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Is this Bottle Jaw? Swelling on a few of my goats...

 
T Melville
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I just noticed today that 3 of my goats have swelling under their jaws. It was after the vet's closing time when I saw it. I searched for "jaw" in my kindle book "Raising Goats Naturally". It seems this could be caused by eating something thorny, or by parasites. (Personally, I suspect parasites, as three goats have it at once, and the one with the worst swelling seemed not to feel well yesterday.)

If I don't get persuasive advice to the contrary, I'll send for the vet tomorrow. Should I try to get him to do FECs? Should I try to get the samples collected before he comes? If it seems to be parasites, I assume he should only treat the ones with symptoms? (Or high egg counts?) I'm afraid my vet is of the "Deworm everything, all the time!" school of thought, so I want to have a plan ready.

I'll attach pictures of the visibly affected goats. Red has it the worst, it'll show up for sure. Not sure if you'll see it on Bessie or Goat. (My son helped with naming.) Unaffected are Oreo and Murray.
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Red
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Bessie
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Goat
 
R Ranson
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Sad to hear your goats are feeling glum.

Looks like bottle jaw to me. I haven't had it in my critters yet, but from what I've read, it's classic signs.

The vet is a great idea. Since you're paying him/her for their care of your animals, try and get free lessons out of it. If the vet is any good, they will be happy to walk you through their diagnosis steps. A vet will also know what parasites are present in your area, as well as which meds the bugs are resistant to.

If it was one goat, I would think milk goiter or tooth infection could be possible, but three goats? No, it's something stronger. Iodine deficiency is another possibility. It's a good opportunity to review your mineral regime (and ask your vet about what minerals are deficient in your area). If they are on a block salt/iodine lick, then they may need loose salt. Some times of year their salt needs are much higher than they can get off a solid block. The spring time is often a time when the mag, zinc, and copper go all out of whack in goats. Their mineral needs change with the weather but are more dependent on your location and your feed than any general thing you read on the internet.

As for worming the whole flock, it's up to you. Some people worm on schedule, others worm individual goats as they need it. If you are worming on demand, then ask your vet to walk you through the diagnosis steps so you can spot the worm sign as early as possible. Most of the time I worm on demand, so I try to give each of my sheep and goats a 'health check' once a week. This includes body condition, eyes and gums, hoof growth, external parasites, as well as daily observation of diet and behaviour. If it's a heavy duty issue (like cocci) then I isolate and get an official fecal test to ensure that my diagnosis is correct. But for general worming, the symptoms are pretty obvious if you know how to look.


Worming on demand isn't very popular here. Other shepherds (I keep mostly sheep, but the same applies for goats) worm on a schedule, some of them worm monthly! Most worm four times a year. I keep mine healthy mostly through diet, environment, and observation. A shepherd came to visit my flock and commented how healthy they were. She wanted to know my worming schedule, and I said I worm on demand. She said sarcastically, "what, the sheep tell you when they have worms?". Of course they do. Unlike her, I paid my vet to walk me through how to diagnose a sheep and goat for worms. I took my young lamb to the vet's office and got him to show me what steps he takes. It was money well spent (I don't say that lightly as my income is well below the poverty line and vet's are not cheap), and it gave me a chance to really evaluate my vet's skills. I now know I can trust him, and he know's I listen to his opinions, even if I have my own ideas as to how to manage my flock.

Because I worm on demand and keep a sub-clinical worm load, mine is one of the few local flocks that has no worm med resistance yet.

That said, there are times when I've wormed the entire flock to prevent a problem getting bigger. I don't like to, but I'm not willing to risk the consequences of not doing it.
 
T Melville
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Took my pics to the vet today. He couldn't get out here today, but he sold me Panacur liquid and a syringe. I'm supposed to give them 5cc each, once daily for three days. I'm only treafing the goats with symptoms. I don't want every worm around here becoming resistant.

It seems to me he wasn't too interested in coming out. Can't tell if he was just very busy or doesn't like goats. He also suggested I worm everything monthly. Gonna have to keep an eye on him. May have to check out the other vet in town and see if HE's on the same page as me. That'd be too bad, the current vet's done great by us for years when family members had cattle.
 
Travis Johnson
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Check their eye lids. If they are mostly white you know you do not have a parasite issue, but the more yellow the color, the bigger the issue. There is a eye lid color chart online somewhere that shows a farmer where they are, but make sure if you use it your computer monitor is color calibrated or you could be getting upset over nothing.

Most of the time parasite problems result in having too many sheep per given acre. I rotationally graze, but if your paddocks are not big enough to support your sheep flock without going back to the first paddock in more than 3 weeks time, the probability of having parasite issues is going to be higher since they are eating where they poo'ed and the parasitic larvae are still active.
 
R Ranson
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I know different areas have different worms, so maybe the eyelid colour is different where you are.

Here, the goats have a reddish hue under the eyelids, (pull the lower eyelid down with your thumb to see it) when they are healthy, which grows pale as the worm load increases. White is a sign that the worms are dangerously high. I'm not certain I've ever seen a yellow colour in goats or sheep.

