Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats

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Has anyone ever had a problem with hair loss and dry, flaky skin in their goats?

I've posted 6 pictures that I took today of my goat, Bella.  She has very dry, flaky skin and hair loss around her eyes, muzzle, on her face, top of her ears and white, crusty skin uner her tail.  At first I thought it was mange, from the symptoms(she has not been seen by a vet). I treated her with the Ivomec pour-on for cattle, 3 times, 10 days apart, dosage was 2 and 1/2 ml down the back.  Later, I found out this was not the best thing to do.  I ordered the COWP and gave it to her yesterday, thinking a copper deficiency.  I also read zinc deficiency has very similar symptoms as mange, but I don't know what to give for zinc deficiency.  If anyone has ever had the same experience with their goats, or has any suggestions, I'd appreciate your input.  Some of you have already given advice from earlier discussions on the worming rotation forum. Thank you.

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Hi Anne, if he has lice you should be able to see them very readily as they are visible to the naked eye (albeit very small).  They look like grains of sand.  In the past my goats have had bouts of lice here and there and I have used permectrin pour on if they have gotten uncomfortable, especially in the spring when the lice  seem to get worse.  But the lice I was treating was the chewing kind (not the sucking kind) so you'll need to be sure that what you are using gets both unless you know what type (lice) you would be dealing with.  I wouldn't reach for the chemicals unless you can really see the lice- if you can see them take a few to your vet and they can tell you chewing vs. sucking.  Even if you find lice it sounds like the bigger issue is this mineral/vitamin/enzyme whatever it is problem we have been discussing.

What sort of minerals do you give your goats?  If they are low in copper I have safely given my goats small doses of COWP boluses.  Also, I gave my goat in this case a bo-se injection if you are in a selenium def area.  Other than that- OFAs in the form of flax, camalina oil, even coconut oil.  Perhaps a vit E capsule daily for a week or two. This is not medical advice as I don't know your herd but some ideas to consider.

I wish I truly knew what causes this, perhaps the inherited condition that was already described in a previous post although it does seem to effect the darker goats more than the lighter.  Or is that simply because it is more easily seen?  Whatever the cause they do seem to get better on fresh green pasture so that will be interesting to see what happens.  I am curious about the possibility of a genetic link- again is it a coat pattern thing or genetics or both?  The one black/white doe I was taking care of (that had this issue) has a full sister and brother, neither of which were ever effected.  This same doe had triplets and the black/white male has the same exact issues (but not the red/brown/white sister and brother).  He is much better though on the copper, selenium, vit E, and OFA supplements.  Good luck!

Anne Arrington said:

I was very interested to come across this forum and this thread in particular. My one year old Nigerian Dwarf wether (black with white spots) has had this very same problem (flaky, dry skin around the nose, eyes, ears and under the tail) for about the last 6 months (half of his life! poor thing...) a few months ago I took Edward to the vet, seeking some diagnosis... a skin scraping showed no evidence of mites. They concluded that he had Orf (although to me Edward's flaky dry skin looked nothing like the sores pictured online illustrating this condition.) They gave him an antibiotic shot and sent me home to watch him. His condition has been fairly stable over the last few months but in the last few weeks I've noticed a lot more thinning of the hair on his nose, down his back, and a bit on his front legs. I also noticed   dandruff down his back and on his legs in addition to the flaky skin on his nose, around his ears and by his tail. I saw no actual lice but some other goat folks I talked to thought it could be lice. I called the vet again and they said go ahead and treat for lice... but I've been hesitant to and unsure if that really is the problem.  Because I always prefer a natural approach, I've tried tea tree and peppermint oil rubbed on his spine and around his ears (it's almost impossible to get anything on his nose or butt!) I've also been feeding black oil sunflower seeds and nuts, thinking the oil might help hydrate the skin. His hair has a good texture overall, and he doesn't really seem to be that itchy. He does shake his head sometimes, so I thought maybe ear mites...? I'm just concerned that his condition doesn't seem to really improve, and now I fear it might be getting worse. Otherwise, his appetite and energy are good. I would just really like to see this skin condition improve. I've been hesitant to treat for lice because while Edward has some of the tell-tale symptoms, his pen-mate Harvey (2 year old, black NGD wether) has absolutely NO flaky skin. Isn't it unlikely that one goat would be afflicted with lice and not the other? I may go ahead and treat for lice, etc. with Ivermectin pour-on - although, I am concerned that this may lead to further hair-loss... I'm also considering the whole copper deficiency possibility. I have had the same experience as others here - vets seem very dismissive of any suggestion of vitamin/mineral deficiency.

