Everyone was raised on the belief that you can feed a goat anything and they will continue to thrive. Car tire? Yes! An old tennis shoe? SURE! This is obviously incorrect. Goats are living, breathing, creatures that need correct nutrition and water to survive. They are not something that does well with neglect and they are not similar to trash cans (accepting any "food" that they can get into their mouths). Sadly, not much information on a goat's actual dietary needs is made public in places where goat feed is sold. Hopefully, this blog post will help answer some questions pertaining to goats that we get frequently.
Goats are actually very sensitive creatures and do best on a very simple diet. The ideal goat diet consists of grass, high quality grass hay, and a mineral block. Anything besides that needs to be approved by a veterinarian. Most feed stores swell goat feed and sweet feed but these are both grains and that can cause urolithiasis in goats. Hard water can also contribute to urolithiasis so fresh, clean water should always be provided.
A blocked goat is a goat who cannot urinate due to urolithiasis/urinary stones (see the above visual). Surgery for this can be done at our hospital but some cases end up being referred to the vet school if that is an option for the client. Just like with many other health issues in animals, once it has happened once, it is likely to happen again. Sometimes the urolithiasis is bad enough that the client elects to euthanize the goat.
Wrong! We recommend that goats get vaccinated for Rabies and Clostridium CDT yearly.
No, unless you have experience with helping deliver a goat kid (and even if you do), it is crucial to call your veterinarian. Goat kids (like all other kinds of babies) can get their legs stuck in funny positions or have their head turned back which can cause them to become stuck. Time is of the essence and it is in the goat's best interest to have a veterinarian maneuver the baby out. The mom is also at risk if this isn't done correctly. All dystocias (baby is stuck during birthing process) are considered emergencies and the sooner the doctor can get the baby out, the better for mom and baby.
Have a goat question? Give us a call! 336-349-4080