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There are a number of common  diseases that affect goats and which  farmers need to know how to prevent  and/or treat.


Symptoms Prevention Treatment
The Live Animal:  The organisms that cause heartwater are transmitted by Bont ticks, which are mainly found in hot, dry bush areas.

Heartwater can result in death within 24 hours, but some cases survive 2 to 5 days.

Affected goats have a very high temperature and show nervous signs: high stepping jerky gait, shivering, walking in circles. Later, jerky, paddling movements with the legs and the head pulled backwards when the animal goes down.

The dead animal will have excessive fluid in the heart sac, lungs, chest cavity and abdominal cavity.

spraying. However, when there are visibly many ticks on the goats, dipping about once a week may be necessary.

Goats that have grown up in a heartwater area are more resistant to the disease

If an animal dies of heartwater, dip it to kill the ticks on its body. The ticks are infected with heartwater and will infect other animals if they bite them.

Vaccination against heartwater is possible but it is complicated and expensive, speak to your veterinarian about this.

Treat the animal early before nervous symptoms show.

Use short-acting Terramycin for three days in a row, or new drug Doxycyline. Use an intravenous injection if you can, otherwise intramuscular.

Dosage rates: Adult goats inject 5cc daily for 3 days (intramuscular injection).  For a kid give 2.5cc daily for 3 days. Note: Dosage rates will vary depending on the make of the injection that you buy.

Blocking: Some farmers prevent Heartwater outbreaks by treating young goats with a dose of longacting antibiotic when they are going to be exposed to ticks. This is called blocking. You can read more about blocking.



Symptoms Prevention Treatment
An abscess on a goat’s jaw

An abscess is a swelling that is the result of a bacterial infection. It is hot, red and painful. It can be caused if a thorn or a tick breaks the skin and the bacteria then enter the wound.

Control excess ticks and general hygiene.






Open and drain the abscess when it has a yellow spot on it or when it softens.  This can be done by cutting a cross over the soft spot.

Use a boiled razor blade to cut the abscess. Then syringe warm (boiled) water with a lot of salt in it (1 tablespoon of salt in a cup of water) or iodine into the wound.

Spray daily with a wound aerosol such as Woundsept Plus. The wound must be kept opened and it must be flushed daily with warm salt water to remove pus.

Use gloves when handling the abscess. Bury or burn the material used to wipe the pus. This can infect other animals and people. Always boil the razor blade before using it.

The goat can also be injected with an antibiotic to aid recovery.

(Tapeworm cyst in the brain causing brain damage)

Symptoms Prevention Treatment
This is a symptom rather than a disease in itself. Affected goats walk in circles due to permanent brain damage, they suffer and die. It is caused by tapeworm cysts in the brain.


Animals show signs of brain damage, for example, walking in circles.

Goats require regular deworming to prevent such conditions.  It is also very important to deworm dogs regularly, every 3 months and to ensure that they do not eat the brains of goats (and sheep), No treatment is possible once the animal shows symptoms.

Scours or diarrhoea

Symptoms Prevention Treatment
Signs of diarrhoea

Diarrhoea can be the symptom of a disease.

There are many different causes of scours and each one can cause a different kind of runny stomach. They can include:

, yellow diarrhoea  white diarrhoea Whitish diarrhoea with lumps of thin skin in it

Red or brown diarrhoea, which may mean blood in it.

Scours can be caused by a change in food source or diet.

Regular treatment for worms will prevent scours caused by worms.

Where scours are caused by nutritional changes, feeding some sort of



in wetseason  will help with prevention.

A good general treatment is a mix of one spoon salt, 8 spoons sugar in one litre of clean, warm water. For young animals that have not been weaned, feed this mixture twice a day instead of milk (but not for more than three days).

Only when there is blood in the diarrhoea, do you inject with a long acting anti-biotic or give a dose of terramycin powder mixed with water.

Hi-Tet 200 LA dosage:

Intramuscular injection.

1ml/10kg livemass.

Repeat after 3 days if necessary.

Terramycin powder dosage: Mix with water and give as a drink.

1 level teaspoon powder/7kg livemass.

Repeat daily for 3 to 5 days. Immodium tablets for 3-5 days: half a tablet per day

.To be continued…..

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