for people who love the littlest dairy goats
My neighbor has 2 does that are 2 years old (I have the Dam and Sire). One of them came down with polio. She acted fast and the vet started treatment for polio as well as M-worm. She is grinding her teeth so the vet things it is most likely polio. The good news is that she is slowly recovering, although we expected a faster recovery. What is a concern however is that we can't figure our what caused the polio. She does not feed her goats any grain, she does not even own a bag of grain. They are on browse/pasture almost exclusively, are rotated often, only 2 small pet does in a relatively large pasture enclosed by electronetting so there are no confinement issues, occasionally they get hay but is is not moldy, she keeps the barn clean, feeds minerals (kelp, yeast, salt, selenium), they get fresh water twice a day, the well is clean and free of sulphur and lead (was tested 2 years ago, all our wells are good). And there have been no sudden changes in diet. So we are baffled. I read one reference to plants causing polio but the only one listed was bracken fern. The sick doe was not exposed to bracken fern. We have it in our region but we combed the areas the goat was exposed to and there is none. Does anyone know of any other plants that could cause polio? Any other suggestions on causes? We are concerned that although she may be getting better, since we have no clues to the cause and we are not correcting anything she can relapse or the other can get it.
I don't understand why the vet would think it's polio because the goat was grinding her teeth. That just means the goat is in pain. What other symptoms was the goat having?
You didn't mention the treatment, but if it was simply thiamine injections, it could have been thiamine deficiency. Some people think those things are the same thing, but they're not. However, because goat polio often responds to treatment with thiamine, it can be hard to tell them apart. However, the cause of the two is different.
Goat polio can be caused by lead poisoning, sulfur poisoning, salt poisoning, moldy hay, too much grain, and not enough water. You mentioned the person has salt available, which is not a good idea. It's unlikely that a goat will consume too much salt freely, but it's not necessary and can wind up reducing the goats' consumption of minerals, ultimately causing mineral deficiencies, because most mixed minerals use salt as a carrier to drive consumption.
Thiamine deficiency can happen whenever the goats' rumen is upset because normally a healthy goat produces its own thiamine in its rumen. Too much grain, as well as white dewormers, levamisole, or amprolium can upset the rumen and cause thiamine deficiency. Treating for m-worm involves VERY high doses of fenbendazole (a white dewormer), which would be bad if the goat was indeed thiamine deficient.
I hate to say this, but sometimes goats with polio never fully recover. But I would be curious to know what the symptoms were and what the treatment was.
The symptoms were that she was walking around looking like she was drunk, standing and staring off into the distance, occasionally collapsing when walking, lethargic. One of my does had m-worm last year so my neighbor thought it might be that and got the doe to the vet pretty quickly. Interestingly the teeth grinding seemed to set in the day after treatment began. The vet prescribed thiamine shots, banamine shots and fenbendazole dewormer. The "salt" that is out for her goats is Sweetlix meatmaker free choice. Apparently the doe normally does not touch it much but the last few days she is eating a lot of it. Should she take it away? She also has kelp, yeast and selenium out.
The vet examined the goat and said that there was no reason for her to be in pain and that the random crying out and the loosing of consciousness was neurological and it is because she goes blind temporarily and cried out of fear and disorientation. She thinks the doe is recovering but not as fast as she'd hoped. She gave my neighbor more injections to take home and she ran a basic blood test and said that the doe is perfectly healthy. she also gave the doe a thiamine shot directly in the vein a a shot of steroids because she had a slight temperature. So that is where we are at right now.
:( Wishing all of you the best recovery possible, and no more cases of illness.
Sorry for the delay. I don't know why Ning didn't alert me that you'd responded.
What you've described sounds more like listeriosis. Is she on antibiotics?
Patty, Deborah - thanks for the good wishes and support. I just thought I'd post an update of the doe. After treatment of thiamine and banamine shots and dewormer, it looks like she is almost recovered and is returning to her usual mischievious self. I am still not convinced it was polio though, although the vet and my neighbor are OK with that diagnosis. For me thought it just does not fit, she keeps her goats in the most pristine goat healthy environment, her does are really pampered, never get grain, and have plenty or fresh browse and large pastured area to roam. I am really happy to see her better, but still concerned that we don't have a clue what made her sick in the first place. I guess if we see of of the goats exhibits these signs in the future, we just have to jump on it and be vigilant. Thanks again!
Thanks for the update. It is important to start treatment ASAP whenever a goat has those neurological symptoms because none of the possibilities are good. A simple thiamine deficiency is probably the best possible diagnosis of all of them because it is the easiest to fix, and there is the best possibility of a full recovery. Really, anything that upsets the rumen could cause it because thiamine is produced in the rumen. So, could have been something in the pasture that she's ever eaten before -- and probably will never eat again because goats are good at remembering and avoiding what they ate if they got sick.