He was an adoption from a large Fiber Farm 2 years ago and was buck wild when we got him. The poor little guy was a shy little fellow, a loner, low man on the herd totem pole and was constantly being picked on. Always stood away from the main herd, waited until everyone else ate and drank before he would indulge. He never would rush the gate when I entered and definitely did not want hugs and pets like everyone else. Over time he had settled down to where he didn’t run from me, though did not let me walk directly up to him. I could get my hands on him when I would sit with cookies as treats for everyone. Just had to bribe him to get close.
When a goat is like Beau, stands off away from the main herd and secluding himself is his normal behavior, it becomes very hard to notice a change in his health. I feel responsible for not catching his illness quicker.
He was seemingly normal one day, the next day I was outside working in the area of the Angora paddock when I heard him cough a couple of times. Coughing can sometimes be nothing (change in type of hay can cause a cough, allergies also can cause a cough) sometimes it can be something (worm load, cold or pneumonia). We checked his temperature - it wasn’t abnormal. He was due for his yearly vaccinations next week, so we went ahead and vaccinated, dewormed him etc. while we had him in hand.
We turned him back out, but I noticed he was still had a cough a day later. We again pulled him out of the main herd. He had developed a clear nasal drainage. So we started him on the antibiotic we had on hand. After a 3 day treatment of our meds, the cough had stopped, though he still had a slight nasal discharge and I thought he sounded a bit wheezy and congested in breathing.
We took him to the vet;he had a slightly elevated temp. The vet ran a couple of blood tests, said he was not anemic (means he was not ill from a worm load) and felt it was respiratory (pneumonia). The antibiotic we were giving must not have touched the problem Beau had. The vet gave us a prescription antibiotic, a better broad-spectrum antibiotic. That day we started Beau on that round of prescription meds, on the second day we thought Beau was sleeping, but he had passed away.
Over the years of owning goats I have found that if a goat is ill, it can and will go down quickly. One day they are seemingly fine, the next they are down. I also find that some goats have a strong will to live and others may just not want to fight.
I have dealt with different goat illnesses such as Coccidiosis, Listeriosis, Enterotoxemia, Goat Polio, Pneumonia – different goats can and do react differently to the same treatment. Some recover, some do not.
We also try to avoid using antibiotics. With Beau we felt it was life-threatening situation so we did use antibiotics plus when I was at the point I did not know what to do to help him we took him to the vet. The medication the vet prescribed was $75.00 for the bottle. The office visit was $30. No it was not a waste of $100.00 because I feel in my heart I did all I could do to save his life. I just wish I could or would have noticed something sooner indicating he was ill.
Not long ago I mentioned our crazy weather pattern, being in the 70’s one day and freezing rain and snow the next. I jinxed it…I said it’s a wonder everyone didn’t catch pneumonia. :-(
Beau was also the last of the "untouchables". I refuse to have another goat that is not hand tame.