Goat Common Diseases: Signs, Prevention & Treatment

In this article, we will discuss goat common diseases. Goat diseases are very harmful to goat farming. Below there are more details about goat diseases. Goats are susceptible to many diseases, one of which is coccidiosis. Coccidia is protozoal parasites that infect the intestines of their hosts. Goats harbor several species but not all exhibit clinical coccidiosis (see Coccidiosis).

Goat adults shed coccidia in feces, contaminate the environment, and infected newborns. As infection pressure builds up in pens, morbidity in kids born later increases. Signs include diarrhea or pasty feces, loss of condition, general frailness, and failure to grow. In peracute cases, kids can die without clinical signs. Rotating all the kids through one or two pens is dangerous.

Goat Common Diseases

Kids Diarrhea(colibacillosis, white diarrhea, neonatal diarrhea)

There are several causes of diarrhea in kids, and in general, lack of hygiene, lack of disinfection of the umbilical cord, overcrowding, heat and excessive humidity act as predisposing factors.

During the first week of life, the most common causes of diarrhea in kids are bacteria, especially the bacteria Escherichia coli (colibacillosis) and viruses, acting alone or in the association.


In these cases, the fecal matter is usually white-yellowish from creamy to almost liquid consistency and the kids are rapidly dehydrated. Death rates can be high if left untreated.

Prevention and Treatment

To avoid the occurrence of diarrhea it is necessary to maintain good hygiene of the pens and frets mainly. Avoiding the overcrowding of the kids and looking for places shaded during the day and repaired during the night, but with access to sunny places. An area of 30 to 50 square centimeters per kid should be calculated.

The treatment is based on antibiotics for the case of colibacillosis, preferably orally to avoid damaging the muscles with injectables in small goats going to consumption. This treatment must be accompanied by asymptomatic treatment with injectable antidiarrheals.

It is essential to hydrate diseased kids, for which it can be administered orally prepared based on electrolyte sachets that are reconstituted with clean water.

Coccidiosis(Coccidiosis Diarrhea):

From the month of life, the most common diarrhea is caused by parasites. That is not seen by the naked eye and is called coccidia. The animals become infected by ingesting oocysts (parasite eggs), which are located in the cells of the small intestine where they multiply.

After about 16 days coccidiosis colonize the large intestine and between 21 and 28 days are eliminated by fecal matter, constituting an important contaminating material. The conditions of humidity, stress, overcrowding and lack of hygiene in the corrals favor the appearance of the goat diseases


The main symptoms are green diarrhea, sometimes with blood or clots and mucus. The perianal region is often spotted dark in color. The kids have sunken eyes due to dehydration and anemia. Of the eyelids (conjunctiva) looks white rather than pink). Other times animals die suddenly without apparent symptoms.

Prevention and Treatment

The thick and straight intestines are thickened with blood and clots inside. White plaques appear on the wall in the small intestine. For the diagnosis it is necessary to sample the fecal matter of the diseased animals, performing the count of oocysts per gram of feces.

In terms of prevention, the above is true for bacterial diarrhea. The treatment for coccidiosis is based on coccidial chemotherapeutics called generically sulfas. Importantly, diseased animals develop rapid immunity once cured.

The premature and individual treatment is the one that yields the best results. The application of sulfas must be accompanied by a treatment of recomposition in animals with dehydration.

Some of the medicines used are Following:

  • Delayed 30% sulphamethazine (Laboratory Rio de Janeiro)
  • Raxidal (Intervet)
  • Baycox 5% (Bayer)

Ectima Contagioso(Pizotia, Boqueria)

It is a viral disease that primarily affects small goats but can be spread to adult animals that have not been vaccinated or developed the disease in their juvenile stage, especially through breastfeeding. This disease also affects sheep and occasionally affects human. Morbidity is high from 30 to 90%, while mortality is nil in adult animals and from 15 to 75% in young.


The kids stop eating, have plenty of saliva in their mouth and have fever, symptoms that may not be perceived among adult animals.

These symptoms are aggravated when the lesions occur in the mouth, tongue, pharynx, and nose. In adult animals, the disease can spread to the breasts and nipples. When the vesicles are located at the level of interdigital space and crown of the hooves, the bacterial complications can produce symptoms and injuries similar to a pietín. Other secondary sites of the vesicles are the vagina,

In adult animals, the disease can spread to the breasts and nipples. When the vesicles are located at the level of interdigital space and crown of the hooves, the bacterial complications can produce symptoms and injuries similar to a pietín. Other secondary sites of the vesicles are the vagina, Vulva perianal region, scrotum, and glans.

Prevention and Treatment

The disease can be prevented by vaccination of the goats within 10 to 15 days of life with a vaccine for infectious wool, which gives lifelong immunity. It is also recommended to vaccinate the goats in the last two months of gestation since they can create passive immunity during the first weeks of life.

Although some authors report vaccine abortions in this period, in our experience we have not observed these problems. The vaccines come in two flasks, one with lyophilized powder containing the attenuated virus and the other with diluent. At the time of use, the two vials are mixed and shaken well.

The vaccine is applied to the cabrito in the inner thigh by scarification, ie 1 to 2 droplets are deposited and the skin is scraped with the needle of the syringe on the droplet that has been deposited. In adult goats, the vaccine can be

Apply at the base of a tail devoid of hair. The treatment is based on the cleaning of crusts and grains with solutions of povidone-iodine and the application of antibiotic ointments, using swabs and protective gloves.

