Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats

for people who love the littlest dairy goats

I have a 15 week old doeling who has been exhibiting a stiff gait for several weeks.  I unfortunately, being new to this, did not pay it enough attention just figuring it was something strange about her.  But the stiffness in the rear legs has progressively gotten worse and now she has trouble with her front legs seeming to go down on her front knees often, crawling on them while keeping her rear legs stiff.  She is still alert but is getting weak and seems small for her size.  We have a buckling who is a month younger and he has far surpassed her in size already.  

I am not 100% sure what is going on, but I suspect from what I can read in your book and others that it might be White Muscle Disease.  The solution for that is Bo-Se, but you need a vet prescription and I have been completely unable to find a vet in my area who is willing to see farm animals, besides horses.  So I do not have a vet from whom to get a prescription.  I did just go to Tractor Supply and buy a tube of Durvest Selenium and Vitamin E gel.  I know this is not the same as Bo-Se but will it work?  Is there anything else I can do for her?   Am I perhaps wrong in my diagnoses of White Muscle Disease?

Any help will be deeply appreciated as I am very worried for this little doeling (our very first goat born on our farm).

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I'm glad you got her to the vet, but it's really strange that he gave her BoSe and MultiMin both. One would have been good. Did he explain why? MultiMin has an especially high level of selenium in it.

The Safeguard dosage is also weird. Five days sounds like he thinks she might have meningeal worm, as that is the only time you give it for that long, but that's not the m-worm dosage. Did he do a fecal or say anything specifically about her worm status?

Thank you so much Deborah for recommending I contact the university with a vet school.  I was at my wits end being unable to find any vets that were willing to see goats with in several hours of me.  Clemson University is our State school with a Vet school but it was 3 hours away.  I was willing to make the drive but I noticed that their diagnostic lab was actually located in Columbia, SC (about 30 minutes from my house) so I figured I would call them first.  As I mentioned their head vet, who I was told would handle my sort of question, was out of the office but I was given her cell number.  She actually answered my call even though she was on the way to pick her mother up for a medical appointment!  Since she couldn't help me she gave me the name of a vet who is willing, educated, and experienced in seeing goats about an hour from me (Their vet office website does not mention goats, just dog and cats, but they were quite willing to see us when I called).  So now I have finally found a vet to help take care of my goats all because of thank you Deborah!

As to your questions:  The vet said that the State vet from Clemson University had told him about using the MultiMin along with the Bo-Se and they had seen good effect by doing that.  He mentioned something about tapeworms getting imbedded in muscle tissue and considering how bad Lily was (she could not even move her rear legs just swing at the hips) he wanted to go ahead and go with that to be safe also.  (I had told him I had already given her one dose of Safeguard so he might have also been building off of what I had already done but with the higher dosage).

As an Update:  Lily is moving much better after two Bo-Se shots (and some Vit E gel caps to be safe, and some Vit B shots to cover my bases).  She is still definitely stiff in her read legs but she is bending them better and moving around more and more competently.  She still has a ways to go to be what a goat her age should be, bouncing like she has springs in her legs, but I am just excited to see some improvement.  

I have one more Bo-Se shot to give her (from the 2 syringes the vet sent home with me).  Considering how bad off Lily was I am guessing she will not be 100% after just that next shot.  Is there anything more I can or should be doing to help her recover?  

I'm so glad to hear she's improving!

Since this vet was associated with a vet school, I was thinking that he might have had some info on newer research. Tapeworm is usually three days. I wonder if they're finding three doesn't work anymore.

This is the first case of white muscle disease I've heard of in a kid this age. I'm really curious about how it happened. Did the vet talk to you about additional selenium supplementation for your herd? 

I read through most of this thread. I also have a doeling with back legs stiffening. She was born Jan 30, 2019 a quadruplet, one stillborn sibling, the other 2 fine. She would be running and back legs freeze causing her to nose dive into the dirt. It happened more often as a kid. I first thought possibly myotonic mixed but her mom was born here in 2016. Her sire was registered Nigerian dwarf. No issues with any previous kids or litter mates.  Next I thought white muscle disease, treated with BoSe shots. No help. Another vet examined her and thinks spinal cord injury or defect. Gave steroid shots. Improvement for a couple months but shes starting to freeze up again. She was also treated for tapeworms in May. 

She has had copper 2mg at 3 mos. selenium-e gel, Purina Goat Mineral and baking soda free choice. She appears normal except for the occasional freezing. Any new ideas? 

Possibly vitamin E deficiency. Contrary to popular belief, there is not a therapeutic dose of E in BoSe. It's actually less than the amount a goat needs in a single day. It's simply added as a preservative and to boost the selenium a bit. Here is more info on that:

Any chance she's eating a medicated feed? 

I mix my feed, Alfalfa pellets, oats, BOSS and blackeye peas. They've never had medicated feed. I have plenty of pasture to graze.

The challenge with mixing your own feed is that it's not going to be balanced. Depending upon the proportions of those things, it could be very high fat or high carb or high protein. And there are no added minerals. You really need a recipe that was created by a nutritionist so that you know exactly which proportions to use, and then you add a mineral premix to it to be sure they are getting all of the minerals they need. If this sounds "unnatural" just remember that goats never lived in North America in the wild, and we don't have what they need to to survive. And feeding grain to goats is unnatural too, but most of us have to do it because our goats have been bred to require the concentrated calories and protein. If you are on a mountain or in a desert, you might have a chance at them getting what they need if they can get lots of browse every day year round. (So-called mountain goats are actually members of the antelope family.) 

If you read the vitamin E article, you know that it's very easy and safe to supplement. I usually don't say that "it can't hurt" to try something, but I do say that for vitamin E. 

Awesome, thank you. 

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