Goat Medications And Supplies
Written by Administrator-GL   
Sunday, 03 June 2007

 Another Great Resource for the Goat Medicines

to Have on hand



The items mentioned below are the ones I, personally, am most comfortable keeping on hand to meet a management crisis head-on. I have a favorite saying that goes, "It's great to know what needs to be done, but that doesn't help much if I don't have the tools to work with!"  Having myself been caught unprepared a time or two, and losing a favorite animal as a result, I knew I never wanted that to happen again. So today I always keep these items available, and as a result I'm virtually never caught at 11 PM on a Sunday night with nothing to handle an emergency.


  Important information about which I feel goat owners should be aware:



1) To maintain efficacy, ALL meds should be refrigerated at ALL times, excepting while in use.


2) There is an important difference between Toxoids and Antitoxins :


Toxoids  do provide long-term immunity against pathogens.  But it takes 2-3 weeks after a toxoid is administered for the body to develop antibodies that will protect it against those pathogens.


Antitoxins start to work immediately, wiping out pathogens the minute they are injected into the body.  But they do not provide long-term immunity to the host, and will disappear from the system entirely within 10-14 days after they were given.


No vaccinations (toxoids, bacterins) that are given before 2 months of age will provide immunity in the kids that get them . To give a neonate a toxoid at birth to protect it against a particular disease (usually enterotoxemia and/or tetanus), which many people want to do, is a waste of time, as it will NOT protect the kid if it's exposed to that disease! It takes the neonate’s body 2 months to mature sufficiently to start making its own antibodies against the weakened toxins in a ’vaccine’, so Before 2 months of age, antitoxins are the only things that will save the kid in a crisis.


3) Dexamethasone Injectable (Rx):  Because it's a corticosteroid, this very inexpensive painkiller and anti-inflammatory med actually causes the patient to feel euphoric (very happy). It's commonly provided by veterinarians as an adjunct (supportive therapy) to whatever curative treatment is used on the goat.  However you, the owner, should be aware that dexamethasone, as well as all other corticosteroids, will disconnect the animal's own immune system while in its body, thus making the patient unable to help itself to get well!   In fact, if the cause of the goat's illness is of viral origin, the use of dexamethasone, leaving its immune system non-functional, could actually CAUSE ITS DEATH.   Banamine (see below), while more costly for the veterinarian to provide to you, is NOT a steroid  and will do exactly the same job of providing adjunct support to the patient, WITHOUT disconnecting its immune system in the effort!


There is neither any logic nor any reason whatsoever to support using both dexamethasone and Banamine together, at the same time, in the same patient .

4) Virtually ALL injections can and should be given to goats SQ, despite what the label might suggest, or the veterinarian, or another individual.  I do not give ANY oral antibiotics to goats , excepting for sulfa drugs and Neomycin Sulfate.  Goats depend upon the good bacteria in the rumen for digestion of their food. Oral antibiotics (other than Neomycin Sulfate and sulfa drugs) will kill the good bacteria in the rumen as well as the bad, causing serious scouring. You need to know this especially if your goats are being treated by a dog/cat veterinarian, since often dog/cat vets, because they do not specialize in ruminants, are simply not aware of this danger. (BTW: Sulfas are not true antibiotics, but are used similarly.)


5) Just as is done in human medicine, there is a propensity for veterinarians to use the newest, trendiest, most expensive medications available to date when treating your goats.  They are highly motivated to do so by the salesmen representing the manufacturers of the new products, just as human doctors are. Keep in mind that while they are the NEWEST meds, it does NOT automatically make them the BEST meds (although it DOES make them the most costly ones) , and quite often it is the owner that finds out the hard way that there are undesirable side effects to them.  It isn't unheard of for a newest, trendiest, most expensive med provided in such a manner to be suddenly recalled (or to fall out of favor) due to those serious side effects being discovered AFTER having been made available to the public.  And the fact is, there are MANY tried-and-true meds available for you to use that are often non-prescription (so that you can obtain them without the vet's help), and that have been available for many years, that in the majority of situations will do an equally successful job for your animal.


