Upper respiratory infections afflict goats. These common infections can cause serious illness or even death if left untreated. They're most dangerous to kids who haven't had the chance to develop their immune systems. It's important to recognize these infections and have a veterinarian treat them.
Common symptoms in upper respiratory infections include nasal discharge, sneezing, coughing, elevated temperature and loss of appetite. The discharge may affect one or both nostrils and the goat's nasal passages may be blocked. The goat may also have difficulty breathing.
Nasal tumors can cause sinus infections. The enzootic nasal tumor (ENT) virus causes tumors to form in the goat's nose. Symptoms include nasal discharge, sneezing, weight loss, lack of appetite, being noisy, bad breath, deformed face, labored breathing and neurological signs.
Goats between the ages of 2 and 4 are mostly like to have this virus. Because it spreads between goats, it's important to isolate the sick goats and euthanize them and market their kids.
Nasal bots or nose bots can cause an upper respiratory infection. Flies called Oestrus ovis lay their eggs outside a goat's nose. When the parasitic fly larvae hatch, they migrate into the nose and up into the sinuses. This can take weeks or months to happen. Eventually the larva falls out and pupates in the soil. It becomes a fly and the whole cycle begins again. Your veterinarian can recommend a good internal parasite dewormer to rid your goats of these bots.
Although pneumonia is technically a lower respiratory infection, many times it begins with bacteria and viruses in the upper respiratory system. Pneumonia can often mimic upper respiratory infections, but in many cases can be worse. Often the first symptom is dullness -- your goat will appear less active and alert than usual. Pneumonia frequently occurs after stress such as shipping animals, overcrowded conditions, unsanitary conditions, dust, fluctuating temperatures and high humidity. The goat will have clear or whitish nasal discharge, high fever (104 to 106 F), coughing, lack of appetite, frothing at the mouth and nose, and discharge at the eyes.
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