Goat People: help me treat Buddy the pygmy

Issaquah, WA(Zone 7a)

Buddy, our ~12 yr old pygmy goat is ailing with a lame leg and some undefined respiratory problem. I asked the vet for oral meds because of prior bad experience with injectibles in goats. Now I ask DG goat folks for any input you might have for pastes, sauces, or mashes in which to tempt the goat to take a powdered oral medication. We worm them regularly with paste which is easy and acceptable to them.

I have read about melon,grapes, artichokes, and various veggies that could be pureed into a small palatable paste. They get de-worming paste monthly without any problem. Perhaps a more liquid drench of medication and _________ would get the job done? He's a very docile, older guy who certainly deserves a chance to remain the respected elder in the barn.

Have you any tricks/tips that can help us get oral meds into Buddy? They would be much appreciated. I do not want to lose another goat.

Thumbnail by Poochella
Baker City, OR(Zone 5b)

Crush the pills, mix with applesauce (no chunks of apple) and fill a large plastic syringe with the mixture. Squirt this into the goat's mouth as far back on the tongue as you can get it, hold up his nose and stroke his throat until you are sure he has swallowed it. We give wormer and electrolites to horses this way. If you "prime" him with plain applesauce he will be smacking his lips to get at the next dose.

Issaquah, WA(Zone 7a)

Exactly right it turns out, Mary E, and thanks for answering. I think I've found a way: lettuce appetizer, followed quickly by a small lettuce roll filled with the powders, followed quickly by muskmelon mash. I had a syringe ready to do what you described, but dear Buddy is a bit of a glutton and was perfectly happy snarfing down all I offered without any hesitation.

I hope he continues to be enthused about lettuce, melon, and I will get the applesauce at the ready too. Breathing is better, leg is a tad better, but he is bright-eyed and interested and willing to get up- always good signs.

Baker City, OR(Zone 5b)

I bet you never thought that Buddy being a glutton would be a blessing in disguise! Keep us posted on his progress.

Issaquah, WA(Zone 7a)

Will do Mary E. Don't you love how ailments creep up in the most inclement weather! We've have freezing, 6 inches of snow and now high winds coming. I wish I had a heated barn, but it's goat-powered heat and good bedding only.
For whatever reason, of the two pygmy brothers, Buddy has always been pudgy which doesn't help his lameness now at all. They are such a sturdy little breed, and personable. He is the only goat I've known to come when called, for trimming hooves. Amazing.

I hope this works and that we can enjoy him a few more years. I will keep you updated.

Sue, RI(Zone 6a)

I hope Buddy continues to do better. The bright-eyes is always a great sign. Do you have a heat lamp you could put in a corner so if he wanted to be warmer he could be near it? Sometimes a cooler/dry barn is better than a warm one when it comes to respiratory problems.
I wish my goats would have come running when it was time to trim hooves! I would have to bribe them onto the goat stand and try to get the trimming done before they were finished eating!

Issaquah, WA(Zone 7a)

I will get a heatlamp Sandy. Probably a good thing to have on hand anyway. His breathing is better this a.m., standing at the hay rack looking gluttonous when I went down to feed them. The lettuce/melon trick worked like a charm again which relieves both of us from any struggle medicating. This is great.

He didn't exactly 'come running' when called for hoof care, more of an amble LOL. But the nice thing is that he came willingly.

Baker City, OR(Zone 5b)

Does Buddy's problem seem to be an infection in his hoof? I know that wet weather and muddy conditions make things like this hard to control.

Issaquah, WA(Zone 7a)

Not the hoof. We worked on the hind hoofs a few days with epsom salt soaks, trimmed them up, and used Koppertox last week but they look sound. He has always had an either congenital malformation of that hind leg or a poorly healed prior injury. His 'wrist joint' is immobile. He has always looked bow legged on the 'bad' leg but it didn't slow him down. Another vet I talked to thought it was likely arthritis in one or more of those joints given our cold, damp weather and his weird anatomy.

Buddy is to the back left here, purple collar. You can barely see his hind right leg, with the joint turned out a bit. Oh how I long for a stretch of sunny, dry weather as we had when this photo was taken! We're working on our 5th inch of rain in 19 hours.....

Baker City, OR(Zone 5b)

I can only see that the leg seems to be at a bit of a funny angle to the body. I suspect that your vet is right about arthritis settling into the joints with the abnormal strain on them. Swelling could be the result of inflamation, so maybe giving him antinflamatory daily could control it. I'd say you have the pill giving under control as long as Buddy enjoys eating!

I know what you mean about the rain up in that area, we lived one winter at North Bend, so close to Mt Si that we had to stand right next to the front window, crain our necks and look up to see the top. Lots of rain and wind there and I don't miss that kind of weather at all. That feeling was reinforced with living through 4 winters in Ketchikan, Ak. I'm with you wishing for warm and dry weather.

I have a suggestion for an outdoor feeder that is not as wasteful as the cable spool I see in your picture. With the current price of hay, anybody with animals needs all the help they can get.

Issaquah, WA(Zone 7a)

Oh Mt Si is just down the road a piece- such a sight for all of North Bend to enjoy. I've been to Ketchikan- makes Seattle look downright tropical LOL!

