Goats are some of the most adorable animals on this planet. They’re playful, curious, and have huge personalities. But sometimes, they might need help with an issue that’s been bothering them for a while: scratching! This post will go over what to do when your goats start scratching excessively and how you can prevent it from happening in the future.
1. Not enough protein in their diet
Goats need a lot of protein, especially when they’re growing. If you have a baby that’s getting big but is still being fed milk by the bottle, they might not be getting enough protein to grow at an appropriate rate. They might also start scratching if you don’t give them hay for a long time and only feed them grain. Goats should always have access to plenty of fodder when eating the grain! We’ll get more into what else goats need in their diet later on when we go over how to prevent it from happening again.
2. A lack of vitamin B12
A lack of vitamin b12 can lead to skin issues, weight, and even trouble standing up. If you haven’t supplemented your goats’ diet with vitamin b12, try doing so. Here’s an example of some vitamins you can give your goat on Amazon!
Parasites are one of the most common causes of their scratching. Goats might start scratching excessively after they’ve been dewormed, or you move them to a new location where they’re likely to be more exposed to parasites. We’ll go over what you should do if this is the case later on in this post when we talk about prevention!
4. Itchy skin (e.g., Atopy)
If the skin gets very itchy and inflamed, then it is called “atopic dermatitis.” Condition is called Atopy in short. This is different from just dry skin and can be something that is passed down through genetics. It is also called “Allergic Dermatitis,” as the immune system goes into overdrive with redness, swelling, and scaly patches. You might find it difficult to tell if this is an allergy or a parasite, though the symptoms are so similar!
5. Dusty conditions
If you don’t fix any of the issues above but live in a dusty area, then your goats will probably still have trouble with itchy skin because their environment is irritating them! If you’re scratching on a terrible itch, then no matter what you eat or how often you wash, it won’t make a difference because your body isn’t comfortable where it’s at. You can try to improve your goats’ living area, such as giving them a bigger shed with more dust-resistant bedding such as straw or sawdust.
Goats are brilliant creatures, and they will get stressed out by changes in their environment if they’re not used to it. If you recently moved goats to a new location and introduced new animals into their pen, then they might start scratching excessively due to stress caused by the change in the environment! Try adding things that smell familiar if this is the case, like old hay or feed bags that have scents on them from another goat pen! Just make sure you never use shampoo near your goats if you do this because they’ll probably lick it off of the items you put down for them to use.
7. Not enough space to exercise feed
Goats should always have access to hay when eating grain because it helps keep the digestive system healthy and prevents any excess grain from getting stuck in their teeth or causing weight gain. If you don’t give them hay, then they might start scratching, just like if you only gave them a limited amount of food! Also, feed your goats in an area that’s not too noisy so that they won’t be distracted by anything around while eating and get anxious about what’s going on! You can also set up games with things that move slowly, such as soccer balls or water bottles attached to poles to keep your goats entertained when they’re eating their meals.
8. Dry skin
Goats have a really bad undercoat, so it’s no wonder they want to scratch when their skin is dry! If you live in a particularly cold area, then goats will need supplements such as olive oil or aloe vera gel in order to keep their coats from being excessively dry. Make sure your goat’s coat is always shiny and groomed before going out into the cold weather, just like you would do for yourself! You can also put a hairdryer on cool settings up against their coat which might help them feel more comfortable until they’ve grown a thicker undercoat.
This should hopefully be obvious when you see fleas on your goat but make sure you check anyway! It could even be something else that’s small and black, such as a tick or fly larva.
Goats need mental stimulation just like anyone else! It’s a pretty boring life if your goat is wandering around by itself all of the time with nothing to do because it’s going to be wanting attention from you eventually! You can buy things that goats can play with, such as hay racks that they have to pull pieces out of, but it might be more fun for them if you made something yourself! Even putting some old kids’ toys in their pen will give them something new to investigate and enjoy, even if they’re an old toy of yours, so don’t throw anything away!
Sarcoptic mange is caused by the Sarcoptes scabei mite. This condition can lead to hair loss and severe itching around the neck, legs, and stomach area of the animal. Treatment for this condition includes injections of Ivermectin (a drug used to kill parasites), topical application of the lime sulfur ointment, or other treatments like shampoos with pyrethrin soap colloidal silver solution or mineral oil (to help suffocate the mite).
12. Internal Parasites
Internal parasites are any parasite that resides within the body of an animal, including worms and protozoans. Symptoms of worm infestations in goats include diarrhea, weight loss, bloating, coughing, or being lethargic. Protozoans cause symptoms such as muscle tremors or seizures. To treat internal parasites, you need to know which type your goat has so you can get the appropriate medication for it! Your vet will be able to prescribe medicine if needed after testing a stool sample for parasites.
13. Noninfectious Uveitis
Noninfectious uveitis is an inflammation of the middle layer (the use) of the eye due to a number of reasons. Symptoms include red-eye, a pupil that does not dilate, corneal clouding, or ruptured membranes behind the lens. Treatment includes topical antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications as well as painkillers. Most cases of noninfectious uveitis occur in goats less than one-year-old due to “possible viral involvement.” Prevention involves minimizing stress to your goat by ensuring it is healthy and well cared for.
Lice are parasites that feed off of blood from a host animal such as a goat, poultry, or cattle! Not only do they cause physical discomfort to the animal, but they also spread disease because their saliva can transmit diseases from one host to another just before feeding. It’s quite easy to treat lice in goats because you can use a lot of the same products that are used to kill lice in other livestock; just make sure it’s safe for use on dairy animals.
Coccidiosis is caused by protozoans which are microscopic organisms found in all types of environments, including soil, feed, and water. Symptoms include diarrhea, dehydration, or anemia due to blood loss from the intestines. Treatment includes oral or injectable antibiotics along with electrolytes. Prevention involves good sanitation practices to avoid spreading coccidia between goats because it can remain infectious for up to six months at 55 degrees Fahrenheit!
Strangles are a disease that causes sores inside the throat and lymph nodes in the head, neck, or chest. It is caused by a bacterial infection resulting from wounds near the throat, allowing bacteria to enter the body. The bacteria are spread through contact with other goats which have previously been infected, nasal secretions, or contaminated feeders! Treatment for strangles includes antibiotics, but you will need to isolate your sick goat, so it doesn’t infect other animals while it recovers!
Schistosomiasis (or bilharzia) is caused by blood flukes that live in freshwater habitats where victims pick up the parasite when they go swimming or wading in infested waters. Symptoms include headaches, fever, chills, nausea, and vomiting after exposure to water infected with the parasite. Treatment includes anti-parasitic medication and painkillers as well as fluids if your goat is dehydrated. Prevention of schistosomiasis involves limiting access to freshwater where the parasite may be present and ensuring that any wounds on the feet or legs of an animal, so it does not wade in, swim or drink from infested waters!
18. Cattle Grub (Warbles)
Cattle grub live in fat stores deep within a goat’s skin and migrate to the back, shoulders, flanks, and underbelly about one month after hatching from eggs found on grasses. The presence of warbles causes irritation which leads goats to rub or scratch, which spreads the infection by infecting other areas of your goat’s body! Symptoms include hair loss, scaly skin, sores, and tumors deep within the skin. Treatment includes applying pesticides to your goat’s body after it has been washed (which drowns the grubs) as well as anti-parasitic medication to kill any remaining eggs. Prevention involves reducing stress which gives the cattle grub time to develop into an adult worm that can lay its own eggs!
19. Mouth Rot
Mouth rot is another bacterial infection that causes lesions inside a goat’s mouth, making eating difficult or painful for them! It often results in weight loss due to reduced food intake and bad breath due to rotting teeth! Treatment includes antibiotics and painkillers if needed, but you should pull any rotten teeth out first before giving medicine because it will make it quite unpleasant for your goat to swallow!
