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1-800-548-2433 ($30 per case. Bills to you credit card) -- Emergency Care List - No Vet? Don't Fret!
FIELD FIRST AID FOR GOATS by Alice Beberness and Carolyn Eddy
Poisonous Plants:

When Things Go Wrong

Or how to prevent them from getting that far.

Get to know your veterinarian, especially first time owners of packgoats. They will fast become your best friend and advice counselors. Second best source is the Packgoat list online. This is a free list and very informative as goat packers help each other. (See link page to subscribe to the All About Packgoats list)

Goats are easy to care for. These are the signs of a healthy goat.
Eyes: clear and bright. Tearing or cloudy eyes probably mean a pinkeye infection.
Coat: smooth and shiny. A dull coat could indicate parasites. Fluffed up coat means the goat is not feeling well.
Appetite: good.
Attitude: alert. Hunched back and droopy tail mean something is wrong.

Goat Statistics
Body Temperature: 102.5° F-104° F
Pulse/heart rate: Adults - 70 to 80 beats per minute
Respiration rate: 15 to 30 breaths per minute
Rumin Sounds: 1 to 1.5 per minute

Making the Wether: Banding vs. Surgical Castration
Packgoats should be Castrated at 4-6 months, as there is less scarring to result in stricture of the urethra in wethers. Banding earlier as is common, leaves scarring in this area. Castration can be done with Ketamine, a quick acting anesthetic, with the kid up and active again very quickly. Also early castration at about 3 months keeps the growth plates open longer, resulting in a little leggier goat. Because of wethers tendency for urinary tract problems later in life, banding is not the best choice for a packgoat prospect.

[Our experiences with castration, is that no anesthetic is needed. Yes the goat will squeal, but every time anesthtic has been used on our goats we had complications from it, not the castration itself. The goat WILL forgive you quickly.] [The packgoat community is looking at later castration than is routinely done in "market" herds as a way to prevent urinary tract problems in their later years. No conclusive arguement can be made currently on this matter, but the "lifetime" health of goat living 12 to 17 years is far different than a "market" goat.]

Giving advice on frequency of worming is not easy, as too many factors are involved. The area you live in and the immediate environment your goats live in. Lots of animals in a small space may required worming every 2 months. While few animals on acres of land, may never need worming at all.

The best way to know your needs is to do -or have done- a fecal exam before you worm unless your animals are symptomatic. Do another exam 2 weeks later to see if the drug you used was effective. The tests don't cost much, or with training can be done by the owner.

Goats metabolize worm medications faster than other species. That is why they need a higher dose of the medications than horse, cattle and even sheep. Another good idea is to rotate the brand of wormer, so that you are not using the same one every two months (if frequent worming is indicated in your area) This is advised by many caprine trained Veterinarians.

Routine worming when unnecessary only leads to drug resistant parasites, animals with little or no natural resistance and spending lots of money. Your local veterinarian or breeder can best advise about general conditions that lead to or away from worming in your immediate area.
[for more information on this we suggest you start with ]

Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis Syndrome:
Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis Syndrome (CAE) is a viral disease. In young kids symptoms include a weakness in the rear legs, with no fever, or loss of appetite. However, the unused legs lose muscle strength and structure and the infected kids eventually die. In older goats, the same disease is seen as swollen joints, particularly the knees. The disease develops slowly, and after 2 or more years, the animal has difficulty using its legs properly. Infected goats have no fever, remain alert, and eat well. However, they do not recover from the arthritis. An inexpensive blood test can be used to diagnose CAE. The disease is spread from older infected goats to kids, perhaps by contact or through the milk from an infected doe to her kid. There are no corrective procedures or treatments. Isolating kids at birth and raising them on pasteurized goat milk is done to prevent the spread. It's a good idea to make sure a goat is CAE free before purchasing. However, the blood test only checks for antibodies, and it's possible that an animal is infected and not (yet) producing antibodies.
[for more information on this we suggest you start with ]

Caseous lymphadenitis (CL) is a contagious bacterial infection in goats (and sheep). Infection occurs through wounds caused by head butting, punctures, and shearing, as well as by oral ingestion of the exudate (pus) from an abscess that has ruptured. The lymph system filters the bacteria from the goat's body and pushes it outside into thick-walled encapsulated abscesses so that it can't harm the goat. Visible abscesses don't appear for months after infection as the lymph system slowly filters the bacteria. Abscesses can be internal, but there is much debate about frequency and correlation of occurence with external abscesses. Abscesses are attached to the back side of the skin rather than the goat's body. Like so many things about goats, we don't have sufficient research to give definitive answers.

