3 Signs of a Sick Goat and How to Treat Them

Goats are hardy creatures but like any other animal, they occasionally fall ill. As a goat farmer, it’s crucial to be able to identify the signs of illness in your goats early on so that you can prevent the spread of disease among the herd.

In this post, we will go over three signs of a sick goat that you should be aware of and how to treat them.

Loss of Appetite

One of the first signs that indicate a sick goat is a sudden loss of appetite. If you notice that your goat is eating less, it may have an underlying health issue. The most common causes of a goat’s loss of appetite are metabolic disorders, parasitic infestations, and bacterial infections.

To treat a goat with a loss of appetite, you should provide them with plenty of clean water and a diet rich in high-quality hay. In severe cases, you may need to hand-feed your goat to ensure they receive adequate nutrition.


Another sign of a sick goat is diarrhea. Diarrhea in goats can be caused by a wide range of issues, including parasites, bacterial infections, or diet changes.

The biggest concern with diarrhea, aside from the discomfort it causes your goat, is dehydration.

To prevent dehydration, make sure that your goat has access to plenty of clean water and electrolyte-supplemented fluids. Additionally, you should isolate the sick goat from the rest of the herd, as diarrhea can easily spread among goats.

Lethargy and Weakness

Lethargy and weakness are also major signs of a sick goat. Goats that are recovering from an illness or infection often exhibit these symptoms. To treat these symptoms, you should provide supportive care to your goat.

This may include providing them with comfortable bedding, plenty of fluids, and a nutritious diet. If your goat is severely weak, you may need to provide additional support, such as physical therapy or massage, to help them regain their strength.

How do goats act when they are sick?

Goats are considered to be hardy and low-maintenance animals. However, they are still susceptible to various health problems.

As a responsible goat owner, it is crucial to keep an eye on your goat’s behavior to recognize the signs of illness as early detection can make a difference in the outcome of the treatment.

1. Behavioral Changes: When goats are ill, they often exhibit behavioral changes that differ from their normal routine. They might isolate themselves from the rest of the herd and seem uninterested in engaging or socializing with the other goats. They might stand or lie down in the same spot for an extended period without moving around, display listlessness, or appear lethargic.

These changes in behavior should be a cause of concern and require immediate attention. Note any change in their appetite or water intake as it can be an indicator of not feeling well. It is essential to keep a diary of your goat’s natural behaviors, so you can easily identify when something seems off.

2. Physical Symptoms: In addition to behavioral changes, physical symptoms can also be a sign that something is not right with your goat.

Some goats may droop their ears, have a more extended face or a tucked tail. Discharge from the eyes, nose, or ears, diarrhea or constipation, bloated stomach, or even lumps or strange growths are all signs of potential health problems. Check your goats’ temperature regularly to monitor any signs of fever, dehydration, or internal infections.

Perform a quick physical examination daily and document any changes. As an owner, you should be able to recognize these symptoms and take immediate action to prevent the illness from deteriorating.

3. Skin Problems: Goats are prone to various skin problems due to insect bites, allergies, or fungal infections. Skin problems usually start with the formation of small crusty bumps or rash on the skin’s surface and can progressively get worse.

Sometimes, the goat will begin to lose hair, and the skin will develop scabs or become flaky. Skin infections can cause a lot of discomfort for your goat and should be treated immediately.

4. Decrease in Milk Production: If your goat is producing less milk than it usually does, it could be a sign that they are sick. Additionally, a decrease in milk production can also indicate stress, inadequate nutrition, or other environmental conditions that are affecting their reproductive system.

Keep track of your goat’s milk production to identify any deviations from their normal production patterns. Seek veterinary advice if you notice any considerable drop in milk production.

5. Hoof Problems: Goats are known to be strong climbers and spend most of their time on their feet. Therefore, issues relating to their hooves are common.

Hoof problems can range from mild to severe, and it can cause difficulty in walking, lameness, and excruciating pain. Regular trimming and cleaning of their hooves will prevent them from having trouble developing. Check their hooves regularly to identify any problems and seek veterinary assistance.

Final Thoughts

It’s essential to know the signs of a sick goat to prevent further illness within your herd. Loss of appetite, diarrhea, lethargy, and weakness are common symptoms of an unwell goat that need immediate attention.

If you notice any of these signs in your goats, it’s important to take swift action and provide support and treatment as soon as possible to guarantee their health.

Monitor your goats’ behavior, physical appearance, and milk production closely as any changes in their daily routine can be an indicator of a potential health problem.

If you are ever concerned about your goat’s health, be sure to contact a vet who can provide a diagnosis.

By being proactive and aware, you will be able to identify any illnesses when they arise and take the necessary steps to ensure that your goats stay healthy and strong!