20. Foot Rot
Footrot is caused by bacteria that infect the tissues between a goat’s hooves which becomes irritated and inflamed due to mud, manure, or other irritants such as thorns! This results in pus-filled lesions, sores, and lumps around the joints or at the base of hooves. Treatment includes antibiotics and painkillers, as well as soaking the foot in Epsom salts before drying and applying antibiotic ointment with a cotton swab. Prevention involves reducing moisture on your goats’ feet, so they don’t develop wet cracks around their hooves, which is where bacteria enter the skin!
Scrapie is a neurological disease in goats that leads to progressive weight loss, tremors, and behavioral changes in both male and female goats. It has been diagnosed in many countries, including the United States, where its cause is still unknown! Symptoms include depression, compulsive behavior (such as repeatedly moving in the same direction), uncontrolled excitement when touched or sudden aggressive behavior when approached by humans, decreased milk production, and an unresponsive state similar to schizophrenia. There has not been a single case of scrapie being passed from infected animals to other livestock, so there is no known risk for you after handling your sick goat! Treatment does not exist for this disease, but it can be managed with supportive care-which means providing food, water, and medication if necessary. Prevention limiting contact between goats that are not related and any equipment that you use to handle your goats!
The bacteria that cause listeriosis are found in the soil, water, vegetation, silage (fermented plant matter), and animal waste which is why it often affects cattle, sheep, and other livestock, but it can be transmitted to humans through contact with sick animals or their bodily fluids! Symptoms include fever, diarrhea or constipation, muscle stiffness, or convulsions. Prevention involves vaccinating all of your goats against infectious arthritis (which gives them immunity for 12 months which should be administered every six months if they are outdoors constantly). If you suspect that your goat has listeriosis, then nursing care will consist of providing them with food and water plus giving any medication that your vet prescribes!
Erysipelas is an acute bacterial infection that infects the skin of goats causing small round lesions, which are usually yellow or red but can also appear grayish or white due to pus inside them! This results in fever, loss of appetite, weakness, and lack of energy for your goat. Treatment includes providing food and water, giving painkillers if needed as well as any antibiotics that your vet prescribes! Prevention involves vaccinating all of your goats against erysipeloid (which gives them immunity for 12 months, but it should be administered every six months if they are outdoors constantly) plus staying away from people who have this illness since they’re infectious until symptoms go away!
Tetanus is a disease that affects both humans and goats due to bacteria spores being transported on anything from contaminated soil, manure, or infected equipment. This results in muscle rigidity as well as painful spasms, which can inhibit breathing! Your goat can acquire tetanus by stepping on soil with the Clostridium Tetani bacteria, but it can also be passed from umbilical cords during birth, so all of your kids should be vaccinated between 3 and 16 weeks old (which gives them immunity for 12 months) plus revaccinating them every six months if they’re outdoors constantly or not up to date on their shots! Treatment includes providing food and water, giving painkillers if needed as well as any antibiotics that your vet prescribes!
Anthrax is a fatal disease that affects both humans and goats due to the inhalation of spores from soil contaminated with Bacillus Anthracis, which leads to severe respiratory problems, fever, shock or collapse, and death within 12 hours after exposure. Prevention involves vaccinating all of your goats against anthrax (which gives them immunity for 12 months, but it should be administered every six months if they are outdoors constantly) plus staying away from people who have this illness since they’re infectious. Until symptoms go away!
Botulism is an intoxication that affects both humans and goats due to Clostridium botulinum bacteria being present in the soil, water, vegetation, or food which can then infect their bodies through the mouth, nose, or wounds! This results in paralysis of any or all of your goats’ limbs as well as difficulty breathing and death. Treatment involves providing food and water which will stimulate your goat’s digestive system, plus giving any medication that your vet prescribes! Prevention involves vaccinating all of your goats against tetanus (which gives them immunity for 12 months, but it should be administered every six months if they are outdoors constantly) plus limiting contact with people who have this illness since they’re contagious until symptoms go away!