Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats

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I just moved from California to Virginia. I’ve only been here a month and yesterday I lost a buck to listeriosis and another one is ill but receiving treatment. Whether it was climate or something else I’m not sure but in the 6 years I’ve owned goats listeria was not a worry for me. No vet talked about it no fellow breeder had issues with it. So I didn’t know or recognize the signs in time for my one buck sadly. My questions are 1. Is there anything I can do to prevent the goats getting listeriosis? The vet kind of said it was everywhere and struck randomly. I’m hoping there is something more I can do. 2. Do I need to dump and or pasteurize milk all of the time even if my does are not showing signs of illness? Has anyone else dealt with this?

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We had a case of listeriosis about 16 years ago, and we had a goat with meningeal worm that temporarily misdiagnosed with listeriosis about five years ago. 

Listeriosis is usually caused by feed. Haylage or silage is usually the culprit, but it could be any feed that started to ferment, and the wrong thing started to grow. It happens very quickly, so I'd go over everything the goats ate within 24 hours before getting sick. 

Are the symptoms similar with meningeal worms? So far between the one that died and the one currently sick we’ve seen Head tilt, eye twitching, neck pulling back to one side, loss of appetite and desire for water. Dark pink eyelids and gums and no other signs of parasites or coccidia. I believe that they may have been exposed to hay that had started to ferment or mold. While I did not visibly see mold, it seemed steamy almost. We made a change after the first got sick to move the hay storage but it was previously on a dirt floor stall and it’s been raining a lot plus it’s very humid and whole no rain came in through the roof I think it might have seeped up from the ground. That said we also have a large deer population. If the goat that is currently sick dies we will be ordering a necropsy to hopefully get some answers. 

Symptoms of the two are very similar, so diagnosis is usually made based upon other things. Based on what you've said about your hay, it sounds like that's your problem. Do you have the hay sitting directly on the ground or on pallets? 

If you just moved from California a month ago, that's not enough time for m-worm to infect a goat and travel through the digestive system and the body to get to the spinal cord or brainstem. It is ONLY white tail deer that carry m-worm, which I don't think you had in California, which is why I would not suspect m-worm in your goats at this time. I think someone told me it's a different type of deer in California. Although infection with m-worm usually happens in the summer, you don't usually see symptoms until sometime in fall or winter. All of the llamas and goats that got it on our farm started showing symptoms in November or later. 

Thank you so much for your help and info. Yeah where we were in southern Cali there were no deer close to us at all. Originally the hay was on the dirt floor in the barn. Which is where I believe the problem arose. Now it has been moved so that it’s in a fully floored shelter and it’s up off the ground. Unfortunately a hard lesson in a different climate. Moving from somewhere so dry that you have to work to get mold on hay to a place where it’s so humid all the time that it can grow easily has been a learning experience. 

We keep our hay on pallets and even then, we have to be very careful with the bottom bales. We wind up throwing quite a few into the compost pile. Our barn floor is concrete, which is not great. 

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