Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats

for people who love the littlest dairy goats

As a first time goat owner, I have come to the conclusion that I should have bought older does, not 3 day old bottle babies!  My boys had a hard first 2 weeks of life due to my lack of knowledge and I probably starved them for a few more weeks for fear of overfeeding them and then getting scours again.  The are now 13 weeks old. They seem to be the same height as other 12 week old kids that I have seen and they are in good flesh, playful and have good color to their eyes even though they are only 20 lbs.  Thankfully my husband found Deborah's book because I probably would have lost them to copper deficiency or bloat by now.  

My question, before I take him to the vet, is about bottle neck and bottle jaw.  My oldest kid has recently developed a soft puffy area where the jaw meets the neck.  My research has come up with mixed results.   What causes it?  Will it go away on it's own?  How is bottle neck different from bottle jaw?   I read something about a thyroid condition,  something about needing iron so to drench with Red Cell and another solution was to treat for coccidiosis.  They have all gotten a COWP but my black and white kid has some rusty tinges of hair along his hind legs so I'm thinking another dose may be necessary.  We do have a high iron content in our water and  they were getting alfalfa pellets to supplement their growing bones...but now I am wondering if 1 gm bolus was enough to compensate for the micronutrients that bind with copper. 

They are due for their coccidiocide this weekend. He was wormed with Valbazen a month ago....wondering if he needs to be wormed again.  Any comments are greatly appreciated!


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From what I'm reading, the soft puffy area under the jaw is the only symptom. Is that correct? If yes, it could just be a milk goiter. I've never had one, but they are supposedly not a big deal and will just disappear by 4-6 months of age. I haven't heard of them in NDs though. They're more common in Nubians and Boers.

Depending on the shape and location, it could be an abscess, and depending on where you bought them, it could be CL or something less worrisome. However, if they're just pets and you have no plans to breed, CL might not be that horrible. If you bought them from a sale barn, something like CL would be more likely than if you bought them from a reputable breeder.

A thyroid goiter would be at the center of the throat, rather than the side under the jaw (bottle jaw). A thyroid goiter would be iodine deficiency, which would be pretty weird for a wether because they tend to be easy keepers.

Bottle neck and bottle jaw are both slang, and I'd actually never heard anyone use the term bottle neck related to goats before. A quick google search looks like it's the same thing as bottle jaw, which is related to parasites. Bottle neck is not even listed in my fancy new Fourth Edition of Diseases of the Goat, which I just received in the mail yesterday. There is, however, an entire chapter in there on externals swellings, so there are a lot of reasons you can have swelling around the throat and jaw.

It is not a good idea to use any drug -- coccidiostats or dewormers or antibiotics -- routinely or without a solid reason. This is explained in more detail in my book, which you mentioned having, so I won't repeat it all here. Read the section on "dewormer resistance." So, I would not use a dewormer or coccidia drug unless you had a solid diagnosis of a worm overload or coccidiosis. The parasite chapter includes symptoms of the various types of worms. Diarrhea is usually the main symptom of coccidiosis.

If they're wethers, don't beat yourself up about their long-term development because they're not going to be producing anything, so they tend to bounce back quickly and do fine. Wethers tend to be very easy keepers because they have almost no stress on their bodies. they're not growing babies or making milk or producing sperm. If you just wanted pets, wethers are definitely the way to go, rather than does, who would be coming into heat every 21 days and being all hormonal.

If you can post a picture of the swelling, that would help narrow down the possibilities -- or if you could describe it more. Is it under the jaw, on the side of the jaw, middle of the throat, near the mouth?

Hi Deborah, 

Thank you for the lengthy reply.  I will review the section on the specific parasites.  I got them from a breeder, but I thought at the time she had too many goats for the area. I was concerned about parasite overload/ resistance.  Her instructions for bottle babies included coccidiocide every 2 weeks...maybe because they only received 24 hours of colostrum.  I didn't know at the time that it was not ideal.... 

The swelling is soft, not at all like an abscess. And it's not on the head or jaw, but just behind the mandible on the underside where the trachea is. They have free access to kelp so iodine deficiency would also surprise me. 

 I had a horse with thyroid goiter and the goiter was hard like an abscess.  This is soft.  He doesn't seem bothered by it, but I am.  I will try and get photos...he loves the camera and always looks at me with his big doe eyes!  

These are not the best photos but in 2 of them, you can see that the area between the mandibles, where the salivary glands are, it's tight/ clean.  The swelling is definitely in the throat area.   

I'm not seeing any photos. If you search for milk goiter online, you'll find a lot of photos to compare.

Here's more info on preventing coccidiosis --

Using coccidia drugs every two weeks is like using antibiotics every two weeks. They are drugs with the ability to cure infections, but if you use them all the time, they will no longer work when you really need them.

Coccidiosis can be a problem when goats are crowded, but if you have only the two kids, and if they're in a "clean" area that hasn't had goats on it in a year or longer, then they should not have a problem, assuming you are not letting lots of visible poop build up.

My internet connection is so slow I am unable to upload photos at this time... :-(  

I looked at images for milk goiter and that's it!   Good to hear it will clear up on its own.  Thanks! 

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