Thanks for reading - I appreciate any thoughts or advice any of you may have. 

Here's a picture of Edward that shows a little of the thinning hair on his nose - I'll try to upload others soon.


Hi to all...

Ok...just to give you an update...I did go to the Vet...he scraped and took hair samples both...nothing. However, he gave me an anti-biotic (in case it was some kind of bacterial thing)...he also told me to go to the Drug Store to buy a Vaginal Cream that has Miconazole (Monistat) or clotrimizole (sp)...OR....Tinactin for Atlhelete's foot...basically any of those Over-the-counter products (albeit two completely different areas/treatment...haha) have the same  "anti-fungal" case the problem is fungal (like a ringworm strain) which she didn't have w/ the hair sample... then he suggested to wash the area w/ a Mange shampoo first, in case it was a Scabies or Sarcoptic Mange, which she didn't have w/ the scraping....THEN, he prescribed,   an ivermec type pour-on in case it was lice---which he didn't think it was....but he told me to do all of it...

Basically the "Kitchen Sink" approach. She wasn't itching often, so he ruled out the Scabies...although the backs of her front legs had also lost hair---as if she'd rubbed the hair off. I went with the shampoo, the Vaginal cream, and the antibiotics...(bc I had Pro-bios) the meantime, I also gave her herbal immune enhancer I bought from Firmeadows.

By the way, She is black....

I saw very little results w/ the Vet's recommendations/ when the cream ran out, I prayed...and decided to use BlueKote. That I bought at Tractor Supply. It has a dauber on the end and I can coat the back of her legs...then I use Q-tips to paint around her eyes, and also under her mouth...bc she licks off anything above her mouth. She's in w/ about 20 other goats...only one other has some hair loss around her eyes...(minimal) I paint her w/ the BlueKote...(she looks like Lady Ga-Ga, bc she's lighter brown...and since the other doe is all black... the Blue doesn't show up as well).

I also found that if I was the leg area with warm, anti-bacterial soapy water with just the tiniest bit of bleach, and scrub her legs well, that seems to slough off the dry skin, and in my mind, kills whatever it is---if it is---anything "creepy/crawly"

I've looked and don't see lice, or really anything else...the scrapings and the hair sample also proved nothing. But, the BlueKote seems to be addition to the herbal supplement, and I also am giving some flax seed oil ---1/2 cc---as well as rubbing down the areas around the eyes, perhaps as well....Coconut oil would work too, I'd guess. I'm not familiar with Camalina.

Vitamin C would probably help...I have that on my list...and the same w/ Vitamin E....I just need to get those here at the barn. I've re-COWPED her ....and Bo-se...hopefully some/all of the above will take care of it...PRAYER is the most important...and I feel like the BlueKote was His direction for me to take...

I'm not sure that solidifies anything...but at least its an update...and they are both somewhat better...not as quickly or as much as I'd like to see...but are no least.

I agree that zinc could be a major part of the problem. It is great to hear that your goat is looking so much better, you must be doing something right!