6) Very few meds have been cleared for use on goats. This is simply because goats are considered a minor economic species, and as a result almost no money is available to do the research needed to get government approval. This is not an indication that these meds would be harmful to your goat.  In fact, just about every med that we use on livestock is either identical to a med used on humans, or is a close counterpart to it. (Well, maybe a CD/T shot would be an exception, but if humans could get entero, we’d be using that as well!)  That having been said, as do most goat owners (with the exception of those selling meat or milk products for public consumption, who cannot legally do so), if the med is approved for sheep, swine, cows or horses, and I know it is the proper strength of the proper med for my purposes, I do not hesitate to use it on my goats.


7) There are times when it's prudent to use meds preventatively, as it's far easier to avoid some things than to cure them!  This should seem obvious enough, but I am continually amazed to find people actually waiting for signs of ketosis (a given if the pregnant doe starts missing a few meals) or enterotoxemia (also a given, if the unprotected kid’s gut is stopped or slowed down for a couple of days by some other problem, like bloat or FKS) to appear before taking any preventative action!  The means used to prevent these things are not harmful to your goat. Trying to repair the damage after it happens may be too little too late, and can cost your goat its life. This is a self-sufficiency issue, in which ‘time is of the essence’, Veterinary consultation is not needed, and materials are non-prescription but must be already available for your use when you need them.


Now, on with the show! 


The following NON-PRESCRIPTION items are kept on hand in my barn for emergency and other general management use:


***NOTE***: This first group of meds, the non-prescription ones, listed below is available through catalogs (and some from feed stores and vets as well, but prices will be much higher from those sources).  Many are listed by 'brand' names, but often generics of those products will be available also, with identical ingredients and at less cost.

Betadine Solution: Good for lavaging open wounds.

Calcium/Magnesium supplement:  Have some form of this (CMPK, MFO) on hand, either oral or injectable, as emergency treatment for a pregnant (12 weeks or later in gestation) or lactating doe that shows signs of hypocalcemia. This condition is the result of low calcium levels in the animal, the signs of which will be that she stops eating, weakens rapidly, and has either normal (102.3), or below normal, temp. You should be aware that this condition is frequently misdiagnosed by veterinarians as 'Pregnancy Toxemia', 'Pregnancy Ketosis', or 'Parturient Paresis, and is invariably fatal if not treated quickly, properly and continuously until freshening, with CMPK or MFO. Calcium Gluconate is sometimes offered as treatment by a vet, but it does not work as well as the two mentioned above. Interestingly, the CMPK and MFO products are also the best choice for emergency treatment for grass tetany , even though the symptoms of that disease are a bit different, because a calcium deficiency and a magnesium deficiency both require a calcium and magnesium-balanced product to restore the metabolism to normal again.

CD/T Bacterin-Toxoid:  Provides long-term immunity against enterotoxemia and tetanus.  Give 2 shots, 3 wks apart, starting at 2 months, and a booster at 6 months and at one year, with an annual booster given thereafter within 1 month of forthcoming parturition.

Chlorpheniramine maleate:  A simple oral antihistamine, 4mg tablets  (currently available only from Rite-Aid) that is used in neonates for correction of simple aspiration pneumonia caused by inhaling birth fluids, or for any other aspiration or inhalation difficulties (such as a bacterial pneumonia, as an adjunct to antibiotics) and for simple allergic reactions such as hives. (If necessary use Benadryl 25mg as a substitute)

Clostridium Perfringens C&D (Enterotoxemia) Antitoxin : An emergency measure, for immediate use at the first sign of, as well as for prevention of, Enterotoxemia.  Its use will mean the difference between life and death in the victim. Signs are: Kid is clearly in pain, not eating, might be grinding its teeth, will generally cry out, has or will soon develop elevated temp (~105) and often appears bloated. Many victims are under 2 months of age, simply because they aren't mature enough yet to be vaccinated and make antibodies to prevent it. Antitoxin is a great insurance policy, even if I never use it, and cheaper than an emergency trip to the vet, who usually doesn’t recognize enterotoxemia so he rarely keeps the antitoxin on hand anyway!

