This post may contain affiliate links. Making a purchase with an affiliate link does not cost you any more, but I may receive a small commission to help keep this site running. Learn more here.
When I first began raising goats, I was not prepared for just how sensitive they can be health-wise. Goats can fall deathly ill very quickly and often require immediate treatment to save their lives. Often times, there’s not even time to consult a vet or get to the store. When keeping goats, it’s essential to keep what you need on hand to treat a wide variety of goat emergencies and illness.
On top of what you should keep on hand for daily health and well being (good hay, loose minerals, etc.), here is what I suggest you have on hand specifically for treating goats in situations of illness or injury.
Over the Counter Essentials
- Thermometer – This is the single most useful tool in any goat care arsenal. We use a Vick’s brand digital thermometer, as does our vet, and it’s always been reliable and accurate
- Gauze and Vet Wrap – I’m a firm believer that vet wrap is the duct tape of the medical world. You can do just about anything with that stuff
- Blood Stop Powder– Great to have on hand, especially when learning to trim hooves, as those nicks can be hard to get to stop bleeding. Knocked off scurs can also be tough to get the bleeding stopped.
- Copper Bolus – Supplementing copper is very important if you live in a copper deficient area, even if you offer a high quality loose mineral
- Betadine – We use this to dip the navels of newborns, treat minor abrasions, and to put on gloves or hands when we have to go into a goat to assist with delivery
- Blue Kote – This is a quick drying antiseptic and antifungal treatment that is great for treating minor wounds, ringworm, and disbudding sites on kids, damaged scurs, etc.
- Wormer – Goats carry a heavy parasite load and can easily become unbalanced, causing many of the most common goat ailments. While herbal wormers are great for regular maintenance, you will need to keep a good chemical wormer on hand to treat aggressively when needed. One of the most widely used wormers is Ivomec , an injectable cattle wormer that can be found at Tractor Supply and most feed stores. Most people use this orally for goats, and it treats both external and internal parasites – however it does not cover all worms. If possible, a fecal should always be run to ensure you’re administering the right wormer for what you need to treat
- Bloat Release – Bloat can bring a goat down fast and hard. It can be caused by eating bad grain or hay, something poisonous in their pasture, or any number of things. While mineral oil and other items can be used in a pinch, it’s good to have a real bloat release medication on hand
- C&D Antitoxin– Not to be confused with CD&T which is a vaccine, this is a big must-have. Because this is not generally carried retail, you need to order it online and have it on hand for emergencies. Most commonly used to treat Enterotoxaemia, it can also be utilized in many emergency situations where there is bloody stool, suspected poison ingestion or anything endangering the rumen.
- Pepto Bismol/Kaolin Pectin – This is good for treating diarrhea, or scours, as quickly as possible. We purchased a gallon jug of Kaolin Pectin at the feed store to keep on hand as it’s more cost effective that way, and lasts forever.
- Probiotics– Whenever your goat has an issue that involves the rumen, it’s best to treat with probiotics to make sure to keep everything functioning normally. If you are using any kind of antibiotic treatment, gut flora needs to be replenished with probiotics
- Vitamin B Complex – Good for boosting appetite and general support for sick goats. You can get this in an oral form or injectable.
- Electrolytes – To treat dehydration. Also good to have on hand to add to water buckets when outside temps are extremely high or low, or when a goat has a fever and needs extra hydration
- Coccidiosis Medication – Coccidiosis is most common in younger goats, but it can occur at any time. Albon, Sulmet and Di-Methox are the best treatments to have on hand. Baycox (Toltrazuril) has also become a popular medication as well, as it can be used as a 1-2 dose treatment. Corrid can be used as well, but only if you don’t have another option, as often it’s not effective, and strips vitamin B.
- Various Sized Syringes and Needles – Goat medications can be both oral and injectable, and you want to be prepared for all dosages. We keep 1ml, 3ml, 6ml and 12 ml syringes, and 20 gauge and 22 gauge needles on hand.
- Power Punch or Nutri-Drench – These products help give a goat the energy and nutrients they need to help support them when they are sick or weak
- Activated Charcoal – To treat poisoning
- Antibiotics – The overuse of antibiotics is a huge concern these days as it’s been resulting in serious antibiotic resistant strains of disease. Antibiotics should be kept on hands for emergencies, but make sure you are educated in knowing when and how they should be used. We keep three different types of antibiotics on hand – Penicillin, Oxcytetracyclin (LA-200) and Tylosin (Tylan 200) as different antibiotics are better for other things, and often times when consulting with the vet they will ask you what you have on hand to treat with. Once again, I can’t stress enough how important it is to consult with a knowledgeable vet before treating with antibiotics if possible, and educating yourself properly on their use for when a vet consult isn’t possible.
Vet Rx Medications
- BoSe – This is an injectable selenium supplement, which is fantastic to have on hand , especially if you are in a selenium deficient area.
- Epinephrine – For allergic reactions to injections.
- Thiamine – This Vitamin B1 injectable is used mainly to treat goat Polio and Listeriosis.
- Banamine – I consider this a MUST HAVE. This is a pain reliever and fever reducer that is essential to have on hand in a variety of emergency situations.
I am working hard to become more well versed in the area of herbal medicine for our herd. So far these are the treatments we’ve used and I know are effective
- Molly’s Herbals – Immune ST – This is a great immune system support when you have a goat who is fighting a virus or needs supportive care
- Molly’s Herbals – Preg Tonic – We give this to our goats in the last month of their gestation as a daily supplement
- Raw Apple Cider Vinegar – Raw apple cider vinegar with the mother is fantastic for supporting general goat health, and is thought to help prevent urinary calculi in males goats. We add this to their drinking water daily
- Slippery Elm Bark – Fantastic to use in goats who are scouring or having digestive upsets
- Devil’s Claw – an herbal supplement used primarily for joint support, but has a lot of vitamin c and anti inflammatory properties that are good for supportive care of a sick goat
These are the goat specific items to have on hand for treating goats in emergency situations. There are many other items you should have for maintaining the daily health and well-being of your herd. Being well prepared can mean the difference between life and death for your goats.