Overall, I wanted to mention with mineral imbalances how hard it is to know for sure (for zinc, copper, selenium etc.) without performing a range of analyses- soil, hay, ultimately liver from the animal itself (which either requires biopsy or necropsy, neither particularly desirable tests to run especially the latter).  It gets so tricky with mineral imbalances- how to know what to supplement at what dose- does it become therapeutic or toxic?  And perhaps supplementing is therapeutic for one animal and not safe for another. Without diagnostic tests to confirm the mineral status of an animal, or a trend in a herd, supplementing is based on speculation and it is possible to cause toxicity issues.  In fact excess zinc will decrease copper absorption.  So, my main thought to share in this discussion is simply that no mineral (or micronutrient, really, as Amy has pointed out with Vit A) acts alone- they all interact and when we increase some we need to keep in mind what it might do to others.  Mineral imbalances seem to be so common (widespread) and we absolutely need to correct imbalances when they exist.  I don't think the veterinary community has been proactive enough in pursuing the role mineral imbalance  plays in disease- whether sub clinical or overt clinical disease.  Until then, when we choose to supplement our own herds without analyses, be cognizant of any potential ripple effect that supplement could have!

Amy said:

     I forgot to mention that I had given my goat Zinc from the local herb store (Solaray 50 MG Full Range Amino Acid Chelate, I do not know what "Full Range Amino Acid Chelate " means but we used it because it is very easy to use as it comes in a capsule so I could sprinkle some on her food).

     I did see improvement but I tried other things as well and I think that since I was still giving her grain and hay with weed killer on it, the benefits may not have been as significant as it could have been had I tried another avenue.

     A new idea I had today was to post pictures of my goat of what she looks like right now (and believe it or not it is a beautiful improvement over what the previous condition was) and start giving her Zinc again and see it she improves even more.

     She is currently off all hay and grain, she only forages for food. If she improves a lot then you can use that information to help you in your endeavor to help your own goat. I know that I mentioned earlier that I did not want to give her Zinc because I thought of having to sell her offspring and could not knowingly sell a problem goat to someone else, however, I have decided that if she has babies then we will keep them and see how they do long term to see if it is a permanent fix.

     As a side note I agree with the one lady speaking of Vitamin A helping but I am hoping that Zinc is also  important to fixing the problem because when I looked up Zinc it mentioned that Zinc increases the absorption of Vitamin A which (I am guessing)  is part of the problem as the things mentioned in my other post inhibited or kept the Zinc from being used in the goats body which also messed up her being able to fully utilize the vitamin A in her diet. My goat is now getting alot of fresh Vitamin A in the green grass, Privet and acorns so I can see that Vitamin A is very important to fixing this problem. If Zinc does not give me the results that I am hoping to see then I will try to supplement her with some sort of Vitamin A.

     I will try my new regime for six weeks and see what happens and since I posted the pictures there will be before and after pictures to compare.

     You can see the pictures of Kara (my problem goat) if you go to my profile and go to my albums. The only album that I have is the one with a picture of Kara's head (to show the hair loss), her privates (to show one of her flaky areas), and a picture of her head (to show the dandruff).

Hi all --

Thank you, Laura for your comments and advice. I still am not sure that what I'm seeing on Edward is lice and not just dandruff. I did rub a diluted solution of Permethrin on his back, legs, and ears and he seems to be less itchy. I plan to put Vet Rx in/on his ears for ear mites as soon as it arrives in the mail. He seems to have lost some of his undercoat - a lot of it came out after I put on the Permethrin and gave him a good brushing. Now I just see a few tufts of flaky undercoat coming out on their own. He is overall less flaky, but still somewhat - particularly on his head and around the ears. I posted some pictures on my page if anyone wants to check them out. He seems to have lost the most hair on the backs of his front legs. Diet wise I've been hand feeding loose minerals (i always have MannaPro loose mineral out free choice, but it's hard to monitor Edward's personal intake that way) I've also been giving vit. E, A and D in liquid form over the last few days as well as a powder probiotic as a top dressing to a BOSS, apple, carrot "salad". The skin on his nose looks a little less dry but it's so hard to tell if it's really improving - I'm sure the hair regrowth process is slow. I also plan to copper bolus as soon as the supplies arrive. We're still a little low on the greenery around here but there's always privet and ivy, and the boys get as much of that as they want in addition to hay. Edward's energy is never terrible but he has been extra perky these last few days - not sure if it's good weather or the extra vitamins... :)

I'll keep you all posted - thanks again for reading!