CMT:  California Mastitis Test kit.  This is an essential when I am milking does, as its regular use can determine presence of sub-clinical mastitis while it is still treatable but before udder damage occurs.

Epinephrine: for anaphylactic shock (the animal collapses shortly after having been given the shot).  It's a basic backup to have on hand when administering ALL shots.

Hydrogen Peroxide:  Good for lavaging and flushing open wounds, as it changes the pH in the damaged area, making it an unpleasant environment for bacteria to grow in.

Iodine 7%:  Strong iodine for immediate dipping of newborn kid's navel cord to prevent tetanus and joint ill.

Neomycin Sulfate (Oral): great for handling bacterial enteritis.

Oxytetracycline LA 200 injectable: A long-acting Tetracycline injectable, 200mg/ml, very broad spectrum and excellent for dealing with a wide range of bacterial infections, including topical use for eye infections. Do NOT use it in combination with penicillin! One cancels the other out!

Penicillin G injectable:  A basic broad-spectrum antibiotic that covers just about all common bacterial infections of goats. For therapeutic use, injected daily for 5 days minimum, with the first dose doubled. It's useful topically as well for minor eye infections. Do NOT use it in combination with oxytetracycline! One cancels the other out!

Penicillin G procaine/benzathine injectable: A long-acting Penicillin for preventative use, such as Twin-Pen, BP-48, etc., which stays in the bloodstream for a week. If, for any reason, I ever had to use dexamethasone, which disconnects the animal's immune system as long as it is in the body , I would give this long-acting penicillin at the same time to prevent opportunistic infection from taking over while the animal's own defense system has been shut down.

Probios:  Oral paste for replacement of friendly bacteria in the goat's rumen when digestive crisis occurs.

Propylene Glycol: A quick oral-energy supply.  Any time a pregnant or lactating goat does not eat for even a couple of meals there is a danger of ketosis (a killer) because the animal uses up its own body reserves to feed itself during that period. Propylene Glycol provides a quick, external source of energy that keeps it from using its body reserves, thus preventing ketosis!

Sulfa (Oral or injectable):  Excellent for treatment of Coccidiosis in young kids.

Tetanus Antitoxin: All newborns should receive 1/4cc within 24 hours of birth as an immediate but temporary protection against Tetanus. It continues to be effective for about 10 to 14 days. If castrations or disbuddings are done after that, but before Tetanus Toxoid has been given, I re-administer the Antitoxin.

Tylan 200 injectable: Tylosin 200mg/ml.  An excellent broad-spectrum antibiotic, good choice for Mycoplasma treatment. It’s also good for topical treatment of some eye infections.

Vitamin A/D injectable: An important adjunct to Calcium therapy. I administer 1/2cc to neonates in gray winter months, as it’s part of the’ team’ that makes calcium more readily available to them.

Vitamin B Complex: (Choose the 'fortified' version.) Useful as an adjunct in restoring health to depleted animals.

Wormer(s): Keep on hand a good general wormer for young goats. A caveat: No wormer on the market will kill ALL stages of ALL worms!  The wormer you buy will generally only kill the ADULT form of specific worm types . So in order to kill the larval and egg stages that have been left behind when they become adults, it is necessary to worm 3 times in a row, with 10-14 days between each worming. And to be sure you are using the right wormer to kill the specific worms your goat harbors, it’s important to learn to how to do microscopic fecal exams on them.



I consider the following  PRESCRIPTION meds to be essential to good management procedures although, while available in some catalogs, a veterinary prescription must be obtained for them. I hasten to add, however, that in my view, for some products (ie: saline solution and sterile water) that prescription requirement absolutely lacks merit:


Banamine Injectable: This non-steroidal all-in-one painkiller, anti-inflammatory, and temperature regulator is a highly recommended alternative to dexamethasone in all cases, providing outstanding supportive therapy for any sick animal. Because it reduces pain, it has the animal eating and feeling better quickly while waiting for the antibiotic to kill the infection causing its illness, or for the injury causing severe pain to heal. In the event of an injury, its anti-inflammatory properties have the patient functioning normally again quickly. A very important aspect of its temperature-reducing capability is that sometimes a temperature is so high that unless it's reduced quickly permanent brain damage can result, despite the animal's disease having been cured by the antibiotic therapy provided. And I've found personally that if a difficult disbudding requires that the iron be left on the kid's head a little longer than desirable, finishing the job with a dose of Banamine will prevent brain-swelling.

