Goat pneumonia is a leading killer among goats. This post helps round out the information on my raising goats resource page. You need to be prepared and to know what causes pneumonia in goats, the symptoms that follow and the treatment plan that needs to begin immediately.
What is Pneumonia in Goats?
As I walked out to the goats and breathed in the cold air through my nose, my nose hairs tingled and froze. I expected to walk out to my goats, feed them, love on them, milk and go about my day. But I immediately knew that something was wrong when my spunky Faith, didn’t push everyone out of the way to get to me.
Uh oh…what was going on? I worked my way visually and physically through the symptoms and immediately knew I was dealing with pneumonia.
And after I took her temperature and it was 97°F, I knew I had to act quickly. I immediately ran inside and got my medicine cabinet.
Pneumonia in goats is the result of the lungs becoming inflamed and can cause serious damage and even death very quickly.
Do goats get pneumonia?
Yes, goats do get pneumonia. In fact, it is one of the leading killers of goats a year. Worms and pneumonia kill more goats than anything else.
Why do goats get pneumonia?
That is a really good question. There are several reasons that goats can get pneumonia.
In my area, in Montana, we can have crazy swings in temperature. The week Faith got sick, we had had beautiful warmish days and then it swung down to low single digits with a feels like temperature in the negatives. Out of all the ruminants, goats have the hardest time regulating their temperature. Kids have an even harder time. So if you live in an area that has wide swings in temperature, your goats will be at risk for pneumonia.
Here are the reasons goats get pneumonia:
- Wide swings in temperature, high humidity, and excessive moisture
- Lung parasites
- Bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections
- Unhealthy body condition
- Crowded, overfeeding, dirty environments
- Unprotected from the elements like wind, rain, or snow
- Immuno-compromised goat
- Transportation stress
- Viral infections
- Prior bacterial infections
- Sudden environmental changes
What are the symptoms of pneumonia in goats?
When I found Faith in an obvious state of discomfort what did I see? How did I diagnose that is was pneumonia that I was dealing with?
Before I explain that I want to tell you about what I found when I went out one morning, years ago. I had gotten a new buck and had only had him a few months. He had bred my does that fall but at the beginning of the new year, I went out to feed and found my new buck, cold and stiff. Overnight he had died. By all appearances the night before, he looked and acted completely fine.
But that’s how interstitial pneumonia works. In as little as 4 hours, it can kill a goat. Overnight.
These are the symptoms of pneumonia in goats:
- High fever (104°-106°F)
- Low temperature (falls below 100°F)
- Not eating
- Standing off by itself
- Tail and head down
- Lay down, moan, and get up because of pain (fluid filling lungs)
- Down and unable to get up (fluid-filled lungs)
- Nasal Discharge
- Difficulty breathing
- Moist, painful cough
What types of pneumonia in goats is there?
Interstitial pneumonia in goats is the most common and the most deadly. You will need to act quickly with treatment to bring your goat out of this. Interstitial pneumonia is inflammation of the lung that involves the mesh of lung tissue (alveolar septa) rather than the air spaces (alveoli). Interstitial pneumonia can be caused by bacteria, viruses, and worms.
The most common bacterial pneumonias are Pasteurella and Mannheimia.
→ Pasteurella Pneumonia
Pasteurella is a bacterial organism that can cause serious damage to your goats. If you want to read about how 15 excellent and brilliantly cared for bucks died slowly over a period of time from this, visit this site: Pasteurella in Herd
Pasteurella will create enzymes that grow microabscesses. These microabscesses will slowly turn into big abscesses. And then they will turn septic and kill the goat.
→ Mannheimia Pneumonia
Healthy animals can carry M. haemolytica in their nasal passages but when they are stressed it can go lower into their respiratory tract where it can cause a lot of damage.
→ Progressive Pneumonia
Progressive pneumonia is a chronic disease in both sheep and goats.
CAE (caprine arthritis and encephalitis) is a virus closely related to progressive pneumonia but affects the nervous system and joints but can induce pneumonia.
Pneumonia can come about from infection caused by worms. Lungworms can cause problems and worms can travel from the intestinal tract to the lungs as well. This type of pneumonia affects a different portion of the lungs than the bacteria and viral pneumonia.
Aspiration pneumonia can also be called foreign-body pneumonia, inhalation pneumonia, or gangrenous pneumonia. It happens when a foreign object is inhaled and causes a pulmonary infection that causes inflammation and necrosis. The severity will depend on how much was aspirated, how far it dispersed, and what was inhaled.
