A well stocked medical cabinet is a must have when it comes to owning goats. You never know when sickness will hit and what goat medications you will need to fix it. Most supplies have a pretty long shelf life- but even if they only last a year, it is better to have them on hand than to risk loosing your goats!
10 Goat Medications to Have on Hand
A Good Dewormer
Internal parasites will be the number one thing you will fight in your herd. You need a good plan in place and a good variety of wormers in your cabinet. In my cabinet of goat medications I have the following: Molly’s Herbal Wormer, Ivomec, Cydectin, Quest, and Safegaurd. In the garden I grow Wormwood. Some of these have sat unused for years since my go-to’s (herbal and Ivomec, if needed) work well. You don’t want to play around with parasites though- like I mentioned in my article on Anemia in Goats- parasites can cause a goat to go down hill very quickly- so be prepared.
A Good Antibiotic
We keep LA200 (Oxytetracycline) on hand at all times. We give it to new arrivals, especially if they have traveled far and are at risk for shipping fever. LA200 is also good for treating pink eye, naval infections in kids, uterine infections after kidding and most mastitis infections. There are other brands if Oxytetracycline such as Biomycin or Liquamycin to choose from as well. If you are dealing with other sicknesses you might need a different drug, but LA200 is a good all purpose goat medication to keep on hand.
If you have a goat of any age with scours you will want to have Electrolytes on hand to help keep them from getting dehydrated. Dehydration from scours can occur quickly- just as it can in humans with the stomach flu. Electrolytes are pretty inexpensive and the goats usually love the taste of it.
Just like with the electrolytes, Kao-Pectin is used to help prevent dehydration and dry up scours that are present in your goats. Please remember that this is NOT a cure. You still must treat what ever is causing the scours, but while you are making your diagnosis, treating or waiting for a vet, Kaopectate can help buy you some time.
The CD&T Vaccine (Toxoid) is one of the most universally suggested vaccine for goats. It protects against clostridium perfringins or Enterotoxemia, which is sometimes called “overeating disease”. The “T” part of the vaccine protects against Tetanus. I won’t go into all that causes and happens with Enterotoxemia and Tetanus right now, but it’s not something to take lightly. And prevention is key. You should give your pregnant goats the vaccine a month before kidding to pass on some of the immunity to her kids. Kids should also be vaccinated at 6 weeks and then again 3 weeks later. All goats should receive a booster yearly.
These Anti-Toxins are used if Enterotoxemia or Tetanus are already present in the goat. If they aren’t vaccinated and you see signs of either of these diseases you should administer the anti-toxin to provide immediate short term protection for your animal. Occurrences such as disbudding, castration, open wounds and sores make goats susceptible to tetanus (also called Lock Jaw and causes similar symptoms of the human disease of the same name). These diseases are very painful and fatal- so make sure you take preventative measures and have the anti-toxins on hand to give them a chance to pull through.
Activated Charcoal is used to absorb toxins when your goats get into toxic plants. The dose is about 1g/kg of body weight. You may never use it, but trust me you don’t want to be without it. A couple of years ago I went out to milk a doe in the morning and she didn’t come to the gate. I found her in the farm covered in green vomit looking so, so ill. Soon after all the goats- including 2 kids- started SCREAMING in pain and forcefully vomiting. It was awful. It turned out that family trimming in another pasture threw them some rhododendron branches thinking they’d like them. It was a scary few days hoping they’d pull through- giving them whatever I could find around town. I didn’t have any activated charcoal on hand and it was something that could have lessened their pain and symptoms much sooner.
Milk of Magnesia
This is another goat medication to keep on hand in case of toxicity reactions or other indigestion due to overeating or improper feeding. It soothes the rumen and helps them remove toxins from their body. Milk of Magnesia can also be used to treat constipation- so if diarrhea starts after dosing do not treat it. You want all of the toxins to be removed from the body.
Sulmet (or other antibacterials)
Like many other livestock, goats can be at risk for Coccidiosis. Coccidiosis is caused by a protozoan parasite. This parasite is always present and most goats build up an immunity to it as they age. Kids are at the highest risk so if you have a kid with diarrhea that you have diagnosed as Coccidiosis you will want to treat with an antibacterial such as Sulmet (what we use). You can also use Albon or Corid (I don’t recommend this one). These are usually labeled to be added to drinking water, but it is best used with goats by dosing undiluted straight into the mouth.
This is another one of those just in case goat medications that you should have on hand, because it can be the difference between life and death. If your goat collapses after receiving any injection you might be dealing with Anaphylactic shock and a dose of Epinephrine is the only thing that wills save them. Most of the time these reactions will occur the 2nd time you administer a certain medication. You may never have to use it, but it is pretty inexpensive and has the peace of mind it will give you is worth it. Note: This is only available with a prescription.
Keep all of these goat medications stocked in your medical cabinet (or refrigerator for some of the vaccines) and you will be well prepared when disease pops up or your curious goats get into something they shouldn’t! Stay tuned for the Must Have Nutritional Support Products to keep as well!