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Lost 6 month old goat kid last night

 
Saskia Symens
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I found our castrated 6 month old kid dead near his stable this morning. I could find no injuries on his body, bite marks or anything. A little blood was seeping from his eye (where the tear duct is located), but his eye was intact. No other traces of blood. He has always been in good health and was happily following and prancing around his mother all day every day. Just the two of them (The billy goat is stationed somewhere else because he is too rough with either of them).

Now I'm a little freaked because I don't really know what killed it, and we are all obviously very sorry over the loss of the kid (he was as sweet as they get). 
There are no predator signs, no heavy objects lying around that he might have gotten on his head. He and his mum never headbutted.
We DID have a big storm last night. Is it possible he fractured his own skull against a wall because he panicked or something?
Has anyone ever had an experience even remotely like this?

Thanks
 
R Ranson
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Oh, this is sad news.  Sending good thoughts.

I don't know if I can be of much help, but I'm curious what caused it.  Whenever an animal dies on the farm, I absolutely have to know why because I'm always afraid that there might be an infection or some other problem that could lead to the whole farm being sterilised.  It's a very good idea to figure this out.

I'm going to pelt you with questions - answer what you feel comfortable with.  These questions might help you realise something you didn't know you knew.  It's basically what I ask myself when something like this happens.

Can you tell us more about their diet?  Has the diet changed at all in the last week?  New bail of hay, new bag of feed... anything.

Is it possible a predator could have gotten in?  Do you have cougars in your area?  Are there any injuries on the Mum?  Even a tiny scratch or puncture mark that didn't break the skin - pay close attention to the neck and head.  Does she have any other ailments?  Can you double check her udder for signs of infection?

How did you castrate?

Any possible symptoms in the last week or so?  Stiffness, moodiness, limping, anything different?

Do you still have the carcas?  Are you up for doing a necropsy?  Do you have a mentor or vet that would help you do the necropsy? 
 
Saskia Symens
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Hi R Ranson,

We only have small predators, the largest being foxes. The area the goats were in is out of reach of stray dogs and is fenced ca 1.5m high. Since there are plenty of rabbits around, a fox wouldn't reasonably attack a 6 month old kid: at two months they're already big enough not to be on a fox's menu.

The kid was castrated at 2 months of age in July by a qualified vet (operation).
No change in diet that I'm aware of. The kid was in perfect health, cheerful as always, no symptoms of any kind that I could detect.

The blood coming from the tear duct leads me to believe the death was due to head injury. There are no predator marks on either the kid or the mother, in fact no marks of any kind.
Neck, head, eyes, all intact. No blood in the mouth or nose.

I asked the vet about possible causes of death. Based on my description she also excluded death by predator or disease. She said she had had a billy goat dying from a skull fracture following excessive head-butting with another billy goat.

My son and I buried the carcass together this morning, a painful but necessary ritual to allow him to say his goodbyes.
Necropsy is out I'm afraid.

Thanks for taking an interest,
Rgds,
 
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Were they indoors?  Only I've seen young goats run up walls, then do a 'wall of death' running full tilt round and round the inside of the four walls of a building until they either come down or fall down.  I wonder if the storm freaked him out a bit and sent him running around the walls and he misjudged his descent?
 
R Ranson
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That is sadness.  Losing any animal is hard, but it's especially bad when it's young like that.  Sending more good thoughts.

In many ways, it's good it was a head wound and not something worse. 

 
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