We typically use small hay feeders inside the barn. The cable spool is just a goat lounge chair normally. That summer I just enjoyed looking at the new Nigerians and we had no rain for over 6 weeks. All that waste hay was gathered, shredded and used as mulch in the garden, but I'd like to hear your idea anyway.

Alas, the love affair with melon and lettuce is over. He's onto the medication scent. Today we switched to applesauce which works very well in the syringe. Thanks Mary E. It's up and down with the goat: down this a.m. and breathing harder, then tonight getting up, putting a bit of weight on the bad leg, breathing easier and butting his barnmates away from the food. I haven't seen him outside the barn in days though, so his universe is quite small and I worry about the lack of activity. We shall see as time goes by.

Sue, RI(Zone 6a)

I hope with every step backwards he regains 3 steps forward.

Baker City, OR(Zone 5b)

Hopefully the applesauce will be all you'll need to get the meds down him, but if you need to switch flavors, things like canned apricots or stewed prunes make a tasty mix. Or flavored yogurt. Butting the other goats away from the food is a good sign.

Our feeders were 5 sided sheep hay feeders, and I put a woven wire tube in the center, big enough for a couple of flakes of hay. The whole thing was up on legs and had a plywood floor. Another piece of plywood made a roof, hinged and latched down so the goats couldn't move it when they jumped on the roof. They had to stick their heads through the outer slats to nibble the hay inside the wire, and what they dropped was easily picked up without getting trampled. Of course they didn't pick it all up, but it helped, and the rest became bedding and eventually ended up in the garden.

I had to laugh about Seattle being tropical compared to Ketchikan. It is also flat! and I noticed that the people dress funny. Style is definitely not of much importance in Ketchikan, but staying dry is! Did the sun come out when you were there?

Issaquah, WA(Zone 7a)

We don't dress funny! Style is of much import as one makes it, and there's probably a broader range in the Seattle Metro area than in Ketchikan for sure! I saw some shockingly hot pink hair go by near downtown Seattle the other day. Really a standout character, but there were jeans and some sort of sweatshirt below that.... pretty common.

The Buddy update: breathing is much easier, almost a non- concern. He made it out of the barn, not once, not twice, but four times the other day, including a foray way uphill to nibble on some bark a couple days ago. He eats well. He still likes applesauce and medicating is a snap. But that bad hind leg is not much for weight-bearing. He will touch it down, or even stand on it, but limps avoiding use of it when moving any distance. This isn't good for the long term, I know.

I have them all basking under a heat lamp and they seem to love it. Even I liked it- it's just below freezing here and gets down into the 20's through the night.

So that's where we stand.
Mary E, I'll have to look further on your nicely described outdoor feeder once the holiday rush is over. Goats are such wasteful eaters, anything to make the hay go further is a good idea.

Baker City, OR(Zone 5b)

I'm sure it was just my preception of what was normal after months of looking at rubber boots and rain gear, to get on the ferry going toward Bainbridge Island with the buisness set commuting home in suits, ties, dresses, high heels, etc. We seldom saw anybody dressed like that let alone a whole ferryload of them! It was a moment of culture shock for sure, and some of them felt the same way, I could tell that I was indeed a novelty! When I left Ketchikan that day the rain was coming at us hard and sideways, we had about 8 inches of snow/slush, and the most important thing was to stay dry.

Great news that Buddy is feeling better. I'm sure the cold, wet weather isn't easy on his joints. Hopefully he will be more comfortable next spring. Possibly something on a feed store shelf formulated for horses and given in small doses with his applesauce would help with the winter aches and pains. I know it hurts you to see him hurting.

Santa Ynez, CA

my goat had a urinary blockage and after catherizing etc... a few times. I now only feed timothy hay pellets, salt blocks and by syringe I force 1 tsp of salt and water into his mouth once daily, he is not thrilled, but he takes it pretty well. Good luck

Issaquah, WA(Zone 7a)

Buddy Update:

Buddy has been off all meds and although a bit hobbly still on that one hind leg, it doesn't stop him from making his way all around their enclosure to enjoy the brief sun breaks, fresh air, fallen evergreen branches etc. He is back to his old self except for his former poise and full weight bearing on the hind limb, but that doesn't stop him from enjoying himself and a good skull rub. We are glad to have him still! He is the boss again and the others pay fast attention to which way his neck is swinging at feeding time :)

Thanks to you who helped me get those meds into him! Applesauce was the key.

Makj- i hear you. Our vet said 'no' on feeding the boys grain for that very urinary blockage reason, so they only get alfalfa or fresh green treats now.

Sue, RI(Zone 6a)

So happy to hear he is doing well! Ahhh, the skull rubs!! Sandy would always insist on them and if you didn't deliver, her head would be rubbing on you somewhere! Hope he continues to do well.
Sue ☺

Baker City, OR(Zone 5b)

I'm glad to hear that Buddy is back to his normal self. Keep the applesauce handy!

Santa Ynez, CA

Hey, I only feed Timothy hay or pellets, once in while some weeds, button weed or some mustard, but not much. and I still give salt to him 1 teaspoon in water daily, he takes it pretty well all things considered. good luck and to "happy goats":)

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