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Common Goat Diseases, Symptoms, and Treatment: Check How this Guide Helps Goat Farmers

Generally, goats are resistant to many diseases. However, when we raise more animals in one place, due to insufficient pasture facilities lead to the spread of many diseases. These diseases cause reduced production potential and more mortality, which in turn causes economic losses to the farmers. Hence identification of diseases in goats and their prevention is most important.

Common Goat Diseases, Symptoms, and Treatment
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Common Goat diseases, symptoms, and treatment

What are the bacterial diseases of goats?


Anthrax is a peracute disease caused by the bacteria Bacillus anthracis, the spores of which can remain in the soil for up to 50 years and up to 200 years in animal bones that have died of anthrax. Anthrax occurs naturally in wild and domestic hoofed animals, especially cattle, sheep, goats, camels, and antelopes. There are three types of anthrax infection: 

  • cutaneous (skin infection), 
  • inhalation (infection in the lungs) and 
  • gastrointestinal (infection in the stomach and intestine). 
Haemorrhagic Septicemia

Haemorrhagic Septicaemia (HS) is a major fatal disease of cattle and buffaloes caused by Pasteurella multocida bacteria. This bacterial disease usually occurs during monsoons in cattle and buffaloes. The mortality rate, i.e., the number of deaths in a given area or period or from a particular cause, is as high as 80 %. Bacteria responsible for this disease can survive longer in humid and waterlogged conditions.


Brucellosis is a bacterial disease mainly infected in cattle, swine, goats, sheep, and dogs, caused by various Brucella species. This disease yields abortion at approximately the fourth month of pregnancy. Arthritis and orchitis may also occur due to this disease. Brucellosis is spread among animals by contact with the fetus, fetal fluids, placenta, and vaginal discharge from infected animals.


Enterotoxaemia is a severe bacterial disease for goats of all ages. This disease is also called overeating or pulpy kidney disease. Clostridium perfringens Type D is responsible for this disease. This bacterium is normally found in fewer numbers in the gastrointestinal tract as part of the normal microflora of all goats.

Under specific conditions, these bacteria can rapidly increase their number in the animal’s intestine and produce large quantities of a toxin called Epsilon, the most significant toxin that causes this disease. This toxin can cause damage to the intestine as well as other organs in goats. This toxin can cause death, particularly in non-vaccinated animals or newborn goats.


Pneumonia is a bacterial disease that affects the inflammation of bronchioles, usually accompanied by the inflammation of the pulmonary parenchyma. The bacteria responsible for pneumonia in goats are Mannheimia haemolytica and Pasteurella motocida. Mammals normally have these infectious bacteria in their lungs. These bacteria will cause respiratory infections by inflaming the throat and lungs. There are two types of pneumonia in goats:

  • ovine progressive pneumonia (OPPV)
  • caprine arthritis encephalitis (CAEV)

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Goat Shelter
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Foot rot is a very contagious bacterial disease among goats. Footrot in all goat environments is caused by a bacterial infection of two organisms, Dichelobacter nodosus, and Fusobacterium necrophorum. Fusobacterium necrophorum. 

These bacteria will produce an enzyme that dissolves the hoof horn and leads to the undermining of the sole; the foul smell, the severe lameness, and the abnormal hoof growth are the signs in the animals affected by this disease. Because of the pain in hoofs due to this disease, the animals will die from starvation or become more susceptible to other diseases.


Mastitis is a bacterial disease that causes mammary gland inflammation (udder), mainly affecting the milk produced by goats. It frequently occurs in dairy and meat goats raised under intensive and semi-intensive management practices. It decreases the quantity and quality of the goat’s milk and drastically reduces the weight of lambs and meat kids.

What are the goat diseases caused by a virus?

Peste Des Petits Ruminants (PPR)

Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR), also called goat plague. It is a most contagious animal disease affecting small ruminants. This disease can kill infected animals irrespective of the percentage of infection, anywhere from 30 to 70 percent. PPR is considered one of the key constraints in augmenting the productivity of small ruminants. The disease is clinically manifested by pyrexia, gastroenteritis, diarrhea, nasal discharges, necrotizing and erosive stomatitis, and bronchopneumonia. 

Foot and Mouth Disease

Foot-and-mouth disease is a contagious disease of livestock, mainly buffalo, sheep, and goats. Foot-and-mouth disease is caused by the FMD virus, a member of the family genus Aphthovirus and Picornaviridae, affecting all the cloven-footed animals. FMD virus exists as seven distinct serotypes viz., O, A, C, Asia 1, Southern African territory 1(SAT1), SAT2, and SAT3.

