another shedding question

Hi all, I am new to the group and have read up on the shedding inquiries that have already been posted.  I was hoping for an additional reassurance regarding the incredible shedding my 3 year old Nigerian Dwarf, Apollo is currently undergoing.  

He grew the thickest winter coat I have ever seen on a goat this winter and is now losing all his underfluff cashmere AND his rough hairs (which is different from a previous poster) what's left besides a bit of the underfluff and rough hairs that have yet to drop is not bald skin underneath but a fine smooth but very light undercoat growing.  I assume this will contiue to grow and become a nice summer coat.    


Is this normal?  I'm used to handfuls of cashmere coming out - but not all the rough hairs dropping too.  He's chilly now because we live in Wisconsin and while it is currently raining and 45º  it can still get down to single digits Fº at night.  I put a calf blanket on him to keep him from shivering.  


He is feeling fine otherwise... normal appetite, normal spunk and no fever.  He eats good grass hay and has free choice purina goat minerals available.  He gets a pinch of purina goat feed daily just to get him running when I call him to the goat shed at night.  His FAMACHA is good and his skin is smooth and soft underneath.  


I'll try to inclue photos.  He looks like a ragamuffin.  (I think his tail looks good and the pink you can see on his hind leg is where his calf blanket rubs a bit.)  


Thanks for any input.  10998649487?profile=RESIZE_710x10998650096?profile=RESIZE_710x



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  • I asked one of my favorite vet professors about the ammonium chloride recommendation you got, and here is what he said .... I bolded the most important part.

    "When feeding ammonium chloride one is attempting to alter the acid-base balance of the blood and initiate a response of the kidneys to correct the imbalance. This results in the kidneys excreting the excess chloride which induces a drop in pH of the urine, which is what allows for the struvite stones to dissolve. This response will continue as ammonium chloride is continually fed as chloride is readily absorbed from the gut. Once the feeding is stopped the urine pH changes will revert back to normal. There is no “getting used to it” effect. 


    • Hi there, I think I maybe just wasn't explaining with proper wording. The regimen they now recommend is a result of testing continuous ammonium chloride vs. "pulse" feeding it and the effects those had on the ph of the urine. They said the desired ph was more quickly achieved when pulsing the dosage. This is helpful in reducing the size of the crystals thus preventing an issue. 

      As I understand it, improper feeding is still the main cause but that hidden imbalances can be in water and hay even if you're not feeding grains. I'm assuming this is why they recommend the pulse treatment... prevention is better than cure, like we all know. 

      It remains frustrating though that there is so much contrasting information out there even amongst the experts. 

      thanks for the conversation though! It's so helpful to be able to get information from the real world of goats! 


  • As long as he is eating, drinking, walking around, and acting normal, and the shedding is the only thing you're seeing, I wouldn't be worried at this point. You normally see more than one symptom when a goat is sick. With zinc deficiency, you might also see foaming at the mouth and a loss of appetite. 

    If you treated with a topical 10 days ago, it actually sounds like you DID have a problem with mites or lice, which is why you see the tiny short hairs growing back now. I would treat again now to kill any that are hatching now. Note that a second treatment for EXTERNAL parasites is recommended because mites and lice can hatch on the goat. It is NEVER recommended to do a second routine deworming for internal parasites because eggs need air to hatch, so worm eggs cannot hatch inside the goat -- only on pasture -- which is why you don't need to do a second routine deworming. 

    You mentioned a monthly ammonium chloride treatment. They don't need ammonium chloride unless you are feeding them grain. It only helps prevent struvite stones, which are caused by feeding grain -- and then ONLY if fed daily, so a monthly dose will do nothing for them. Other types of urinary stones are NOT prevented with ammonium chloride, so you can save your money and time on doing that in the future. You should also not be giving them pure molasses for any reason. There is nothing in there that they need, and it's going to make their blood sugar skyrocket because it's pure sugar. 

    • Ok thank you again for taking the time!  I have the retreatment for the topical on my calendar for this weekend.  I always do a fecal before I decide to deworm... I certainly don't want to add to the resistance.  I give ammonium chloride as directed by the vets here at UWisconsin - my goats get a pinch of a pelleted feed each day only so I've been doing that for years now as a safe guard.  But I understand what you're saying.  I will back off on the molasis though.  

      My small animal vet just got back to me and she also has goats... she said 2 of hers are doing the same thing so maybe it is partially weather realated too.  Unfortuantely it's 10º F and very windy right now so he has to be inside with a blanket on.  

      Thanks again for this forum and for taking the time.  Much appreciated! 

      • You probably misunderstood the vet if you thought you were supposed to be giving ammonium chloride once a month. It goes straight through them and they pee it out. So, it's good for the day and that's about it. If you read the ingredients on the label, you might find that the feed includes ammonium chloride. A lot of goat feeds do. But I also always point out that wethers do not need grain at all, so giving them ammonium chloride is trying to prevent a problem that could simply be prevented by not feeding them grain. 

        • What I was told by the vets at UW is that they recommend not including it the feed because the goats become used to it and it no longer serves the purpose.  So instead they advise 1/4 tsp. Per 50 lbs 1 time a day for 1 week every month. They know I was giving just a very small amount of pelleted feed. I was told it is an insurance in case their phosphorus to calcium levels get out of balance... flushes any crystals that may have formed. 

          Im just nervous about it because I've seen a neighbor have to deal with it. Urinary calculi thst is. 

          Thanks again for the advice and input! Much appreciated! 

          • You don't have much of a choice about including it in the feed because a lot of companies already do like Purina Goat Grower (but not Goat Chow, which is why you have to read the labels). It's frustrating that almost no vets actually raise goats, so they have no idea what products are on the market for them. 

            And there is nothing for the goat's body to get used to the ammonium chloride. The ammonium chloride acts on the stones, not the goat's bladder. It doesn't flush the stones. It dissolves them. I suppose a week per month could work if the stones haven't already gotten too big in the 3 weeks that are not getting any. Stones in and of themselves are not a problem. They are only a problem when they are too big to pee out. 

            • I agree! It is so frustrating that it's so hard to get good vet care! And it's so hard to decipher and weed through all of the info one can find online when research on a new own. I appreciate the conversations here. Thanks! 

  • The shedding does look excessive. It reminds me of my bucks when they were zinc deficient. Just double-checking that I understand what you're feeding and it does NOT include any alfalfa, which would be high in calcium and could cause a zinc deficiency. 

    Do you have other goats? If yes, what do they look like? 

    Have you checked him for lice? You have to pull back the hair and stare at the skin for at least 15 seconds to see if anything is crawling around on the skin under the hair. I usually check around the shoulders and check at least 5 places before I decide they don't have any. Unless you have excellent eyesight, you'll need reading glasses or a magnifying glass to be able to see them. 

    • I didn't see any lice this morning.  I had treated them about 10 days ago with a topical for potential mites etc. thinking that could be contributing. He was already shedding at that time.  He had been getting unsulfered molasis - more than normal- mixed with his monthly ammonium chloride treatment  but then also mixed in some warm water.  That's the only variation that I can think of.  

      I don't have a great goat vet up here but can make an appointment at the University a couple hours away.  Not sure if that's needed yet though.  

      Any further input would be appreciated.  


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