia

Pneumonia is a serious disease that can easily kill goats without showing signs.

It usually infects goats in late fall or early winter, and the goats usually show various symptoms like coughing, difficult breathing, nasal discharge, mouth breathing, and difficult movement.

Chronic pneumonia eventually kills a goat, but some goats get cured with the administration of antibiotics.

If you’re dealing with infected goats, you need to wash your hands regularly because the infection can spread to humans.

8 – Wesselsbron Disease

Veterinarian Women Assessing Baby Goat

This is an acute, arthropod-borne flavivirus infection that mostly affects newborn goats. However, adult goats can also get infected, and it can cause abortion.

Different types of mosquitoes are responsible for transmitting this disease to goats.

Some goats show symptoms of fever, increased breathing, and weakness, but after an incubation period between 1 and 3 days, the young goats usually die.

Older goats can get infected, but they’re not subject to mortality. This disease can be transmitted to humans, but there are no recorded cases of person-to-person transmission of the virus.

9 – Enterotoxemia

This serious disease causes sudden death and is caused by two strains of bacteria. These bacteria can be present in healthy animals but will cause serious symptoms in intensive conditions.

The infected goats usually stop eating and start kicking at their bellies because of stomach pain. Diarrhea is also common, and blood might appear in the stool.

It’s possible to treat this disease in the early stages, but the goat usually dies if the symptoms are severe. This is why using the vaccine to prevent the infection is more successful than trying to treat it.

Sudden changes in the diet can cause this condition to get worse, so it’s always recommended to change feed slowly.

10 – Botulism

Botulism infects goats that usually show signs of weakness. The goat is usually unable to stand and has a twisted neck, which also leads to difficulties eating and breathing.

This disease usually infects goats because of contaminated feed and water, as it’s caused by the toxins released by bacteria in decayed plant material.

In the late stages, this disease causes excessive drooling, urine retention, regurgitation, and the goats will eventually put their chins on the ground because they’re unable to support their heads.

The best way to protect your goats from this illness is to keep the food in sunlight to kill the bacteria. Unfortunately, once the infection happens, the goats usually die.

Final Thoughts

There are several conditions that can cause goats to die. Some of them are sudden, while in others, the goats show symptoms.

The minute you notice that your goat isn’t acting the way it usually does, you should isolate it and contact the vet. You should also be careful while handling it because some diseases can be transmitted to humans.

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