Goat pox

Goat pox is a viral disease of goats that causes fever, generalized papules or nodules, internal lesions in the lungs, and death. Capripoxvirus causes this goat pox disease in goats. Respiratory secretions spread goat pox viruses between infected animals and healthy animals through direct contact or by fomites. The viruses are found in goat saliva, secretions from the nose or eyes, urine, and milk.

What are common diseases in goats caused by endoparasites?

Endo-parasitic diseases
Fluke infection

This disease is caused by liver flukes called Fasciola hepatica and F. gigantica, which infect a wide range of animals and production livestock, including goats. These flatworm parasites are globally distributed and lowered on-farm productivity in the dairy industry. This infection yields lowered fertility rates and reduced production of meat, wool, and milk. Liver flukes are usually affected more in sheep and cattle, which live in permanent or semi-permanent water or marshy lands. 


Goats become infected when they eat the grass containing tapeworm larvae. Once this larva goes inside the animal, it takes six to seven weeks for the larvae to develop and convert into adult tapeworms. The tapeworm segments can be seen in the dung of the goats. For appearance, they look like white grain. Adult worms, which often grow up to a meter or even more in length, can be expelled and passed into the environment.

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Goat Feeding
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Nematodes, also called Roundworms, are by far the most important endoparasites of the goat. Most of these worms live in the stomach and gut but also include lungworms that complete their life cycle in the respiratory tract. Roundworms are responsible for significant global losses to the livestock industry, with heavy infections in grazing animals that can lead to poor productivity, ill health, and death.

The gut nematodes which typically infect goats are similar to those that will cause disease in sheep and other small ruminants. Haemonchus contortus, Teladorsagia, Trichostrongyles, Nematodirus, Oesophagostomum, and Cooperia are some examples of roundworms.


Coccidiosis is an infection of the a common protozoan Eimeria, a coccidian parasite. Twelve different kinds of these parasites affect goats, but only E. arloingi and E. ninakohlyakimovae cause problems. Coccidiosis occurs when lambs are restricted in feedlots and goats after giving birth. It results in severe bleeding and impaired water resorption, leading to diarrhea, dehydration, and death.

This Eimeria growth partially takes place in the intestinal cells. During their growth, they destroy large numbers of intestinal cells. The Eimeria then produce eggs (oocysts), which pass in feces. When the sporulated oocysts enter the animal body through food, “spores” are released and enter intestinal cells, and the cycle repeats. 

Which diseases are caused due to Ectoparasitic?

Ecto-parasitic infestation:
Tick-borne fever

Tick-borne fever is a severe acute infectious disease caused by ticks in ruminants in temperate areas of Europe. Ixodes ricinus ticks cause the disease in sheep and cattle, but goats and deer are also susceptible. An infected Ixodes ricinus tick spreads Tick-borne diseases are those spread by the bite. These Ticks transmit viruses like tick-borne encephalitis, Thogoto virus, bacteria like Rickettsiales, Borrelia, Francisella, and protozoa like Babesia and Theileria to small ruminants, some of which cause zoonotic diseases.

 Lice itching

Goat lice are host specific and can be seen on goats and their close relatives, such as sheep. Lice are divided into two main categories: the Anoplura, also called sucking lice, and Mallophaga also called chewing or biting lice. Biting lice have chewing mouthparts and eat particles of hair, scabs, and skin exudations. Goat lice are transmitted from goat to goat by contact. 

What are the signs and symptoms of anthrax in animals?

Anthrax-infected animals have difficulty breathing, tremble, may stagger, and finally collapse and die within a few hours. Sometimes animals may have a fever and a period of excitement followed by staggering, depression, unconsciousness, difficulty breathing, seizures, and death.

Acute anthrax manifests itself in high fevers (up to 41.667°C), deepening of respiration, followed by depression, excitement, increased heart rate, incoordination, cessation of rumination, discolored milk, bloody discharges, respiratory distress, convulsions, reduction in milk production, abortion, and death within 48 to 72 hours.

How do you treat anthrax in goats?

Because the course of the disease is very rapid, immediate administration of appropriate antibiotics with the correct dosage is essential. Most naturally occurring anthrax strains are susceptible to penicillins, and penicillins have been considered the first line of defense against anthrax. Doxycycline is considered to be a suitable alternative. When natural anthrax affects large animals like cattle, sheep, goats, swine, and horses, antibiotics of choice include penicillin and oxytetracycline. Amoxicillin, doxycycline, and enrofloxacin have been suggested for small animals.