I'm surely late in getting back to answer this thread...but, we did zinc every day (1/8th of zinc tablet...or smaller) She wouldn't eat the BOSS...go figure. Re coppered again in Aug and her condition worsened. Took her to a different vet...who did multiple scrapings, hair samples, ran cultures, etc. It was a very deeply bedded skin infection. He suggested to use Baytril for 14 days. Which I did, bc there was no other options. (We have really high quality loose minerals out, well as Kelp. Specialized Dairy Goat feed, alfalfa blend hay, plus forage and pasture all day). I did the treatment...her skin cleared up. I have continued to give her immune enhancing herbs along w/ jump start her immune system. She looked good for about three hair, soft skin...and now, she's starting to get scaley again...sigh.

Any other ideas

It sounds like classic zinc deficiency. And it very well could have gotten infected. 1/8 of a tablet sounds like next to nothing. What was the strength of the tablet?

J Maple said:

I'm surely late in getting back to answer this thread...but, we did zinc every day (1/8th of zinc tablet...or smaller) She wouldn't eat the BOSS...go figure. Re coppered again in Aug and her condition worsened. Took her to a different vet...who did multiple scrapings, hair samples, ran cultures, etc. It was a very deeply bedded skin infection. He suggested to use Baytril for 14 days. Which I did, bc there was no other options. (We have really high quality loose minerals out, well as Kelp. Specialized Dairy Goat feed, alfalfa blend hay, plus forage and pasture all day). I did the treatment...her skin cleared up. I have continued to give her immune enhancing herbs along w/ jump start her immune system. She looked good for about three hair, soft skin...and now, she's starting to get scaley again...sigh.

Any other ideas

By all means listen to your vet and Deborah about things but just in case you are not aware -You stated that you re-coppered again in August and her conditioned worsened! Coppering itself can also cause a lot of hair lose. Several of us on the forum have had goats lose hair after coppering, including myself. In fact when it happened to Marley, I could just grab hold of a handful with a slight tug and it would just come right out! It was almost like a dog shedding out a long winter coat and there was a beautiful new healthy coat right there coming in so it may not necessarily be an infection this time!

Just a thought. Hoping maybe this time it is something that simple instead of a recurring worse problem! Best to you both!

Hi,  I have 2 pregnant does that I just noticed today with the same problem.  The rest of the herd seem fine.  At first I just thought they were shedding with the warmer weather, but then noticed areas just like the one you described.  If anyone gets to the bottom of this please let me know.  I am worried about the babies.  Thanks!

Mason, please be sure to read the comments here in this thread. There is good information about trouble shooting this issue in your goats.

I had a doe with the flaky skin problem. Hair loss/scabs on face/ears/legs, thin coat etc.  After treating w/everything,   I decided it was a zinc issue.  There are articles you can find on the web about Hereditary Zinc Malabsorption.  Her sister & kids all had it too.  All of them are in the freezer.  Her skin/coat were so bad she had to wear a jacket all winter, & even then wasn't warm.  I have spoken to others who have this & I have found some common genetic links.  I do believe the does who have this should be culled.  Of course you must rule out all other causes such as lice, mites, vitamin deficiency etc.  For those who have does kidding, check the kids before selling.  I found it started at about 5 months with crustiness under the tail, & minor flaky skin.  Some get worse than others, I know one who died.   It's a bummer to have to part with a much loved doe (never mind the cost!) But continuing to breed bad genetics is bad business.  Again, rule out everything else first!!!

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