Goat Medicine Cabinet - The Basics
This list is by no means exhaustive, but here are some of the things I like to keep on hand. Yes, there are a lot...Underlined items are my personal bare-minimum essentials, especially things that I cannot find locally and must be ordered. Again...I am NOT a vet! When it comes to prescription and off-label drugs, PLEASE develop a relationship with your vet before obtaining or using these. If your vet is not goat-savvy, I encourage you to check out the information at the Facebook group Goat Vet Corner to learn more. It is not meant to take the place of a client/vet relationship but it can help you learn more about the drugs and dosages, plus give you some ideas of what to discuss with your vet.
Digital Thermometer: Knowing the goat’s temperature can help diagnose illness. The quicker the
read out, the better. Get two because you will likely misplace one! Clearly mark that it is for GOAT use, not human.
Weight tape or Scale: Essential to weigh to properly dose dewormers and medications. Can also measure with a tape using this formula – (HeartGirthxHeartGirthxBodyLength)/300. Note that it can be hard to get an accurate measurement without the goat standing square and on a level surface. For most dewormers, it is safe to round to the nearest 5 or 10lbs - Levamisole is an exception.
Syringes and Needles: I keep a variety of sizes and gauges. Most often, I use 3, 6, and 12cc syringes and 20 or 18 gauge 1/2inch needles.
Hoof Trimmers/Rasp: Not actually a medicine, but keeping hooves trimmed correctly can prevent hoof problems later on. I love my mini rasp for leveling!
Drench Gun: Best way to administer large volumes of liquid (bloat medication, activated charcoal etc.). I use the 30ml size.
Small Bolus gun: Best way to administer boluses and other non-liquid medicines or supplements, such as a zinc pill. Trust me, you do not want to use your fingers. A goat’s back teeth are amazingly sharp and their jaw incredibly powerful. I prefer the plastic.
Weak Kid Tube Feeder: I have never had to use one, thank goodness, but if you need this, you need it NOW. Don't forget that kids need warmed (temperature needs to read at least 99 or 100 degrees) before feeding! OB Lube and Gloves: In case of kidding complications, a safe lubricant is necessary. Gloves are also a very good idea, to both decrease the chance of infection in your does and also decrease the chance that you will contract any kind of zoonotic pathogens. Lice Comb: If you ever deal with a very young kid with lice, combs are the safest method for removal. Local veterinarian offices often carry them or they can be found online in a variety of designs. Infected kids will need to be combed daily for a couple weeks.
Medicines, Supplements Etc...
Dewormer: I typically use a combination of Ivermectin and Valbazen/Safeguard here. There are several different formulations. Dewormers work best given orally. Studies have shown pelleted and pour-on goat dewormers do not work well, either from the dosage being inconsistent or the kill rate being sub-par. Deworming is done on as-needed basis, never on a schedule, and you should stick with one class until it no longer works – no rotating. Safeguard and other fenbendazoles work well on tape worms but are usually a 3-5 day dose. Valbazen and Ivermectin PLUS work for liver flukes. Valbazen is not safe in pregnant does - If I do need to treat a pregnant doe or a doe I suspect MIGHT be pregnant, I will use Safeguard or Panacur instead of Valbazen - those three are in the same class. It is important to understand the classes so you do not combine two from the same class. Read these for more information - https://www.heftygoathollerfarm.com/post/are-you-deworming-your-goats-correctly and https://www.wormx.info/dewormers.
Antibiotic: I like to keep at least Penicillin on hand. There are many available, though most are off-label for goats. Probiotic: The best probiotic is a “cud tea” made from warm water and the cud from a healthy goat – but that isn’t always easy to do, so a probiotic paste is handy to have around when the goat’s rumen is upset from things like diarrhea, bloat, or any illness. There's some speculation as to the actual benefit but a probiotic should not do any harm.
Fortified Vitamin B: This contains B vitamins and thiamine. When the rumen is out of whack, it is not producing thiamine very well or at all, so it is often necessary to supplement. This is also the go-to treatment for illness with neurological symptoms, like goat polio and listeriosis. Just make sure it is fortified so it does contain thiamine.
Betadine or Iodine: Great for small wounds – cuts, scrapes, that sort of thing – Iodine is good, too, but usually needs to be diluted since it irritates tissue, with the exception of dipping newborn’s navels. Anti-Inflammatory: Two common anti-inflammatories are Meloxicam and Banamine. These are Rx but thanks to my vet, I keep a few doses of Banamine on hand (usually for pre-disbudding). CD/T Vaccine and Tetanus Antitoxin: CD/T vaccinates the animals against clostridium perfringens (usually types C & D, the most common) that cause enterotoxemia and tetanus. I only keep the vaccine when it needs administered - typically an initial dose followed by a booster in a few weeks, the once a year. I try to also give a booster before does kid, between 30-45 days pre-kidding - this gives the kids immunity. The antitoxin is for treatment, though if your goat is dealing with tetanus or clostridial diseases, the outcome is often poor. For more info on CDT read here - https://goats.extension.org/goat-vaccination-program/ and here https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/cdt_vaccinations_for_sheep_and_goats
Activated Charcoal: Gel or liquid. Best treatment for toxic plant ingestion. Usually has to be ordered, so nice to already have it on hand if you ever need it. It is one I ALWAYS keep.