Not all abscesses are caused by corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis, but those appearing at lymph-gland sites (often under the ear but not always) should be considered suspect and investigated. CL is an equal-opportunity infection -- no breed or sex is exempt. A burst CL abscess is virtually unmistakable; pus is cheesy, toothpaste-thick, whitish/yellowish -- and very infectious. A simple and inexpensive blood test can be performed to diagnose infection. There are several testing methods, but they are unreliable on animals under eight months of age; "false negatives" are high, particularly on goats showing no visible signs of infection. The most accurate testing is done on exudate (pus) taken from the abscess itself. [for more information on this we suggest you start with ]

Pack Goat Nutrition: [this is standard information, be sure to read the personnal note]
Pack goats should get 1.5% to 2% of their body weight in feed daily. This means that a 100 pound pack goat needs about 2 pounds of feed a day. A working pack goat needs about 2% to 3% of their body weight in feed per day. If a goat seems to be a little thin, add .5% to 1% more feed each day. When working, a pack goat needs extra fats and proteins which help their muscles work well. Fats and proteins come from the grain mixture. The grain mixture should consist of vitamins and minerals along with oil for fat - corn, oats and/or barley for protein.

Most packers agree that wethered pack goats should not be fed a continuous grain diet, nor should they be fed a continuous diet of alfalfa. Grass hay tends to be the best. Alfalfa and grain should not be overfed to packgoats.

Wethered goats are prone to urinary calculi (caused by too much phosphorus and not enough calcium). Urinary calculi in a pack goat can be life threatening. To avoid problems with urinary calculi, the grain mixture should be at least 2 or 3 parts calcium to 1 part phosphorus. A goat should have plenty of fresh, perferably clean, water daily. In areas that are deficient in the mineral selenium be sure that goats get a mineral mixture that contains selenium (a horse or cattle salt mixture or block works well). In any area a mineral salt lick is preferred, made for that area's deficiencies.

Personal Notes on nutrition:
We use calf manna as a treat on the trail and for their first year of growing in preference to grain as there is less chance of bloating with it. We also use alfalfa/timothy grass pellets and  soaked beat pulp pellets for added supplements in cold months. It is generally accepted within the packgoat community, that no wether should be grained after it's first year as this contributes to urinary calculi later in life, because we want our companions to have LONG and healthy life. [for more information on this we suggest that you start with a copy of "Diet for Wethers" by Carolyn Eddy.]

First-Aid Supplies
  • Baby wipes
  • Betadine/povidone swab sticks
  • Blood stop powder (may be put into plastic bottle with tip for easier application) use on nicks during hoof trimming
  • Blu-Kite spray or liquid, fungicidal/germicidal: foot rot, ringworm, surface wounds, abrasions, chafes, galls
  • Gauze 4x4s
  • Ice pack (chemical)
  • Latex (or other) disposable gloves
  • Leatherman tool or pocket knife
  • Needles for injectable medication, size 21 or 22 1 inch for injecting, size 18 or 20 for withdrawing thick meds from bottle
  • Razor, disposable
  • Scissors
  • Space blanket to retain heat
  • Stethoscope
  • Syringes, disposable, 60 and 20 cc for drenching, 3, 6, 12 cc for administering injectable medication
  • Tape, adhesive and duct
  • Thermometer, digital is quick and easy, otherwise a rectal one
  • Tongue blade, to squeeze ointments onto and apply with
  • Trimming shears for hooves
  • Vet Wrap
  • Weight tape and current, as up to date as possible, list of goats’ weights
  • Ampoule of epi with syringe, ANA kit or Primatene™ mist inhaler for anaphylaxis, IN YOUR POCKET OR FANNY PACK, assembled and ready for use!
  • Activated charcoal capsules (open for use)
  • Banamine Aspirin tablets
  • Epsom salts
  • Ground ginger
  • Baking Soda
  • Salt
  • Gatorade aid
  • Gas-x
  • Pepto-bismol tablets
  • Probios get
  • Drench syringe
  • Vet wrap
  • Leatherman or pocket knife
  • Space blanket
  • Raincoats for goats
  • Povodine swabs
  • Duct tape
  • Saline or clear eyes for eye lavage
  • Neosporin antibiotic ointment, one for ophthalmic us is good for both
  • Ice pack, chemical

Plant Poisoning Formula
Two tablespoons of salt to induce vomiting, then give activated charcoal or Toxiban™, and as much water 3-4 quarts as you can get into the animal. Then administer the following every four hours: 2-3 tablespoons of Epsom Salts, one teaspoon each ground ginger, baking soda and salt. Mix with pint of water and drench. Molasses or sugar is optional and may be used to make this more palatable but don’t carry molasses on the trail very long as it will mold rapidly.


1-877-packgoat (722-5462)

  307-701-GOAT (4628)

 614 Spring Creek Road
       Evanston, WY 82930


High Uinta Pack Goats has been providing the public with pack goat rental services and training programs since 1994. Our business originally started out as a hobby to provide a family member with debilitating health problems a means of enjoying the hiking and camping activities she loved.