When you have a sick goat what do you do? Call a vet? Call your breeder? Get on the internet? With a normal pet like a dog or cat, horses too, there are vetrinarians galore. Every corner down here has a vet clinic. But what do you do when you call a vet for your goat? Usually, the answer is "We don't treat goats". Or we'll see it, if you bring in, but we really don't treat them. More times then not the vet is not knowledgeable in livestock. And more importantly not knowledgeable in RUMINANT functions. And Cows are NOT goats. Remember this.
So what do you do? Most people in the area call me. I'm becoming that resident "crazy" goat lady. And I'm more then happy to help. But here's the deal. You need me to help you but, I need you to do your due diligence, too, BEFORE you need assistance, before the emergency. Too many times I get a call with a downed goat. :( Sadly, as one friend just pointed out:
A DOWNED GOAT IS A DEAD GOAT.
By the time your goat is down its almost too late to do much for it. Of course, if you have all supplies on hand, have 20 hours of free time, and can constantly medicate every few hours its possible to save. I've done it here. Its not how most people's lives go. The worst of it is if you don't have supplies on hand PRIOR to a goat going down then precious time is lost running around town looking for things. Simple things. Time is of the essence with a down goat.
Here is something else I've learned
90% of all goat problems stem from management
and that goes for me too. No one is perfect. No one gets it right all the time. And no one can foresee serious problems like hypocalcemia, milk fevers, ketosis, mastitis let alone figure it out if you're new to goats.
But, many of the issues with a downed goat likely starts with PARASITES. More times then not the goat hasn't been wormed. Or if it was wormed, but under the amount needed, and all that did was piss off the parasites. Did you know that goats require MORE then the recommended dosage? NO? Go and learn about parasites and goat metabolism. 9 times out of 10 the goat has been under dosed based on weight and under dosed based on recommended COW or HORSE label amounts.
I'll always help you find the items needed. Recommend goat vets near you. Help in the detective work of what is wrong with your goat etc. But I will NOT be kind, 3 months later when another goat goes down, and you call, and you still haven't gotten the items recommended when the first goat went down. Yes, this happens all the time. And the reason I'm writing this blog. It happened just this morning. So frustrating.
Most people find me from this site. If you are here now. Reading this. Have goats. Here is a link to the page (also found upper left of this blog) called GOAT MED CABINET... Every item on that page is something you should be purchasing if you own goats. Don't ask. Just do.
I'm NOT advocating not going to a vet. I do understand the livestock mentality. Goats aren't dogs. I don't expect you to fork over thousands's to save its life. And I understand this is why you are calling. BUT get the supplies. Be prepared. Goats are fragile animals. They can be fine in the morning and dead by dinner.
Sadly, I get far too many calls where the goat is down. or off. or something isn't right. If we can discuss what is wrong and its an obvious ailment chances are if you have a stocked cabinet the goat can be saved with minor diligence. If you don't? then I can't help. And its very frustrating when this isn't the first time a goat owner calls, and the goat in question now has the same symptoms as the dead goat last month.