Concerned about Goat Symptoms

Asked April 13, 2015, 10:50 AM EDT

I have a visually impaired 2 yr old Saanen wether. I have noticed hair loss along his back and sides. He lives with 6 other related goats and a burro. At first I thought the burro had grabbed him a time or two as she does if they get too close while she is at the hay rack. But this appears to be a little more involved than this. I see no scabs, redness, crusty spots or flakes. He is outside with a suitable run that houses all comfortably. He has free access to hay, pine trees, salt and mineral blocks, fresh water and other grass and weeds. He also gets a small quantity or goat specific grain each day. I live in the mid-Atlantic area, the warm weather has just arrived, we moved him here from central VA in December. Did fine through the frigid temps this year. Wondering if this is allergies, something more serious or what. He has a good appetite and his behavior is normal. Symptoms appeared 3 weeks ago.

1 Response

Hi -- what comes to mind first is lice, especially if you've noticed him rubbing against things or chewing the affected areas. Part the goat's hair on his topline and look for very tiny (bigger than a period at the end of a sentence, though), moving bugs. They are tannish-brown. Look closely-- you can see them with a naked eye. Lice are very common in winter and tend to get killed off in sunlight and warm weather; their entire life cycle takes place on the host. If this goat has lice, your others will as well; there can be varying degrees of tolerance and harm between different animals. The lice are species-specific so you don't have to worry about the burro getting them. You can treat with a topical liquid product called Ultra Boss, which is approved for use in goats--be sure to read and follow all label instructions. Treat all the goats at the same time. Repeat in 2 weeks, and 2 weeks after that if needed (i.e. you still see new live lice). You will probably have the same problem next year--just be on the lookout for it and treat as needed. Best wishes,