What lies below is a copy and paste-able emergency sheet covering basic issues to keep in a first aid kit for goats, (it does include remedies not listed in the minimalist first aid kit list that you may want to add to your own kit at your discretion). It also includes basic information for yourself in case of emergencies where both you and the goat are unresponsive! This document assumes you are hell and gone from the trail head and professional veterinary assistance, therefore it includes instructions for emergency treatments that are, in less remote areas, probably best done by a vet, (if you can find one that works on goats!).
ADDRESS/LICENSE PLATE #:
EMERGENCY CONTACT (HUMAN):
EMERGENCY CONTACT (VETERINARY):
IMPORTANT MEDICAL INFORMATION: example – diabetic
NORMAL TEMPERATURE: 103F NORMAL HEART RATE: 70-135 beats/min NORMAL BREATHING RATE: 12-15 breaths/min
BLOAT SYMPTOMS/TREATMENT: Symptoms – distension of the left side of the goat from gas trapped in the rumen, obvious discomfort, hard to get goat to get up. Treatment – decrease grain intake (gassy bloat), determine if goat has been eating large amounts of unusual weeds (frothy bloat). Drench with a quarter pint cooking oil or mineral oil and walk goat to get gas out. Then a tablespoon of baking soda to help buffer rumen. If goat is down and in severe distress, being barely able to breathe or bleat, make a small incision with a sharp sterile knife four fingers width behind the bottom of the ribs on the left side of the goat as it lies. Insert blade until gas escapes, twist slightly, and remove. Once gas has escaped, bandage and call veterinarian for follow up treatment.
MILD POISONING SYMPTOMS/TREATMENT: Symptoms – slobbering, mild diarrhea, dilated pupils, hyper excitability, muscle tremors, staggering or other neurological signs depending on type of poison. Treatment – Dose orally with activated carbon at 1-3ml of a slurry made from activated carbon and water per kilogram of body weight. Follow with dose of milk of magnesia at 15cc per 50lb. Call vet.
DANGEROUS POISONING SYMPTOMS/TREATMENT: Symptoms – vomiting, visibly in pain, cardiac arrhythmia, abnormally high or low heart rate , unable to rise, diarrhea with dehydration, staggering or other neurological signs depending on type of poison. Treatment – Dose with activated carbon at 1-3ml of a slurry made from activated carbon and water per kilogram of body weight. Follow with dose of milk of magnesia at 15cc per 50lb. Provide pain killer (ex: aspirin at 100mg/kg oral). Provide ample clean water. Call vet.
HYPOTHERMIA SYMPTOMS/TREATMENT: Symptoms – Body temperature below 100F (below 98F is life threatening), goat is fully “fluffed up” and shivering, appears lethargic, standing with back humped, goat getting very wet in cold weather is major risk factor. Treatment – Warm and dry goat. Put goat in sleeping bag with a human until goat warms up. Cover goat’s horns to decrease heat loss as much as possible. Use stones heated in fire and wrapped in panniers placed around goat to warm it, (do not warm goat up extremely quickly).
DEHYDRATION TEST: Pinch goat’s skin. If the skin snaps back, the goat is not dehydrated. If the skin stays tented the goat is dehydrated.
SHOCK TREATMENT IN GOATS: Symptoms – cool extremities, lethargy, muscle weakness, glassy eyed, breathing hard, pale mucous membranes. Treatment – Keep goat warm by getting it in a sleeping bag, stop blood loss immediately, elevate hind end and hind legs if goat is lying down (keeps blood at the heart and brain), try to get it to sit on its sternum, but if lying on one side, after an hour flip it over to the other side. A downed goat is a dead goat if left laying on one side too long. Keep goat company and prevent further stress.
BROKEN LEGS: Symptoms – Goat puts no weight on leg or very little, bone may be visible protruding through skin. Treatment – Do not attempt to put bone back inside! Wrap leg with some type of soft cloth, then tape a stick or other rigid object to the outside of the soft wrap and secure it with duct tape or vet wrap. When wrapping the leg, wrap all the way to the hoof to prevent swelling below the wrap. You should be able to insert your finger, very snuggly, into the bandaged leg. Too tight and no blood flow, too loose and no immobilization. Watch for swelling and call vet.
HEAT STRESS: Symptoms – panting with tongue hanging out and rapid breathing. Treatment – Seek out shade, let goat lie down, provide water & electrolytes/gatoraid. Take off pack, put a damp rag around the base of the horns and on the back.
BROKEN HORN: Symptoms – some or all of horn is broken off, goat in obvious pain, blood everywhere. Treatment – horn is only broken on the end with little or no bleeding, cut off the broken piece if it’s still attached, apply blood stop powder and wrap the end of the horn if needed. If the horn has been broken lower and there is heavy bleeding, apply pressure to the horn stump until the bleeding stops. If you cant stop the bleeding by pressure to the stump, find the blood vessel below the inside corner of the goats eye (You may have to move your finger around a bit to feel for this blood vessel.) apply pressure for five minutes, then gently release the pressure and reapply pressure again if needed. Once the bleeding has stopped, apply blood stop powder to encourage better clotting and wrap. Another way to deal with a broken horn is you can cauterize the broken end. If camping, any metal item that can be heated red hot and applied to the break in the horn. Call vet.
SUSPECTED FOOT PUNCTURE/SORE: Apply disinfectant to gauze pad. Leave pad on the foot and wrap the foot in vet wrap and duct tape to make a “bootie”. Soak the punctured foot in Epsom Salts once you get home or reach your camp site. Soak the foot twice a day for a couple of days until the hole heals over.
CACTUS THORNS: Symptoms – look for thorns on goat’s legs daily or if goat turns up lame. Treatment – if found, use tweezers to yank thorns out.
SADDLE SORES: Symptoms – angry red patch of skin or raised area of skin behind goats elbow or on goat’s back where saddle and straps touch goat. Treatment – make sure goat is clean and saddle fits to avoid sores. If sores are found, place a clean soft cloth or similar padding over goat to prevent the sore from getting worse before you get home. Once home the goat needs to go on vacation till that sore heals.