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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

Treating Goat Pneumonia Print E-mail
Written by Administrator-GL   
Sunday, 30 March 2008

Treating Pneumonia in Goats

Quick Reference Guide:

Medications that are used to Treat Pneumonia in Goats

This will show you which different Antibiotics and Medications you can use for treating pneumonia in goats, this is not to say you use all of them but depending on what you may or may not have on hand a quick reference guide to which are used and how much to use:
OTC = Over The Counter- you can find this usually at feed stores or online vet supply houses
(Rx) = Requires vet Prescription
    The Antibiotics of choice, listed in order of my personal preference:
  1. Tylan200 (OTC) 1cc/25lbs every 12 hours SubQ 5 days, Stings but works
  2. OR
  3. Nuflor (Rx) 1cc/25lbs daily for 3-5 days SubQ- Use 18Ga Needle as this is thick
  4. OR
  5. Oxytetracycline -LA200 or Biomycin (OTC) 1cc/25lbs 5 days SubQ
  6. OR
  7. Penicillin Procane G (IF you have nothing else) 1cc/20lbs 5 days every 12 hours SubQ
    Remember with PennG to ALWAYS draw back on the syringe plunger to see if you hit blood, as this can be fatal gotten into the blood stream! If you do, removed needle from goat, express blood and restick goat in a new place to inject
  8. Additional Drugs to help with Pneumonia
  9. Expectahist antihistamine/decongestant (Rx) and Expensive to relieve congestion 1cc/15lbs SubQ twice a day
  10. Benedryl for children (OTC) to relieve congestion, 1 tsp for tiny babies, up to full 8 ox bottle for adult goats- hard to overdose this , but will make them sleepy
  11. Banamine-(Rx) reduces fever, swelling and pain relief. 1cc/100lbs once a day SubQ
    A newborn kid should receive 2/10 of a cc (two-tenths of a cc) of Banamine
  12. Human Aspirin (Not tylenol or advil but real aspirin) In place of Banamine for fever reduction and pain relief. 1 325mg aspirin for an adult goat or 1/4 to 1/2 baby aspirin for a baby goat
  13. Electrolytes to help with dehydration given orally according to package

What is Pneumonia?

Once the bacteria, virus or fungus enter the lungs, they usually settle in the air sacs of the lung where they rapidly grow in number. This area of the lung then becomes filled with fluid and pus as the body attempts to fight off the infection.

 Abscesses in the lung can cause hemorrhage (bleeding) in the lung if untreated, but antibiotics that target them have significantly reduced their danger.
 Acute respiratory distress is a specific condition that occurs when the lungs are unable to function and oxygen is so severely reduced that the patient's life is at risk.  Failure can occur if pneumonia leads to mechanical changes in the lungs (called ventilatory failure) or oxygen loss in the arteries (called hypoxemic respiratory failure).

Bacteremia (bacteria in the blood) is the most common complication of pneumococcus infection (equine), but rarely does this infection spread to other sites. Bacteremia is also a frequent complication of infection with other gram-negative organisms.

In rare cases, infection may spread from the lungs to the heart and can even spread throughout the body, sometimes causing abscesses in the brain and other organs.

Pneumonia is more than likely the most common disease of goats today, especially in kids.

Major Causes of Pneumonia:

The 3 main causative agents of pneumonia are: Bacterial, Viral and Parasitic.
High humidity, close conditions, drastic change in weather conditions, change in environment,feed, or kidding (Sometimes referred to as shipping stress),  inadequate ventilation and dusty damp bedding are some of the most common antagonists for the beginning of pneumonia.

Most Common Clinical Signs of Pneumonia:

1. Weight loss
2. Cough
3. Nasal Discharge
4. Fever present sometimes not always
5. Raspy breathing
6. Difficult breathing
7. Anorexia
8. Scours

Treatment Choices:

Do not delay in treatment, early detection and treatment ease the seriousness of pneumonia greatly.
Different medications will work on different types of pneumonia. If you have not had a diagnosis by a Veterinarian, and are treating yourself- expect some improvement by the second full day of treatment. If you do not see this improvement, I would change the medication choice for treatment.

   1.  Bacterial Causes of Pneumonia -

          * Treatment with antibiotics such as Tylan200, Nuflor, LA-200, penicillin, tetracycline, Albon, and Gallimycin may be considered. Like most bacterial infections, veterinary culture and testing is recommended.

   2. Viral Causes of Pneumonia -

          * Viral Pneumonia willnot respond to antibiotic treatment unless it has advanced to a secondary bacterial infection- which will respond to antibiotic treatment.  Treatment for  viral pneumonia involves treating the symptoms, not killing the virus. Electrolytes, fluids, anti-inflammatory agents (Banamine) along with  antihistamine  such as Benadryl can be given.

   3. Parasitic Causes of Pneumonia -

          * Lungworm can cause a secondary bacterial pneumonia in cases not treated - Ivermectin and Valbazen being 2 good choices for treatment of lungworm. **NOTE: Do Not use Valbazen on pregnant does.

Pneumonia: Not a Disease

Please understand that pneumonia is not a disease but a condition of the lungs because of causative agents (mentioned above- bacterial, viral, parasidic).
The most common bacterial pneumonia is by far Pasturella because this bacteria lives naturally within the goat's mouth, throat, lungs and bronchi. It causes no problem until the goat is stressed by some means, illness, fright, kidding, weather change, environment change etc. The goat's natural immune system is then compromised and the goat's body allows the bacteria within the body to multiply and therefore pneumonia can develop.