This can happen during drenching or giving oral medications. This happens more often when giving mineral oil.
Tips on drenching goats:
- Give the drench only as fast as the goat can swallow
- Take extra care and be careful when the tongue is out, the goat is bleating or the head is held very high up
Is pneumonia in goats contagious?
Pneumonia can be contagious but it depends on what type of bacteria or virus is present. Sometimes a goat can catch pneumonia from secretions of an affected goat. But a goat can actually “catch” pneumonia from themselves as well. They naturally have bacteria in their noses but if they are sick or if their health becomes compromised in any way, that bacteria increases and then will invade their lungs causing pneumonia. Most viral diseases of the respiratory tract are contagious.
How to keep track of the health in your goat herd
You need to keep accurate records of your goat herd from year to year and when you give treatment or shots. It is impossible to remember from year to year what’s happened to each goat and what you gave them when. So keeping track of all your records in a goat health and information binder is imperative.
Tracking this information will give you insights into your herd on which doe should breed with which buck, it will give you a birds-eye view of which goats should be culled and how each goat has performed each year.
Treatment of pneumonia in goats
If you suspect your goat has pneumonia, this is what you should do:
- Take their temperature. Diagnose properly. And if pneumonia is the cause of their sickness, begin treatment below.
- BANAMINE. The high temperature must be brought down immediately. This will also alleviate any pain and inflammation they are experiencing.
- Dosage: IM 1cc per 100 pounds. Newborns/young kids: one-tenth to two-tenths of a cc
- ANTI-BIOTIC. Nuflor, Nuflor Gold, Excenel RTU or Draxxin.
- Nuflor: 18-gauge needle with a luer-lock syringe. 3cc per 100 pounds body weight (IM) for 5 consecutive days.
- Nuflor Gold: 18-gauge needle with a luer-lock syringe. 6 cc’s per 100 pounds body weight (IM) for 5 consecutive days. Provides some protection against mycoplasma that Nuflor doesn’t have. Newborn kids: minimum dosage of 1/2 cc.
- Excenel RTU: 18-gauge needle. 3 cc per 100 pounds body weight (IM) for 5 consecutive days. The second dose is given 12 hours after the first and the next four doses given 24 hours after the last. Newborns/young kids: great option. Minimum dosage for newborns is 1/2 cc.
- Draxxin: More expensive than other alternatives. 1 cc per 100 pounds body weight (IM) for 5 consecutive days.
- Penicillin: 18-gauge needle. 5 cc per 100 pounds body weight (SQ over ribs) for 5 consecutive days.
- LA200: 18-gauge needle. 5 cc per 100 pounds body weight (SQ over ribs) for 5 consecutive days.
- Always have Epinephrine on hand when giving injections just in case of anaphylactic shock.
- ROBITUSSIN DM: Only if present, chest congestion can be relieved by giving Robitussin DM.
- Dosage: twice daily at a dosage of approximately six cc per 100 pounds body weight.
- ELECTROLYTES: If the goat is dehydrated, replenish fluids with electrolytes by orally drenching the goat. In a 24 hour period, a 100-pound goat needs 1 gallon of fluids. This will be given in small amounts throughout the day. But great care must be taken so that the goat does not aspirate the fluids into its lungs.
- THIAMINE: Thiamine must be given if the goat is off feed. Their brain function depends on it and their rumens produce it. But will stop producing it if they are off feed.
- Dosage: 4 cc per 100 pounds body weight (IM or SQ every 12 hours).
- PROBIOTICS: After any round of antibiotics replenish a goat with probiotics.
- VACCINATE: Consider vaccinating your herd if pneumonia is a problem. Presponse HM Pneumonia Vaccine by Beringer Ingleheim. Jeffers carries this over the counter from Jeffers Livestock.
- Dosage: 1 cc SQ for goats under 60 pounds and 2 cc for goats over 60 pounds. Repeat dosage 4 weeks later. And then annually after that.
- HEALTH AND HOUSING: Always provide dry, clean pens and provide areas that are out of the weather. Your goats need continual access to excellent hay and mineral. They will need to be kept worm free. A healthy goat will be able to fight off sickness much more readily than an unhealthy goat.
After watching the video on this page, reading through the information and downloading the goat pneumonia treatment plan, do you feel a little more capable of helping your goat if they get sick or are sick right now?
I hope so! Just remember you must always watch very carefully the behavior of your goat so you can catch any sickness quickly.
Don’t forget to get, download, and print out the pneumonia treatment plan:
You can find further information here: