Goat Illnesses and Symptoms

The health of your goats is important to the success of your farm or dairy operation. It’s a good idea to keep an eye out for any changes in their behavior or appearance.

Just like every living being on the planet, goats often develop several ailments that could leave them feeling weak, develop a severe loss in appetite, lose weight, etc.

These illnesses are often a result of harmful bacteria and viruses, whose spread can be easily curtailed by ensuring some adequate biosecurity measures.

These measures often include keeping the goat’s environment in premier conditions, implementing animal identification programs, etc.

Diseases can have a lot of implications for goats, especially in a herd, as they are contagious. To ensure the health of your herd, you will need to identify any diseases, to take the appropriate measures.

Not only can you help save the goat, but you can potentially prevent an outbreak if the disease is contagious.

Let’s look at a few goat diseases, illnesses, and their symptoms. The growth and development of a goat can be affected by several diseases.

Goat Illnesses and Symptoms


Description: Anthrax is a deadly bacterial disease that affects both goats and humans alike. It is contagious, so if you identify this disease, then you will need to immediately quarantine the infected goat.

Ensure you wear protective gear as Anthrax infects humans as well.


  • Goats die suddenly
  • The goat will develop a high fever
  • The infected goat will begin to bleed from different openings including the nose, anus, and birth canal.


There isn’t any known cure but you can limit the effect on your herd. You will need to make sure you dispose of any dead goats properly as dead bodies can still carry the virus.

There is a vaccine available, so you should ensure your entire herd is up to date on vaccinations. Penicillin 1/M is one of the most effective treatments, especially when it is used in large doses.

Hemorrhagic septicemia

Description: As the name implies, it’s a disease that has to do with the blood, and it is bacterial. The disease is more commonly referred to as John’s disease. You should, however, note that this disease is usually associated with the rainy season.


  • You notice the infected goats have a high fever.
  • The infected goat will have problems breathing.
  • Infected goats will die suddenly.
  • Swollen lower jaws amongst affected goats.
  • Infected goats will have a cough.


Vaccination is the solution and must be done yearly, just before the new rainy season begins.


Description: This particular disease is carried by the bacterium Brucella. It is transmitted easily, so be sure to isolate any infected goats.


  • Male goats infected will likely become infertile.
  • Male goats infected will develop swollen joints.
  • In female goats, this disease can lead to abortion late in the pregnancy.
  • It can also cause retention of the placenta in pregnant females.


There is no cure for this disease as of yet. It can only be prevented by ensuring your goats are kept in clean, hygienic areas to keep the causative bacterium out.

If any goats or fetuses are infected, you will need to dispose of them properly as their corpses can still carry and spread the disease.

Goat diseases, Symptoms and treatment


Description: This particular disease affects the kidney. The causative agent is a toxin of Clostridium perfringens type D.

It is not contagious but you will need to identify the source to prevent more members of the herd from getting infected.


  • Infected young animals die suddenly.
  • Infected animals have abdominal pains and may not be able to move easily.
  • Infected animals will have mucous diarrhea.


Your best action is to prevent your goats from contracting this disease. The first step is to ensure your goats don’t eat young grass, only mature grass. Next, you will need to ensure all your goats are vaccinated.

The vaccination plan starts when the kids are 3months old. You will also need to vaccinate the goats before the start of the monsoon season.


Description: Just as with humans, goats can also suffer from pneumonia, and just as with humans, it is a disease associated with cold weather.


  • Infected goats won’t have feeding appetites.
  • Infected animals will gain unexplained weight.
  • The infected goats will have mucous coming out of their nose.
  • The infected goats will display a high fever.
  • The infected goat will also have problems breathing.


Firstly, you will need to make sure your goats are stored in a neat environment. Next, you should ensure the goats have fresh drinking water, preventing them from drinking stale water.

Finally, you will need to make sure your goats are vaccinated every year.


Description: This is a disease that farmers who strictly grass-feed their goats don’t have to worry about. It is associated with goats that eat Lucerne hay.


  • The infected goat will show distress.
  • The infected goat will be agitated.
  • The infected goat will urinate more frequently than usual.


Before feeding the hay to the goats, you can sprinkle some peanut oil on it. Make sure the hay you are feeding them is dry, or you can add dry pasture if you plan to feed them fresh legumes. For best results, ix dry pasture with the leaves of legumes.

Goat Pox

Description: As the name implies, it’s a disease that is specific to goats. It is viral and occurs more frequently than others. It is mostly found with young males and females still feeding on milk.


  • The infected goat will have mucous coming out of both the nose and mouth.
  • The infected goat will display a high fever.
  • Infected goats will have problems breathing.
  • The infected goat will develop lesions in places that are hairy like the lips.

Prevention and Care

Thankfully, there is a way to treat this disease and prevent it from spreading. Once you have identified the infected goat, wash and clean the goat with warm water, applying hydrogen peroxide to any lesions.

You can also apply antibiotics creams or use antibiotic drugs. In the case of large herds, then you will need to make sure the entire herd is vaccinated annually.

Final Thoughts

There are several other goat diseases and some of them may vary according to location. If you plan to have goats, then you should consult a vet to find out the most common diseases in your region.

The vet will then recommend vaccinations and you should follow those recommendations.

Always ensure you take preventive measures as it beats having to seek treatment while battling a possible outbreak.