If you are a goat owner, it is important to be prepared for the possibility of a seizure. Goat seizures can be scary and confusing to witness, but with the right information and preparation, you can handle the situation quickly and effectively. In this article, we will discuss what to do if your goat has a seizure and how to care for them afterward.
None of us like the thought of our beloved goats getting hurt – and having a seizure is one of the most painful things to witness in a goat. As someone who has seen a small handful of goat seizures during my time as a goat keeper, I can tell you with confidence that it’s a heartbreaking situation and there’s not necessarily much you can do at the time to help.
However, there are ways you can help your goat if it’s having a seizure. And while the most important thing is always to call your vet out immediately for professional support and treatment, you can take steps to ensure that your goat is as comfortable as possible and stands the best chance of recovery while waiting.
What To Do if a Goat has a Seizure
If you’re wondering, “what am I supposed to do if a goat has a seizure” you’re likely facing this situation yourself right now. As such, we’ll jump right into it.
- Try to move the goat to clear space and ensure they are safe.
- Keep other goats away
- Provide lots of soft bedding
- Do not tie the goat up
- If your goat is in an area with potential dangers, move them to a safer place.
- If your goat has a collar on, remove it.
- If you legally can, you may be able to treat the goat. Otherwise, follow your vet’s advice on what to do.
Try to move your goat to a clear space.
Firstly, it’s hugely important to ensure that your goat is somewhere it cannot hurt itself. Goat seizures can be incredibly dramatic, and the goat can potentially be writhing in pain, which will often mean they’re not in control of their body. If your goat is near a wall or in a field with a bank, for example, they could end up hurting themselves incredibly badly.
In some cases, they could potentially do irreparable damage or even kill themselves while having a seizure. So, get them away from any dangers immediately. Don’t leave this to chance. You should ensure your goat is in a large enough area so that they can safely kick and thrash without hitting fences, walls, and the like.
Remove the goat from a pen or move other goats away
You should ideally also keep other goats away who – in their infinite compassion – could try to bully the ill goat while it’s down. Your goat won’t be able to take comfort from its herd members right now anyway, so it’s potentially best to pen them separately.
Provide soft bedding in the area
Make sure your goat has plenty of soft bedding to cushion the blows, and do not tie them up. If your goat has a collar, you should also remove this immediately, so there is no chance of them getting caught up.
Contact your veterinary expert
At this point, if you are legally allowed to keep medicines in stock, you may be able to treat the goat. You should also always follow your vet’s advice on how to treat or prepare the goat for the vet’s arrival.
What Causes Goat Seizures?
There are many potential causes of goat seizures. Listeriosis and polio encephalitis, or “Goat Polio,” may be the two most well-known examples.
Both are very similar conditions and often hard to distinguish from one another, so some people may treat both simultaneously.
However, if your goat is at the stage of having seizures already, it’s likely too late for an intramuscular/subcutaneous injection to work. Of course, the exact medicine will depend on the cause of the seizures. As such, you may need to wait for your vet to arrive to deliver the injections intravenously to ensure it’s immediately in the goat’s bloodstream.
How to Prevent Goat Seizures
Preventing goat seizures will vary depending on the cause of the seizure.
The best thing you can do with your goats to help prevent possible seizures is ensuring your goat always has a healthy diet and a suitable environment to keep them calm and prevent stress.
Never feed any food or forage that could be moldy, as this increases the risk of diseases such as Goat Polio and Listeriosis (both of which may cause seizures).
Finally, look out for any changes in your goat’s behavior that could indicate they are unwell, so they can be treated before seizures start.
When to Call the Vet
Call the vet immediately if you suspect your goat is having a seizure. Seizures are an incredibly bad symptom in most cases, so there’s no time to waste.
How to Care For Your Goat After a Seizure
After a seizure, your goat will likely be confused and scared. Depending on the symptoms and cause of the seizure, your goat may also be blind or uncoordinated. As such, you should keep them separate from the main herd until they have fully recovered.
Offer them water and food by hand to ensure they keep eating and drinking and monitor intake and dehydration levels regularly. You should also provide the goat with a comfortable pen that will allow them to rest and recuperate. Painkillers may also need to be given if the goat experiences prolonged discomfort.
Additional Resources on Goat Seizures
If you’d like to learn more about seizures in goats (and have time to!), the following resources can provide a wealth of information:
Few things are as terrifying for a goat keeper as seeing their beloved goat having a seizure. Of course, there are countless potential causes for a goat to have a seizure, and if you suspect your goat is having a seizure – or could be at risk of one – it’s so important to get the vet out at the first possible opportunity to treat them.
In some cases, your goat could die within half an hour of the seizure starting, so time really is of the essence here (and if your goat is having a seizure right now, get them down to the vet immediately!) However, it is possible to save a goat that’s having a seizure, although it’s worth considering that they may potentially be brain damaged and/or blind after the event. Luckily, your vet will be able to give you professional guidance on the best aftercare for your goat’s unique condition.
A passionate owner and breeder of Boer Goats, Charlotte is ensconced in daily goat farm life at Himmon Boer Goats in the UK. A member of the British Boer Goat Society, she spends her spare time also involved with goats. You could say, and she would admit, she is somewhat obsessed!