Interstitial Pneumonia: CAN BE Misunderstood

This is most often a fatal pneumonia -75% of the time.
I know many of you have asked me about interstitial pneumonia. You have heard it is a pneumonia that is not noticed until the animal is dead.  That said animal will be fine one day and dead the next.
This "CAN BE" mis-information. After much research, this can also be a chronic situation within the lungs typically related to CAEV. Instead: "Outbreaks of acute pneumonic pasteurellosis often commence with sudden deaths before clinical signs are observed. As an outbreak proceeds, respiratory signs become more apparent, particularly in older sheep rather than in lambs. Signs then include dullness, anorexia, fever, dyspnoea or hyperpnoea. On auscultation, respiratory sounds are loud and prolonged. Affected sheep froth at the mouth, cough and have a serous nasal discharge. In acute cases, death occurs in 1 to 3 days."[Gilmour NJL, Angus KW and Gilmour JS (1991) Pasteurellosis in Diseases of sheep 2nd ed, ed WB Martin and ID Aitken, publ Blackwell Scientific, London p 133]

IN Addition- a quote from Suzanne Gasparotto's article is also of good information regarding Goats-

Interstitial pneumonia is the most common type to occur, quickest to kill, and often hardest to diagnose in goats. Death can occur in 12 hours or less. Example: At night the goat appears healthy, but in the morning it is down and dying. No runny nose and no fever -- just a goat that is off-feed, may or may not occasionally cough, and standing away from the herd because fluids are building up in the lungs (not sitting or laying down, unless it is already at death's door), but may not appear to be seriously ill. The only clear diagnostic symptom is high fever and it may not be present when you discover the sick goat. High fever peaks quickly and then body temperature rapidly drops below normal, possibly misleading you into diagnosing the problem as ruminal. Sub-normal body temperature is often a sign of ruminal problems. Body temperature under 100*F should be considered critical, regardless of the cause of the illness.
If high fever is present, it must be brought down quickly; fever-reducing medication and appropriate antibiotic therapy must be started immediately. If fever is not present but all other symptoms indicate pneumonia, antibiotic treatment is also essential. (This is an exception to the "no antibiotic usage if fever is not present" rule.) If the illness has progressed far enough, the goat will try to sit down, moan with discomfort, and immediately stand up --- because fluid has begun to accumulate in the lungs and abdomen and its kidneys are shutting down. A goat in this condition probably cannot be saved but you should try until efforts prove either successful or futile. A goat that wants to live can overcome amazing obstacles. However, once the lungs fill with fluid, survival is unlikely. If you cannot save it, do the right and humane thing and put the goat down to stop its suffering.
Banamine or generic equivalent (veterinary prescription) is an anti-inflammatory drug that lowers fever-induced high body temperature and helps allievate pain and inflammation. Banamine should be used once every 12 hours for several days but normally no more frequently, because it can cause stomach ulcers. Common sense dictates that if nothing else is available to drop the fever into normal range and the goat is likely to die, use Banamine as needed. Administer Banamine into the muscle (IM) dosing 1cc per 100 lbs. body weight. A newborn kid with fever (depending upon breed and weight) should receive 1/10th to 2/10th's of a cc (one-tenth to two-tenth's of a cc) of Banamine. If Banamine is not available, baby aspirin can be used. Treat kids with at least one baby aspirin and adults with at least three baby aspirin. Do not use other pain relievers, such as Advil, Aleve, Tylenol, etc. --- only baby aspirin. Note: I do not consider baby aspirin to be a desirable alternative to Banamine, so go to your vet and buy a bottle of generic Banamine (flunixin meglumine).

Interstitial definition = Relating to or situated in the small, narrow spaces between tissues or parts of an organ.
Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD) is a general term that includes a variety of chronic lung disorders. When a person has ILD, the lung is affected in three ways. First, the lung tissue is damaged in some known or unknown way. Second, the walls of the air sacs in the lung become inflamed. Finally, scarring (or fibrosis) begins in the interstitium (or tissue between the air sacs), and the lung becomes stiff.
The tissue between the air sacs of the lungs is called the interstitium. Interstitial lung disease is named after this tissue because this is the tissue affected by fibrosis (scarring). Interstitial lung disease is sometimes also known as "interstitial pulmonary fibrosis." The terms interstitial lung disease, pulmonary fibrosis and interstitial pulmonary fibrosis are often used to describe the same condition. [ref: American Lung Association]

Now what can happen is that the shortness of breath or dry cough in an animal can go unnoticed,
the condition advances and causes a rapid onset of respiratory failure.

*Note: Recently I have been made aware of BO-SE, an Rx medication,  [1 mg of Selenium with the 50 mg of Vitamin E] as treatment for the immune system when a goat is debilitating. Sue Reith does much research with goat health and has given me a therapeutic treatment program which I personally have tried and can attest - it does work: Sue recommends upon her own research:  BoSe injection (at the rate of 1cc/40 lbs SQ) is given once daily for 3 days...
Then it is given once every 2nd day for 3 doses... Then once a week for a

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Last Updated ( Monday, 14 December 2015 )
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