BoSe: Selenium/Vitamin E injectable: A terrific immune-system stimulant. In each ml of BoSe, 50 mg of Vitamin E, a well-known immune-system stimulant, is combined with 1mg of Selenium. They work together so that the Vitamin E does its job 6X more effectively with the help of the selenium, while the selenium is rendered non-toxic by the action of the Vitamin E. A great assist for any debilitated animal, enabling it to help itself to get well. You need NOT be in a so-called “selenium-deficient area” to have a need for, and to benefit greatly by, use of BoSe. It is an immune-system stimulant, and is NOT intended for correction of selenium deficiency.

Dermalone: (also DermaVet, Animax, etc, all generics for Panalog:) An excellent topical ointment that deals with both bacterial and fungal pathogens.  It is anti-inflammatory as well.  Wonderful for healing all sorts of wounds. For fast healing, I pack open wounds with it after cleaning, and I use it for my family as well as my goats!

Gentamicin injectable: A highly effective antibiotic that often clears up pathogens that are not sensitive to Penicillin, LA200, or Tylan. Caveat: Very careful dosage by weight is required.

Lidocaine injectable: A numbing agent generally used on humans by dentists while filling teeth. Excellent for deadening pain in the scrotal area while bucklings are being castrated.

Oxytocin injectable: A great assist in helping to expel afterbirth after a slow labor, particularly when the doe is hypocalcemic, thus will have very little uterine muscle tone left to expel it herself. (However, if hypocalcemic she may need calcium replacement along with oxytocin since without muscle tone oxytocin cannot do its job.) NEVER use oxytocin before the actual birth of kids , because if there is a malpresentation this could prove VERY harmful to the doe.

Prostaglandin injectable: (Lutalyse) will bring a doe into season, abort her, or bring her into labor when necessary in the course of management.


Saline Solution:  Should be kept on hand for dilution of other meds when necessary. 


Sterile water: Good for diluting certain types of meds for specific uses.

Thiamine injectable: (Vitamin B1 injectable). Emergency correction (along with Banamine to reduce brain swelling) for Bracken Fern poisoning and Polioencephalomalacia, which have similar characteristics and treatment, and which respond quickly to Thiamine therapy but are lethal without it.



Alcohol: Isopropyl, for sanitizing syringes and needles before use.

Catheter : Excellent for tubing weak newborn kids. A French catheter size #8 or #10 is best for kids.

Cotton balls: It is essential to keep a bag on hand at all times.  I save the cotton filler in vitamin bottles and store it in clean zip-lock bags for this purpose.


French catheter tube (size #8 or #10): A very thin tube used in human medicine for bladder catheterization. Essential for tubing of premature or just plain weak kids.

Needles: I use the 20gauge, 1/2inch needles almost exclusively for just about all routine injections on dairy goats.  I buy them by the box of 100 from the catalogs. Other useful sizes are 16gauge x 1 inch, 18gauge x 1 inch, (both very large needles), 22gauge x 1 inch and 25gauge x 3/4 inch. Those would all be useful to have on hand, about 6 each. Note: The larger the number, the smaller the size.

Syringes: 1cc, 3cc, 6cc, 12cc, 20cc, 35cc, 60cc.  I recommend you keep on hand many 3cc syringes, and at least 6 of every other size.

Thermometer: I personally prefer the digital type, as it 'beeps' when the temp has registered the highest it plans to go, and meanwhile you can scratch the goat's head instead of staring at its backside.  (Costco has them for about $5.75.)