Rotational grazing is one way that works wonders for reducing worms, another is to have the right minerals for your animals. Pat Coleby's books (natural sheep and natural goat care) are a great resource for this. If one has the land to do both, even better.
 
T Melville
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I've just reduced my number of sheep. In the trade I acquired too many goats. I hope to reduce by sale or butcher, not worm fatality. With a little more fencing, I'll be able to give them access to my other barn. I'll be able to segregate sheep from goats, giving the goats their own free choice minerals. I also have about another half an acre of pasture to put them on, about a fourth of it wooded, AFTER it's fenced adequately to hold them. I'm trying to be able to rotation graze them.

Also, later today, Red was laying down in a trough. I had to help her up. I had to reposition her front feet over and over to keep them under her. (She started walking on her own again about 5 minutes later.) Bessie's swelling was worse. The vet actually told me to give 5cc per 100lbs of goat. I have no idea what these goats weigh. I read online that Panacur is safe for goats all the way up to fifty times the correct dose. So I gave them each another 5cc. (10cc now, the 200lbs dose.) I'll give them each 10cc daily.

I haven't checked their eyelids, because thsy don't usually trust me to handle them that much. I may try to check 'em tomorrow as I worm 'em.

Thanks for the replies. I'm learning a lot.
 
T Melville
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They all seem to feel better today. Bessie's swelling is back down. Red is getting up by herself, and I think her swelling is shrinking. I remembered to check eyelids on Red and Goat. Red's were white, (She seems to be more sick.) Goat's were very pale pink.
 
R Ranson
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T Melville wrote:They all seem to feel better today. Bessie's swelling is back down. Red is getting up by herself, and I think her swelling is shrinking. I remembered to check eyelids on Red and Goat. Red's were white, (She seems to be more sick.) Goat's were very pale pink.


Glad to hear they are on the mend. The eyelids are a really good tool for identifying who needs more care. It might be a good idea to give Red a follow up worming in 7 to 10 days (or whatever the instructions for that brand of wormer say).

Was the vet helpful with minerals?

I've been seeing a lot of good when it comes to parisite prevention by customizing the minerals to fit your local needs. For example, where I am, we have dangerously low Selenium levels. Most of the province has dangerously high Se levels. The mineral mix for sheep and goats is made by the feed company for our province, so if we were to give only that, then the animals would have a lot more trouble birthing and be subject to more infections and parasitic. But if we were to give added Se where my friend's farm is, it would kill her goats. Knowing your local mineral needs goes a long way to avoiding vet bills.

Keep up the good work.
 
T Melville
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No, actually he never even talked about minerals. He looked at the picture, agreed it was bottle jaw, said that meant worms, asked what she weighed and about her having kids. Then he kinda dissapeared and left me with the girl at the register. He came back with a bottle of medicine and a syringe, then turned to another customer. Again, I can't decide if he's uninterested or was just very busy. I'll stick with him until I decide, but he definately gets low marks for education that day.

The bottle he sold me was obviously rebottled from a larger supply he uses. It had a typed self adhesive label like you'd address an envelope with. Only told the name of the med and the dosage. When I ran out, the farm store sold me Safeguard, which has the same active ingredient. Their bottle was about three times the size, and the med more potent (4.6cc of Safeguard for Goats= 10cc Panacur for puppies and kittens). It cost $1 more that the bottle from the vet. I'll continue to check on these three, as well as watching the unaffected two for symptoms. I didn't realize follow-up dosing was an option, but I'll check the bottle. Good to know, in case she needs another little boost. Again, thank you, I'm learning a lot from the interaction.
 
Katy Whitby-last
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You really need to get an FEC done as the swelling could be caused by liver fluke. These will not be killed off by Panacur and you would need a specific flukicide that works for the stage of development of the fluke present.

If you aren't sure of your goat's weight for dosing there are guides online that help you to calculate weight by measuring girth and length ( sorry I can't access one right now to link to)
 
T Melville
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I just emailed one of the two vet's offices in town, to see if they perform FECs. I don't have an email address for the other, so I'll have to ask by phone or in person later. I agree, it's time I persue this. Red died Tuesday, after seeming to recover for several days. I guess that could be explained if she got some relief from the other parasites, then the liver fluke got worse. It's too late for her, but I want to avoid relapse in the others. They seem to feel fine, but I want that extra reassurance.
 
Travis Johnson
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You can do your own Fecal Testing for worms too. The kit only costs $200 bucks and a gallon of solution is only a few bucks and would go you for the rest of your life. Its really not bad because the return on investment would be recovered by just preventing a few worm deaths.

It is a bit better than the eyelid check, only because that is only accurate during the middle of their lifecycle, but it is still a great indicator. Kind of like checking the ears of a sheep for a fever, yeah its not as accurate as a rectal thermometer, but its fast and easy, and if you are like me, I tend to do fast and easy stuff far more often then I do the highly accurate stuff.

 
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