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Author Topic: Mature goat loss of apetite and very thin  (Read 467 times)

Minimilton

  • Joined Aug 2017
Mature goat loss of apetite and very thin
« on: August 11, 2017, 11:12:44 am »
Hi i'm a newbie here. I have a very large 8 year old goat. He has free access to 10 acres of hilly land with a large variety of natural forage. He had been losing weight and I thought it was his horns pressing against his temple slowing his eating. I was feeding him sheep mix, alfalfa chop and beetpulp to try keep his weight up while I figured out how to remove part of his horn without sawing his face off.

I eventually managed to get the horn trimmed and I was expecting his apetite to pick up but it has actually declined and he wont eat mix, beetpulp or alfalfa at all and he is gravely thin.
He is wormed with panacur and after speaking to my vet I dosed him with tribex incase it was liver fluke. My vet said that as we have ticked off the worm or liver fluke boxes, we just wait to see does he survive/die.

He is still mobile but clearly less energy than before. The only things he will eat with any enthuasiasm are carrots, apples and celery, and he manages to trot over to me when he sees them. I am afraid to give him too many of those in case they give him bloat so i hand feed them to him a couple of times a day.
He has a field buddy the same age and breed as him who is very healthy looking so I would think its not just old age decline.

Any suggestiobs on how to perk him up? I dont know how he is still standing with such  poor body condition

Scarlet.Dragon

  • Joined May 2015
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: Mature goat loss of apetite and very thin
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2017, 01:35:13 pm »
Sorry to hear about your boy... if the vet is involved and it's an experienced goat vet, they're probably best placed to advise you...  However, there is a lot of experience in this forum and suggestions may help a bit.  I'm not an expert and it's really hard to give advice without seeing the situation as sometimes fresh eyes will spot something obvious.

Where are you?  Maybe if some of the members are close by they could drop in and have a look which may give a better idea. 

How long have you had him?  Is he castrated or entire?  What breed is he?

When you say natural foliage - what do you mean?  Trees? Grass? Weed? Gorse?

Does he have access to stuff that's poisonous such as ragwort in which case liver may be a problem? 

Sheep mix won't have sufficient copper for goats - have you checked if he's copper and/or cobalt deficient?

Is it worth getting bloods done for the vet to check other enzymes/deficiencies?

Have you checked his teeth to ensure there are no problems there (an abscess from eating thorns for example)?

You say you wormed him, did you do faecal egg counts before and after to find out 1) if he needed worming and 2) if the wormer worked?

Temperature.... again depending on where you are this could be a factor... heat stroke or just lethargic due to sun?

Does he have good access to clean water and is he drinking plenty?  Easier to measure if buckets rather than stream so you may not know this.  Is he peeing freely?  The things you mention feeding can affect wethers in terms of stones depending on your water quality so maybe he has urinary issues.

How quickly has he lost the weight?

Are there any females in the vicinity?  I know my boys went skeletal last year during the rutting period and whilst it's still early there are reports of rutting having started in some areas.

Will he eat willow herb, ivy and willow?  I would be less worried about bloat and more worried about starvation if he's that bad.  You can always give him access to bicarbonate of soda to help reduce the risk of bloat, so if veg is what he's enjoying, I'd be happy to feed him a decent quantity of it sliced really thinly mixed with something like chopped straw or dried grass rather than alfalfa.  Having said all that, I have a girl produced triplets and I'm using a horse conditioning mix to help her keep condition whilst feeding and it seems to be working.

Goats have similar nutritional needs to horses in relation to minerals so unless it says 'not to be fed to goats' it may be worth a try for you.  When one of my geriatric ponies was ill last year, the vet switched him to foal pellets as 'easy to digest and small to eat'... it helped him through so that may also be an option.  I also put him on Thunderbrook liquid gold and gut restore which made a huge difference and turmeric with powdered coconut oil (even the vet who suggested it was surprised by the turnaround).

I don't know if any of this is useful advice, and I'd be tempted to talk to your vet before you try any of it just in case it's likely to make things worse (certainly changing his diet too quickly could cause major problems).

Wishing you luck, and do let us know how he gets on.

Is he being bullied by his pal?
Excellence is the result of caring more than others think is wise, risking more than others think is safe, dreaming more than others think is practical and expecting more than others think is possible.