What are the symptoms of haemorrhagic Septicaemia?

Generally, this disease progression in goats is divided into three phases. 

  • Phase one is characterized by high fever; the temperature may go around 40–41°C, poor appetite, and depression. 
  • Phase two is increased respiration rate (40–50/minute), labored breathing, the animal produces a grunting sound, clear nasal discharge, and salivation 
  • Finally, there is typically recumbency, continued acute respiratory distress, and terminal Septicaemia in phase three.

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Goat Farming
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What is the treatment of hemorrhagic septicemia? 

Treatment usually won’t affect unless treated very early stage, that is, during the stage when fever is detected. Drugs used to treat affected goats from hemorrhagic septicemia include trimethoprim/ sulfamethoxazole, oxytetracycline, a combination of penicillin and sulphaquinoxaline, or streptomycin.

What are the symptoms in goats infected by brucellosis?

Melitensis bacteria can brucellosis in goats. This disease can cause abortion, retained placenta, swelling of the testicles, Loss of appetite or upset stomach, and stomach pain. Abortions occur during the fourth month of pregnancy in goats. In goats, an inflammation of breast tissue and lameness may be seen. 

How do you treat brucellosis in goats?

Diagnosis to find out this brucellosis is made by bacteriologic examination of milk or by serum agglutination or an aborted fetus test. The slaughter of the herd can eliminate the disease. It is recommended to use doxycycline 100 mg twice a day for 45 days, plus streptomycin one gram daily for 15 days or rifampicin at 15mg/kg/day (600-900mg) for 45 days for the affected goats.

Also, using Regimen F (LA-OTC 25 mg/kg) along with ST 20 mg/kg every two days for two weeks was the most practical, effective, and least expensive regimen for eliminating Brucella in the affected goats.

How to get confirmation if my goat has pneumonia?

Signs of pneumonia in goats include a moist, painful cough, difficulty in breathing, runny nose and eyes, less appetite, and depression. However, not all coughing or runny noses are caused by pneumonia. The first step when you notice some pneumonia symptoms in the goats is to take a temperature. These pneumonia-affected goats suffer from a high fever; temperature may go around 40–41°C.

How do you treat pneumonia in goats?

Ceftiofur is an antibiotic to treat caprine pneumonia-affected goats. The daily dosage is 0.5 to 1.0 mg/lb body weight injected intramuscularly. Also, it is recommended to use amoxicillin, ampicillin, oxytetracycline, procaine penicillin, erythromycin, tylosin, enrofloxacin, and new molecules such as tulathromycin and florfenicol are antibiotics widely used in the treatment of pneumonia in goats.

How do I know if my goat has foot rot?

The common lesion in the footrot is a moist, raw skin infection between the toes that becomes painful. Inflammation between the toes usually affects one foot. However, footrot may occur in one or more feet, causing severe lameness. The foot will look very pink to red; the skin between the toes will be slimy and foul-smelling. Footrot results in reduced weight gain, decreased milk, lameness, and wool production, and decreased reproductive capabilities, as severely infected animals are reluctant to move to feed.

How do you treat foot rot in goats?

It is suggested goats with chronic footrot treat them with antibiotics. Penicillin, streptomycin, and tetracycline have all been proven effective at treating foot rot. If the goats with chronic foot rot do not clear up with antibiotic treatment, Foot bathing in formalin or zinc sulfate with surfactant is an option.

What are the symptoms of foot and mouth disease in animals?

Clinical signs include the affected goats will suffer from fever, Shivering or raised temperature, less appetite, saliva falling from the mouth, severe depression, and a large drop in milk yield in dairy animals. In some cases, blisters in the mouth, nostrils, and teats can also be seen on the feet. These blisters in the mouth are often not clearly visible until they have ruptured on the skin. 

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Goat Breeds
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How do you treat foot and mouth disease in goats?

There is no specific treatment for FMD. Infected animals were treated using flunixin meglumine, mild disinfectants, and antibiotics. FMD has traditionally been managed by using natural soda ash solution to wash the lesions.

The property and the surrounding properties will be quarantined, inspected, and disinfected as necessary. In and out movements of remaining animals and animals on surrounding properties will be restricted until they are declared disease free. Some restrictions on re-introducing animals to affected properties may be restricted for up to 12 months.

What does goat pox look like?