Hypothyroidism or Goiter(Iodine Deficiency)

This disease can be due to iodine deficiency in diet and water (primary endemic goiter or endemic goiter) or, due to the presence of goiter plants (for example, cruciferous plants such as turnip and Motacilla), which have components that

Hinder the absorption of iodine, decreasing the production of thyroid hormone (thyroxine). All this causes the secretion of the thyrotropic hormone through the pituitary gland, causing thyroid hyperplasia.


The symptoms are a bilateral enlargement of the thyroid glands that are found in the upper part of the neck, “swelling the throat on both sides”. The increase of the gland is always visible and palpable, from the size of a plum

Even a grapefruit. In addition, some kids are born weak and with alopecia. In very deficient areas of iodine, the mortality of kids at birth may be very high because of this since young animals are the most susceptible.

Prevention and Treatment

In a preventive way, the placement of salt stones enriched with iodine, but it must be taken into account that in places where there is much saltpeter in the soil they will not lick them. You can also apply 1ml of iodine tincture weekly during the gestation period, brushing the skin in areas devoid of hair.

Finally, goats can be dosed in the last third of gestation with injectable preparations. Iodohormone 10 to 20cc can be placed subcutaneously.

Fibrous osteodystrophy(Swollen Face)

This is a chronic nutritional disease that is caused by an excess of phosphorus intake in the diet. This excess of phosphorus causes the parathyroid gland to cause a calcium extraction from the bones to maintain the blood 2:1 ratio of calcium to phosphorus. The result is severe decalcification of the bones and replacement by fibrous tissue.


  • lethargy,
  • difficulty eating, and drinking water,
  • the tendency to stay put,
  • loss of weight and delay in growing kids,
  • swelling of the jaw bones of the upper jaw,
  • frequent fractures.

Prevention and Treatment

If the disease is recognized early, symptoms can be reversed by correcting the diet and the Calcium-phosphorus ratio. The application can be attempted of calcifiers that have no phosphorus in their Formulation.

Caseous lymphadenitis or pseudotuberculosis(Apostem disease)

This is an infectious disease caused by a bacterium (Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis). That is normally found in the environment and penetrates by small wounds of the skin or the mucosa.


The main symptoms are the appearance of abscesses (ulcer) of different sizes in the location where the lymph nodes are located (under the armpits, in the inguinal area, under the jaws, and in the upper part of the neck, in the union with the Lower part of the head). These lymph nodes increase in size (3 to 5 cm or more)

Until they open and eliminate a greenish pus and cream cheese-like consistency. These secretions are the main source of contagion for the other animals of the flock. Sometimes the apostemes are located in the lungs and the disease is not detected until the animals die.

Prevention and Treatment

Treatment is very difficult since all abscesses should be treated by surgical drainage and iodine-povidone cleaning or removal of all affected nodes. Additional treatment with antibiotics (penicillin-streptomycin) should be done for 3 to 5 days. It is often more convenient to dispose of diseased animals in the flock.


Goats have different types of scabs according to the parasite (mite) that produces them. The contagion is carried out directly from animal to animal, or by scraping on poles, logs and drinking fountains where a sick animal was previously scratched.

Sarcoptic mange mainly affects the face. Starts at the edges of the lips, nostrils and around the eyes and they can take over the entire head and in cases of intense parasitism, can spread to the entire trunk, under the belly, breast, and extremities. In the beginning, small vesiculous papules are noticed and the serosity that they contain when they dry form black scabs, hence the name “black snout” with which it is known in the field.


Psoroptic mange is located in the outer ear canal, inside the ears. This type of mange has been identified in the western Pampean and may be confused with the lesions caused by the tick of the ear. The main lesson is an otitis externa, ie an ear infection, usually produced by bacterial infections

in high schools. It is characterized by pruritus, thickening, and the formation of wrinkles in the skin of the base of the ear. Accumulation of masses of brown discharge in the ear canal, which gives rise to deafness and symptoms of head movements.

Chorioptic mange is often located on the hind legs and between the hooves or around the anus and in the scrotum. It is not very contagious and relatively rare. In addition, goats are affected by a fourth scab.

Demodectic mange or follicular mange. It is characterized by the presence and multiplication of small mites of elongated form in hair follicles and sebaceous glands. Saanen goats are especially susceptible to this type of scabies. Skin lesions appear on the skin of the neck, thorax, and flanks.

Prevention and Treatment

In all cases, the injectable avermectins or endectocides are very effective at a dose of 0.2 mg/kg body weight. The treatment can be done with Ivermectin or doramectin, with 2 injections with a week of difference between each, at doses of 1 cc each 50 kg of weight.

  • Ivomec (Merial).
  • Dectomax (Pfizer)

Not all goat diseases have a cure or treatment. Unfortunately, the solution that depends on gravity is to sacrifice the animal, to be able to preserve the rest of the herd. However, there are some goat diseases that can be avoided by vaccinating goats first.


We hope that this guide has helped you to better understand how goats harbor coccidia and the signs of a potential infection. If not, we can provide more information on our website or by email. Are there any other questions about Coccidiosis in Goats? Let us know!

As A Reference: Common Diseases

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