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Important! Please Read This Notice!
All information provided in these articles is based either on personal experience or information provided by others whose treatments and practices have been discussed fully with a vet for accuracy and effectiveness before passing them on to readers.
In all cases, it is your responsibility to obtain veterinary services and advice before using any of the information provided in these articles. We are not veterinarians. Neither nor any of the contributors to this website will be held responsible for the use of any information contained herein.
PLEASE keep in mind, just because there is a DVM after the name does not mean they have the proper answers for goat owners 'Caveat emptor'- You need to find a responsible GOAT Vet


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Goat Birth Defects Print E-mail
Written by Administrator-GL   
Wednesday, 30 May 2007
Article Index
Goat Birth Defects
Page 2


Caused by iodine deficiency in the dam.

Kid is normal at birth but suddenly develops an onset of muscular weakness or ataxia at 3 to 10 days of age. Seemingly it happens in late kidding seasons, but this is only a supposition. The kids do not seem to be able to suckle but they can swallow, they are also in a depressed state.

Monkey Faced Lamb Syndrome

I think this one has me particularly involved as one of my new list members had this happen to her first angora birth this season, the twin was normal. A very unusual defect as it has various anomalies and can appear with or without a cycloptic involvement. This is caused by the doe eating CornLilly (False hellebore) which grows wild throughout the US. The unusual thing about this particular disorder is depending on which day of pregnancy ingestion of the plant took place will delegate what amount of degeneration there will be to the fetus. Ingestion of the plant on day 14 of gestation causes The Monkey Faced Syndrome- lack of nasal cavity, sometimes also a cycloptic situation (one central or offset eye instead of a pair of eyes), ingestion on 19th to 21st day of gestation will give more chance for cycloptic involvement as well as forelimb deformity- days 27 to 32 of gestation a marked shortening of forelimbs.

Tracheal defects (lateral flattening of the trachea throughout its entire length) when eaten on days 31-33 of gestation. The difficult thing about this poisoning is many times the doe does not show much in the way of outward symptoms of poisoning when she has eaten small amounts of this plant- therefore this can be quite a shock when the neonate is born with the defects.

If the goat has eaten more than a bite or two, you may see:

Signs of Western False Hellebore Poisoning:

Poisoning may occur in 2 to 3 hours after an animal eats the plant. Marked signs of poisoning after eating 6 to 12 ounces of green stems or leaves.


  • * Excessive salivation with frothing
  • * General body weakness - animal may be unable to stand
  • * Irregular gait
  • * Vomiting
  • * Fast, irregular heartbeat
  • * Slow, shallow breathing
  • * Coma
  • * Convulsions

Western False Hellebore Poisoning
(Western False Hellebore Poisoning Caused this Baby to
have Monkey Faced Lamb Syndrome)

Click photo to enlarge
Photo of baby goat with mildly contracted tendons in the front feet -which is usually temporary and mild
This can usually be corrected by splinting either with large syringe containers split as shown in this photo or using vetwrap making sure not to place it too tight or it can cut off circulation- 24 to 48 hours should be enough to correct this.
I have also had success in placing the feet in the correct position each time I handle the baby and helping it to stand- this seems to correct the feet as well as splinting them.
More recently I have discovered that foam pipe insulation can also serve as a great splint for kids and esp newborns Splint for baby goat's leg

The next time you are the least bit disappointed in a set of twin bucklings instead of doelings, or the color is not exactly as you had hoped, keep these abnormalities in mind and Thank the Lord for your healthy babies.. and if your baby is one of the ones who are affected by one of these syndromes, then by all means do some study and offer what you find to the goat community so we may all learn from your little angel.

Last Updated ( Friday, 17 June 2016 )
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