Terms used for Biologicals: Identification of different forms and their uses:


ANTITOXIN: A temporary protection from a toxin (poison), given in an emergency.  It must be given quickly, and provides immediate but only temporary protection lasting until the danger has passed (generally about 10-14 days).  It does not remain permanently in the system, nor does it help to build antibodies against the toxin (poison). ***Antitoxins such as Tetanus Antitoxin and Clostridium perfringens (enterotoxemia) Antitoxin  should always be kept on hand for emergencies, because kids younger than 2 months of age are particularly vulnerable to both of those diseases, but cannot effectively start their vaccination programs to protect against them until at least 2 months of age.***  

BACTERIN: Designed to provide long-acting immunity from a particular bacterium (Staph, Pasteurella, et al). Because the antibodies created in response to the Bacterin injection take 2 to 3 weeks to develop, it has no immediate effect whatsoever and therefore cannot be used as protection in an emergency situation.  The first bacterin shot should be given at about 2 months of age, and then repeated 2X more, 3 weeks apart. To maintain a sufficient level of protection on a permanent basis, periodic boosters are advised.


TOXOID: Designed to provide long-acting immunity from a particular toxin (poison) such as Clostridium perfringens (enterotoxemia) or Clostridium tetani (tetanus). Because the antibodies created in response to a toxoid injection take 2 to 3 weeks to develop, it has no immediate effect whatsoever and therefore cannot be used as protection in an emergency situation.  To be effective, the first toxoid shot must be given no earlier than 2 months of age, at which time the body has matured sufficiently to make antibodies, and then repeated 2X more, 3 weeks apart. To maintain a sufficient level of protection on a permanent basis, periodic boosters are advised.


Terms used in measuring strength, volume of medications:


mg : is the strength of med in each ml of fluid. (200mg/ml means there are 200 milligrams of
the med in each ml of the fluid.)

ml: is the measurement of the amount of fluid in a meds bottle (ie: this bottle contains 100ml of liquid Oxytetracycline).

cc: is the measurement indicated by lines on the syringe (Important: one ml = one cc !  You draw 1ml of med into a syringe by filling the syringe to the 1cc line.)



Modes of Injection:


ID: Intradermal injection (between layers of skin)

IM: Intramuscular injection (in the muscle)

IP: Intraperitoneal injection (a large-volume shot given SQ alongside the peritoneal cavity)

IV: Intravenous injection (in the vein)

SQ: Subcutaneous injection (just beneath the skin)





( You MUST have these items already on hand to prevent/treat the following, or the animal will die.)

Anaphylactic shock: Immediate allergic reaction to an injection, wherein the animal collapsesRequires QUICK injection of Epinephrine , Dose is 1/2cc for a kid to 3cc for a mature dairy-goat sized buck. Without Epinephrine in this emergency the animal will die within 30 minutes.  With Epinephrine it will be up and acting normal in 10 minutes.

Enterotoxemia: A secondary, opportunistic disease wherein clostridial organisms, normally present in a goat's rumen, start multiplying rapidly in a static (non-moving) rumen that has been slowed down or stopped by bloat, heavy carbohydrate ingestion, FKS, et al. It is most often seen in young kids of 2 months or less, that are still too young to be properly vaccinated for Enterotoxemia. When this happens the ONLY way to save a goat's life is to administer Clostridium Perfringens CD Antitoxin ASAP.  Supportive therapy, using Penicillin, Probios, Electrolytes, Pepto Bismol, BoSe, B-Complex and Banamine must also be provided for at least 5 days.