Minimilton

  • Joined Aug 2017
Re: Mature goat loss of apetite and very thin
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2017, 02:16:20 pm »
Thank you for the reply.  I have him 8 years, since he was a few weeks old (unwanted male kids from a dairy herd) castrated when I got them. Toggenburg x saanen. I'm in the Dublin mountains in Ireland. They havent been exposed to other goats since I got them. There are deer that come into the field from time to time.

The 10 acres he is on is mainly grass but also shrub, gorse, bracken etc. I have horses also so ragworth removal always up to date. So as far as I know the only thing he could be eating that is not good for him is bracken, but he doesnt tend to hang out up higher on the hill in the brackeny areas.

He has access to a goat mineral lick, I had been giving him my horse coarse mix and alfalfa but when he went off that I went and bought the sheep mix in the hope he would eat it. (I thought alfalfa would be the best option to give him because of more protein, but I do have straw chops I can try him on - eitherway he hasnt been eating the alfalfa)

My vet is an equine and bovine specialist with a good bit of experience in sheep too. He readily admits to having little experience with goats as so few people have them, but honestly I dont know of any specialist goat vets in my county or the neighbouring counties. I havent had bloods done or a worm fecal count done (mainly because my vet hadnt suggested it)

Definitely not heat stroke/sun stoke in Ireland! and he has access to a goat house for shelter and fresh water. Monitoring the fresh water intake is a problem as I have streams and automatic drinkers dotted around the 10 acres. so to restrict that I would have to isolate him in a very small paddock with short grass. I'm reluctant to do that as he will nibble on the longer grasses out on the hill.

The weight loss has been gradual. He is a poor dooer from time to time, but usually if I see him drop weight he has a good appetite normally and would hoover up whatever feed I gave to him and the problem was fixed.

I havent checked his teeth but I assume (possibly incorrectly!) that if he can munch on carrots no problem then there cant be that much wrong with his teeth.

I have willow and ivy in another field that I can try him on if you think it can help. He's definitely not getting bullied by his pal, he is the alpha goat and still manages to be alpha despite feeling so poorly.

I must check out to see can he pee ok! I hadnt noticed or thought to check.
I do have tumeric (again for the horses!) so I must see will he try some of that. With black pepper I assume.

Thanks again for taking the time to reply


Scarlet.Dragon

  • Joined May 2015
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: Mature goat loss of apetite and very thin
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2017, 04:30:28 pm »
Ok well I'm in Scotland so know what you mean about it not being heat stroke... and I'm too far away to 'pop in' on you.  Lovely area you're in though.

You could get your vet to contact the Goat Vet Society (or you can join yourself if you're interested); it gives you access to the same information but without voting rights, and I've found them helpful with responses to a couple of queries I've had.  Google it and it should come up for you.

If you've had him all that time and he hasn't killed himself with the bracken it's unlikely he'll have suddenly started now...

Hmm.

I'm no expert as I say,  but I know there's a lot of information about keeping protein levels low for wethers because of the urinary issues.

If he's always been a poor doer I wonder if he got enough colostrum early on or if his stomach has always been sensitive; ergo perhaps an underlying issue.

If he's peeing ok then the water intake is less of an issue so keep an eye out for that.

Willow and ivy both seem to be great pick me ups for sickly goats so it's worth a try.

I'd agree on the carrots, especially if he doesn't seem to be favouring one side of the mouth and there's no obvious swellings anywhere.

Yes, turmeric is best fed with freshly ground black pepper and a high quality oil... I use powdered coconut oil just because it's easy but any high quality oil works.  Apparently it increases the uptake by about 2000%.  Slippery elm is another good one for stomach problems (I suspect that was the base for the Thunderbrooks gut restore), any pre or pro biotics would be good too (guinness always worked with my horses although one preferred murphys).

Hopefully he'll come good for you soon.
Excellence is the result of caring more than others think is wise, risking more than others think is safe, dreaming more than others think is practical and expecting more than others think is possible.

clydesdaleclopper

  • Joined Aug 2009
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: Mature goat loss of apetite and very thin
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2017, 07:35:43 pm »
I would try a probiotic and some combivit to stimulate his appetite.
Our holding has Anglo Nubian and British Toggenburg goats, Gotland sheep, Franconian Geese, Blue Swedish ducks, a whole load of mongrel hens and two semi-feral children.