Bloat Treatment: This works best in frothy bloat or ruminal acidosis. While flavored vegetable oil (I've flavored mine with Koolaid so they can taste it and know to swallow) works alright in a pinch, a bloat treatment will work faster and usually require smaller amounts. I feel like it is less disturbing to an already-disturbed rumen, as well.
Copper Oxide Wire Particles (COWPs): These boluses are made of copper oxide, which digests very slowly and aid in parasite control. Great to administer these in conjunction with deworming or when parasite populations are likely to boom – warm, wet stretches of weather in the spring etc. These can also be beneficial if the goat's diet is high in sulfur, which is a copper antagonist. For more on COWPs look at https://www.wormx.info/copper-oxide-wire-particles
Electrolytes: Electrolytes are the best way to re-hydrate an animal, especially if one has lost a lot of fluids - electrolytes promote fluid balance, absorption of nutrients, and provides energy. Some electrolytes also come in gelling formulas. I prefer drenching over leaving the solution in water. In some cases, diarrhea is a good thing ridding, the body of potentially harmful substances. The cause of diarrhea needs to be determined. Personally, I only administer electrolytes in the case of potential dehydration, but some folks choose to use electrolytes preventatively in very hot weather or during shows or other stressful events etc. Ketone Strips: These are the same ones used for humans, found at the drugstore. The best method for diagnosing ketosis in does. Just a note - Ketosis is a metabolic condition that is called pregnancy toxemia at the end of gestation and lactational ketosis during lactation - https://goats.extension.org/goat-ketosis/
Nutri-Drench or Propylene Glycol: Both of these are useful treatments for does experiencing ketosis. I typically keep Nutri-drench ONLY for this reason. Both can give the does critical energy boost from the calories, but propylene glycol (Nutri-Drench contains propylene glycol) can be an appetite suppressant. In the case of serious pregnany toxemia or ketosis though, it is the recommended treatment. Corn Syrup/Molasses: Both of these simple things are handy to have. I offer the does warm molasses water after kidding for a boost of both energy and iron. Corn syrup (I use Karo) can be used in place of Nutri-Drench or propylene glycol for calorie boosts to does with low energy. A dab on the gums provides calories and therefore energy to kids that have been chilled or are otherwise weak or unwilling to suckle (never feed a kid until its internal body temperature is at least 99 or 100 degrees, otherwise it cannot digest - warm first, THEN feed). Iron supplement: I keep Red Cell on hand in case of anemia. Red Cell contains the necessary building blocks to rebuild a red blood cell, such as iron, copper, Vitamin Bs etc...But the it takes time to rebuild red blood cells and the cause of anemia must be corrected. The most common cause of anemia is parasites.
Ammonium Chloride: If the diet is correct, folks are very unlikely to have issues with urinary calculi, but not impossible - some goats are genetically predispositioned to issues. It can help acidifiy the urine and dissolve the calculi – mineral deposits blocking the urethra, usually in male goats and especially wethers. It needs to be mixed with juice (like cranberry juice) or mixed in something like jelly, because it is very unpalatable and it is unlikely the goat will eat it otherwise. I keep this because I cannot find it locally. Python Dust: There are many lice treatments, but this is what I keep on hand for biting lice. It is not effective for sucking lice - I get a Dectomax injection for those (off-brand ivermectin that does not sting). Python Dust is a livestock insecticide with the active ingredient is permethrin. It also helps with ticks.
Terramycin (oxytetracycline hydrochloride): This is an ophthalmic antibiotic, meaning it is for in-eye use. Very handy to have in case of scrapes, pink eye, or other eye irritations. Calcium Supplement: I have not had to use this in my herd, but it is something I do keep on hand. There are many types of calcium supplements to treat hypocalcemia, including drenches, gels, and injectables - often called CMPK supplements (calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium). CMPK can also be used to help with grass tetany (hypomagnesemia) though this is usually more an issue in cattle than goats. Even tums can help in a pinch, in the case of a sluggish labor. Wound Care - Other: That is rather vague but folks have different comfort and skill levels when it comes to tending to wounds. If you can and want to stitch or staple up skin, then keep those things handy! I personally head to the vet in the event stitches are needed. I have started keeping AluShield on hand - it is an aluminum aerosol bandage. I prefer it over BluKote because BluKote is not supposed to be used on food animals as it contains gentian violet.