Goat skin Pox is red papules that grow together with central, slightly depressed, pale (necrotic) areas. The main symptoms are fever, paralysis, and skin lesions in goats. The skin lesions begin with small pimples, which may increase their size and release a pus-like discharge. In some cases, affected animals may abort their lambs or develop pneumonia, and other respiratory problems can also be seen.

How do you treat pox in goats?

There is no specific treatment to cure goat pox, but vaccines are available to control goat pox in disease-affected areas. Vaccines available today produce no local reaction and are highly immunogenic with a PD50 of less than 5 TCID50. In addition, most live vaccines against goat pox produce lifelong immunity. In some areas, both live attenuated and inactivated vaccines are useful in the prevention and control of goat pox, but inactivated vaccines provide only short-term immunity.

What are the symptoms of liver flukes in goats?

Clinical signs of infection include anemia, progressive weight loss, and sudden death. Fluke is typically seen from September until the end of April. Untreated infections may be prolonged for up to 25–30 years, the lifespan of the parasite. Typical symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhea, indigestion, or constipation. In severe cases, abdominal pain, nausea, and diarrhea can also occur.

What is the best treatment for liver fluke?

It’s possible to put an end to liver flukes completely. Nilzan Bolus is most effective against liver fluke in cattle, and unlike most flukicides, it has no withdrawal period, so it is the treatment of choice for dairy cattle. Valbazen sheep, along with Ranox, are also an effective drug to control liver flukes in goats. Treatment is by use of flukicide drenches—anthelmintics effective against liver fluke. Control is by combining strategic treatment with flukicides and grazing management.

What does tapeworm look like in goats?

Tapeworms can be seen in the faeces of the goats. For appearance, they look like a white grain- Adult worms often grow up to a meter and, even more in length, can be expelled and passed in the environment. All important species affecting goats require pasture mites. ThTapeworm infection symptoms are similar to worm infections, like diarrhea, emaciation, pot belly, and weight loss. In sufficient numbers, tapeworms can cause death by obstructing the bowel

What do you give a goat for tapeworms?

Tapeworms-affected goats are usually treated with a medicine taken by mouth. To treat tapeworms-affected goats, the benzimidazole class of dewormer is the only effective medicine. While a single dose of albendazole will not kill all the tapeworms, fenbendazole must be given three days in a row to kill the tapeworms and save the goats from them. These medications paralyze the tapeworms, which let go of the intestine, dissolve, pass from your body with bowel movements, and are discharged from the body along with faeces.

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Goat Farm
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What do roundworms look like in goats?

Symptoms of roundworms in goats are weight loss, a rough hair coat, and sometimes, a bottle jaw, which is swelling under the jaw from the jawbone to the chin. Other roundworm infections in goats do not cause anemia but may cause a goat to be underweight and have a rough hair coat, as well as diarrhea.

How do you get rid of roundworms in goats?

There are three classes of drugs that are used to treat internal parasites like roundworms in goats:

  • Benzimidazoles- Albendazole, Oxybendazole, Fenbendazole and Thiabendazole.
  • Nicotinics – Pyrantel, Moratel, and Levamisole.
  • MacrolyticLactones– Moxidectin, Ivermectin, and Doramectin.

How do I know if my goat has coccidiosis?

Clinical coccidiosis in goats is a most serious condition requiring immediate treatment to save lives. Symptoms include dirty tails from diarrhea, reduced feed intake, rough coats, weakness, and anemia. More severe acute cases show diarrhea with or without blood presence, often with blood, tenesmus, signs of abdominal pain, lethargy, weakness, recumbency, and death.

What do you give a goat for coccidiosis?

Many choices are available depending on the situation to treat coccidiosis-affected goats, Feeds containing decoquinate & monensin are available commercially to prevent coccidiosis in non-lactating goats. Drench with an oral dose of amprolium solution to treat all adult goats, yearlings, and especially kids. And also alternatively, adding amprolium to their drinking water. During treatment, ensure they do not have access to any other water source.

What can you use on goats for ticks and lice?

Amitraz I.P.(Vet) 125 mg is recommended to prevent and control ectoparasitic infestations like Ticks, Mange mites, and lice in Cattle, Camel, Sheep, and Goats. For goats, mix 4 ml of Amitraz liquid in water and apply or spray the solution all over the affected goat bodies.

The above diseases are unavoidable but can prevent up to some extent by providing a clean environment for the animals, regular medical checks, and vaccination as prevention is better than cure.


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