Mad Goatwoman of Madeley

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • Telford
    • Facebook
Re: Mature goat loss of apetite and very thin
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2017, 09:57:26 pm »
I hope he picks up soon.

penninehillbilly

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • West Yorks
Re: Mature goat loss of apetite and very thin
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2017, 01:27:35 am »
My thought was teeth, he may be able to chew but what is his bite like  front teeth and pad.

Scarlet.Dragon

  • Joined May 2015
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: Mature goat loss of apetite and very thin
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2017, 10:22:44 pm »
Just had another thought of something easy to digest and tempting (if a bit of a fiddle to make)... porridge.  My lot love it as an occasional treat.  You could spice it up with fruit for him.
Excellence is the result of caring more than others think is wise, risking more than others think is safe, dreaming more than others think is practical and expecting more than others think is possible.

Minimilton

  • Joined Aug 2017
Re: Mature goat loss of apetite and very thin
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2017, 07:46:11 pm »
Hi, i've been half afraid to update. I'm ashamed to admit he is missing teeth. 3 front ones. I'm not sure how I hadnt noticed before.

I would feed him beet pulp and soaked grass or alfalfa nuts if he would eat them but his poor appetite means he is turning his nose up at most things (and i've tried to tempt him with pretty much everything at this stage). He started picking at hay and dengie healthy tummy over the past few days (which has probiotics in it) but really he's probably only consuming less than 10% of what i'd like to see him eat.

I've had to separate him from the other goat who is getting very fat on all his leftovers. Is it time to call it a day with this goat? I dont want to give up on him too easily, but I also dont want to watch him slowly starve to death  :'(

Scarlet.Dragon

  • Joined May 2015
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: Mature goat loss of apetite and very thin
« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2017, 09:10:44 pm »
Only you know the answer to that one and tooth loss comes with age... however, if he still has back teeth and you can give him something that tempts him and that he can chew with his back teeth, you may be able to pull him through if it's what you want to do.

Smoothies with probiotics, whilst not a long term solution, may help you get him eating again and with some condition on him.  Horse conditioning mix/mashes may also work along with maybe soaked hay cobs rather than hay or grass nuts.  Try the soaks with different quantities of water initially to work out if 'moist and soft but not wet' suits him better than 'soup'.  He may be loathe to eat because he thinks it will hurt so tempt him with whatever he'll eat - bread, jam doughnuts, mash, fruit until he realises that it's ok he can still eat... then work on putting the condition back on him and look at how you can feed him sustainably thereafter (chaff of some sort will be easier than hay for example).  It probably means you'll need to separate him from his pal at meal times which is when you work on the condition, and once back in shape you can probably allow them to share for most of the time (if you put him on something like a straw chaff), with good conditioning 'meals' 2 or 3 times a day when his pal just gets more chaff.

It's going to be a lifetime commitment so only you can decide if it's the right option.  You're absolutely right that starving him to death isn't the right one for either of you.

Thinking of you, whatever you decide.
Excellence is the result of caring more than others think is wise, risking more than others think is safe, dreaming more than others think is practical and expecting more than others think is possible.

penninehillbilly

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • West Yorks
Re: Mature goat loss of apetite and very thin
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2017, 10:26:28 pm »
If you have a lawn mower try him with small handfuls of cut grass.
Obviously not if it's had anything on it, and a little at a time, only fresh so it doesnt heat up or sour.

Melmarsh

  • Joined May 2014
Re: Mature goat loss of apetite and very thin
« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2017, 11:19:16 pm »
Hi ! Does he eat the bracken ?? I always understood it to be carcinogenic !?!?  The other thing I would add to previous replies that goes with the FEC recommendation is if you used panacur to work at what rate ?? Back in the 80s when I started with goats panacur was not working even at double and treble sheep doses and I've never used it since , most Wormer's should be used at higher doses for goats as your vet should know if he is knowledgeable about goats. Hope he feels better soon.

Backinwellies

  • Global Moderator
  • Joined Sep 2012
  • Llandeilo Carmarthenshire
    • Nantygroes
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Re: Mature goat loss of apetite and very thin
« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2017, 07:31:35 am »
I would do FEC go check if wormer worked......... Am surprised vet didn't suggest this ..... Also surprised vet didn't mention teeth!   
Linda

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Melmarsh

  • Joined May 2014
Re: Mature goat loss of apetite and very thin
« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2017, 01:38:55 pm »
Any news ?? How is he ??

 

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