Goat Polio

totesmcgoats

Overrun with beasties
Joined
Sep 25, 2015
Messages
31
Reaction score
55
Points
79
Location
Cincinnati
Hey herd,

I just took my ND doe (7 months old) to the vet for what appears to be goat polio. He was not optimistic about her outcome, and she's staying over night as the temps here are dropping to -5F. He gave her thiamine and an antibiotic, but told me not to get my hopes up.

I was reading up on polio, but I want to tap in to the wisdom here and see what kind of preventative measures I should be taking to keep this from happening again. I understand that this is seen primarily in winter when grain consumption increases as roughage decreases. I've been giving grain in the morning and hay all day as they eat it down. But what else? What else should I be doing/not doing?

Thanks all. Keep my little lady in your thoughts.
 

Goat Whisperer

Herd Master
Joined
Dec 19, 2013
Messages
4,832
Reaction score
6,530
Points
443
Location
North Carolina
It depends on how far it has progressed.

Listeria and polio are difficult to distinguish. Often times, you treat for both and hope something works.

Over the years we have pulled 2 goats through listeria. After the first goat, we said we would never make a goat go through that ever again, that they would be put down. However the second doe (years after the first doe) didn’t have it as bad.

The first doe was really bad off. It started with a slight head tilt and 3 days later she was essentially paralyzed. The hard thing was the the vet didn’t think it was listeria… we ended up changing to another vet for that case…

It took 3 weeks of intensive care. SBC & I took turns through the night to monitor her. Drenching with water almost constantly. Got enough food down her to survive. She was getting several injections daily with Pen G, thiamine, & dex. Oral drenches of probiotics and nutri drench. Fresh leaves picked off trees. Even tried to do a cud swap. Like I said, this doe was paralyzed for some time. Had we hit her hard with the treatment immediately she probably would have rebounded much earlier. She lived, but still had a little neurological damage. That was a really rough time for everyone involved. It took a long time before she could walk normal, go up and down little hills, she was just a mess. But she did recover. But this doe had a will to live. She never gave up, which is why we kept fighting instead of putting her down.

The second doe- we caught it quickly. Gave thiamine in the AM and she showed no improvement that evening, so gave a whopping dose of Pen G and dex. She had a few tough days, almost went “down”, but made it through without an issue, because we treated her aggressively.

When dealing with this type of issue, the dexamethasone plays a big role. Many give banamine instead, but I am a firm believer in the dex. You have a 50% chance of the goat living, and I am thankful that we were able to save both. Hoping your girl can make it!

I do want to add, that with both cases we worked with our vets through the whole process. You do not want to just throw these meds at a goat without a reason. The dex and thiamine are RX anyway. The dex is what really saves their life by keeping the inflammation off the brain. The Pen G needs to be given in high doses, high enough to cross the blood brain barrier.

We think that both does got sick from musty hay that dropped from their hay feeder and had sat on the ground- causing it to get nasty.
 

OneFineAcre

Herd Master
Joined
Dec 28, 2012
Messages
8,977
Reaction score
9,747
Points
573
Location
Zebulon, NC
I understand that this is seen primarily in winter when grain consumption increases as roughage decreases. I've been giving grain in the morning and hay all day as they eat it down. But what else? What else should I be doing/not doing?

Thanks all. Keep my little lady in your thoughts.
Too much grain decreases the PH in the rumen which suppresses thiamine production which can cause polio.
So, the best way to prevent it is to not drastically increase grain in the winter.
You can add calories and roughage by adding alfalfa pellets and shredded beat pulp to their diet.
Free choice hay, and a good goat mineral.
That's the best way to avoid goat polio.
 

Goat Whisperer

Herd Master
Joined
Dec 19, 2013
Messages
4,832
Reaction score
6,530
Points
443
Location
North Carolina
Too much grain decreases the PH in the rumen which suppresses thiamine production which can cause polio.
So, the best way to prevent it is to not drastically increase grain in the winter.
You can add calories and roughage by adding alfalfa pellets and shredded beat pulp to their diet.
Free choice hay, and a good goat mineral.
That's the best way to avoid goat polio.
That is true, but if these are Nigerians than they probably aren’t getting much feed. That makes me wonder if she was already suppressed?
 

Roving Jacobs

Seeing Spots
Joined
Jul 27, 2012
Messages
510
Reaction score
723
Points
213
Location
NE OH
I've seen a couple of cases of polio in sheep caused by too much sulfur. A particular farm I know had lots of sulfur in their water and fed a high sulfur mineral and kept having sheep down with polio until they changed minerals.
 

babsbag

Herd Master
Joined
May 10, 2010
Messages
7,840
Reaction score
9,194
Points
583
Location
Anderson, CA
I have seen many cases of polio on FB the last few weeks and I believe that people are feeding extra grain to keep the goats warm. That can be a recipe for trouble. Since I only grain on the milk stand my does aren't getting any grain right now at all. But it isn't cold here either.
 

totesmcgoats

Overrun with beasties
Joined
Sep 25, 2015
Messages
31
Reaction score
55
Points
79
Location
Cincinnati
Hi Everybody,

Miss Winnie was euthanized this morning. After talking with the vet this morning he said her condition had deteriorated through the night and he recommend ending her suffering. I'm pretty devastated today.

I don't feel like I've drastically increased grain over the winter, but I did notice that the goats had gotten in to the feed a few weeks ago. One of my (human) kids forgot to lock the gate. It didn't look at the time that a lot was missing, but I'm wondering if it was enough to cause this. She was the only young one we had, and I was reading that young goats are particularly susceptible.

I put out more mineral today. The goats are on goat chow from Tractor Supply and I feed them a timothy/orchard grass blend I get from another farm that has goats and horses. We have a random 5 acre lot in a city, so finding quality hay is a bit of a game we play. Thanks for all the advice.
 

Latest posts

Top