Hypocalcemia: An emergency condition seen sometimes after the 12th week in gestation, and in any stage of lactation, brought on by inadvertently feeding an imbalanced diet to the doe.  A doe needs 2 parts calcium (in alfalfa) to every 1 part of phosphorus (in grain) to provide calcium (found in sufficient amounts only in alfalfa or a di-calcium phosphate supplement) for herself and her growing fetuses or milk production. If either too much or too little grain is provided, and especially if there is NO alfalfa provided with it, the diet that is necessary for her to obtain sufficient calcium is lacking, and she will become very weak, stop eating, and soon become recumbent. You must have CMPK or MFO available for immediate calcium replacement or the doe will die.  Also of importance! If she fails to eat for even a short time, in order to prevent ketosis it is necessary to give her  propylene glycol (or Nutridrench) as an emergency outside source of energy as well, or she will soon have ketosis on top of hypocalcemia! ( A critically  important addendum: A veterinarian is likely not to recognize this condition, and as a result may want to treat ONLY for the ketosis, suggesting also that the owner abort the doe (impossible, due to her lack of muscle tone) or do a C-Section to remove the fetuses. This is NOT necessary if calcium replacement therapy in the form of the CMPK or MFO is instead provided immediately, and given continuously until she is once again in balance.)

Weak or Premature kid: It will not be able to suck, so someone must  Tube it with warm colostrum. If the kid is strong enough to stand, I sit it in my lap as one would sit a small child, facing forward. If the kid is very weak, however, I lie it down on its side with the neck straight.  Then I measure from the nose to the kid's last rib and mark the distance on the tube, to tell how far to insert it into the kid. I oil the tip of the tube for easy entry. Then I carefully guide it  down the kid’s throat, on the right side of the mouth, allowing it to assist by swallowing as I do so.  If the kid begins to cough I pull tube out swiftly but not jerking it, as it is in the lungs.  If the tube goes in without any coughing, and slides in as far in as I originally measured it to go, I then fasten a 60cc syringe, minus the plunger and with another syringe pull up and administer warm water first- just in case there is a small chance I'm in the lung instead of stomach- if all goes well I then administer 20 to 60 ccs (depending on the size of the baby) of warm colostrum , again filling the second syringe and using this to fill the syringe attached to the tube- finish with a syringe full of warm water to clear the tube so when it is withdrawn from the baby none of the sticky colostrum gets into the lungs.. Elevate the baby's head for this procedure, and then I sit or stand it up right away, removing the tube quickly. You should find that the kid immediately relaxes and becomes comfortable.



The following CATALOGS carry products for goats:


Preface: We soon get used to none of the stores or catalogs having things specifically for goats.  Very little research is expended on their behalf in order to approve meds for them, as they are a minor species. So generally we use things approved for sheep, and for cattle as well. 


The following catalogs are available at no charge with a simple telephoned request:


(This first one is specifically goat-oriented.)

Caprine Supply is a great source specifically for goat supplies.  It is an excellent catalog to read as well, with lots of management tips between its covers. It is, however, retail. The phone # is:
1-800-646 7736. www.caprinesupply.com.

(The general livestock catalogs below each carry similar livestock products.  It is helpful to shop in all of them, as products and prices vary from one to another.)

Jeffers Catalog is similar to that of Omaha in its coverage of livestock supplies, except that it has no prescription section. Its phone # is: 1-800-533-3377. www.jefferslivestock.com.

KV Vet Supply has an extensive offering to meet the needs of livestock owners, as well as owners of small animals, and has a prescription section It carries the flotation systems used for running fecals . Its phone # is 1-800-423-8211. www.kvvet.com.

Omaha Vaccine's Professional Producer catalog carries a wide range of livestock supplies, and has a prescription section. Its phone # is: 1-800-367-4444. www.omahavaccine.com.

PBS Livestock Health Catalog is a good source for supplies, and has a prescription section.  Its phone # is 1-800-321-0235. www.pbsanimalhealth.com


Revival Animal Health catalog has the French catheters for tubing kids! Its phone # is 1-800-786-4751. www.revivalanimal.com.

Valley Vet Supply is an additional source of meds and supplies that is worth browsing thru while deciding who has the best buys! Its phone # is 1-800-468-0059. www.valleyvet.com.


 Nasco Farm and Ranch catalog is a great source for farm-oriented equipment and supplies, carrying a much wider range than most other catalogs. It's retail, but if you can't find it elsewhere, this is a great place to look. Its phone # is 1-800-558-9595. www.enasco.com


Last Updated ( Friday, 20 June 2008 )