What Makes a Goat Lethargic and Shake?

We love our goats so much because they are fun and sometimes a bit crazy!

So, when our kids start to grow sick or laze around, it’s obvious something is happening to them.

Sometimes a goat will shake and become lethargic if their body temperature gets too low. Lethargy is also a common sign your animal is getting sick. Shaking is often a sign they are not getting enough food and water, often when a sick goat loses their appetite.

The steps you need to take to help your goat will depend on what is causing their symptoms.

Keep reading to learn about other possible reasons your goat might display these symptoms and what to do to help a sick or cold goat.

goat lethargic and shaking

Why Your Goat Is Shaking and Lethargic

As we mentioned before, there are several possible causes for these symptoms.

But the first and easiest to take care of is cold.

This is especially dangerous to newborn kids who have a harder time regulating their body temperature, especially in colder weather conditions.

If you want to ensure this is going on with your goat, take their temperature.

Remember, sometimes a goat’s temperature will be a little low on a cold day or high on a hot day.

Slight changes in temperature in response to the weather aren’t a cause for concern.

However, if your animal isn’t acting like itself, play it safe as far as its temperature goes.

Other Causes Of Shaking In Goats

There are a few different problems your goat might be having:

  • Bloat
  • Digestive Problems
  • Worms
  • Degenerative Disease

Bloat is not uncommon in these animals. 

There are a few different kinds they might contract.

But a bloated goat is uncomfortable, and you need to offer them help immediately upon recognizing the signs.

If your animal is lethargic and shaky, its bloat reaches a more dangerous point.

Fortunately, there are plenty of remedies for gas bloat we will be sure to tell you about in the next section.

Sometimes our goats will get into plants they shouldn’t be eating. 

They’re mischievous animals, after all!

When they ingest something they shouldn’t, though, it often makes them sick.

Another problem you might be seeing is worms.

This is one of the most common illnesses goats can contract. 

But it makes them very uncomfortable and sick, so it’s best to treat it immediately.

A degenerative disease is the least likely but most concerning the possible cause for these symptoms.

There is, for example, an illness in goats called scrapie. 

Because it is degenerative, this sickness only gets worse with time.

There is no cure for this disease, only support techniques, which pass easily to other goats.

If this is your goat’s problem, quick action is crucial. We don’t want your whole herd to get sick!

Shaking And Lethargy Treatment

It’s instinctual for us to want to help our animals when they aren’t feeling well.

So, what can you do about a sick goat?

Before we talk about illness-specific treatments, let’s just remember how important it is to ensure your sick animal has access to clean water for drinking and healthy food to eat.

Raising Body Temperature

If the cause of your goat’s symptoms is cold, fear not.

This problem is most common in baby goat kids, and you have several options for handling it.

It’s tempting to have a newborn goat eat immediately from their mother. 

But you must warm them up first.

We recommend a nice, warm bath. 

The warm water will help to shake the cold from their whole body.

Once the bath is finished, use a hairdryer on a warm setting to dry them off.

This will also help raise their body temperature because the air will be nice and hot. 

And, again, this will be helpful to their whole body.

Once they are out of danger of becoming hypothermic, give them some warm milk from their mother.

This way, you’ll be warming up their insides as well!

Related: How low temperature can goats survive?

Treating Bloat and Other Stomach Problems

Bloat treatment isn’t necessarily different for each kind of bloat.

However, the causes are different between them.

There are three kinds we’ll talk about here:

  1. Frothy bloat
  2. Gas bloat (also called choke bloat)
  3. Abomasal bloat

Each of these can happen for numerous reasons.

But all of them have been known to occur when your goat’s diet is unbalanced or when they accidentally eat something you didn’t intend to give them access to. 

For example, a goat might develop frothy bloat if they eat too much grain because this negatively impacts the acidity of their stomach contents.

A kid develops abomasal bloat when they consume too much milk.

Finally, a goat develops gas bloat because of blockages to its throat or digestive tract.

In this kind of bloat, the gasses created in your animal’s stomach have no escape route, so they build up in the goat’s stomach.

This causes severe abdominal pain! 

All bloat does.

For prevention, it’s best to be careful about your goat’s diet. 

Make sure they are getting all the nutrients they need. 

It’s also essential to minimize the access your herd has to things like plastic, paper, and wild plants.

Always err on the side of caution: 

Don’t feed it to your goats if you aren’t sure what the result will be.

If things have already reached a point where your goat is extremely sluggish and unable to move or eat, take them to an animal clinic!

It is best not to waste time with things like this and always defer to somebody with experience in animal medicine.

If things aren’t so bad yet, here is some common advice for treating bloat yourself:

  • Massage your goat’s rumen to help release the gas build-up
  • Buy a bottled bloat treatment
  • Give your goat baking soda water

Of course, one more stomach problem seen in goats is worms.

Treating worms isn’t difficult, and plenty of common goat dewormers are out there. 

There are also several natural options (such as apple cider vinegar) for treating a worm-infected goat.

See a veterinarian for professional advice if you need help with deworming your goats. 

Goat deworming is not going to be a foreign concept to them!

When treating worms, herd separation and cleanup of infected droppings is super important!

Related Readings:

Treating More Serious Illness

You’ll notice some extremely unusual behavior if your goat contracts a degenerative disease.

They will likely have trouble holding their head up and walking. 

You will see appetite changes, lethargy, tremors, and worse.

The most critical first step for severe sickness in goats is herd separation.

Scrapie is an example of a degenerative and deadly disease to goats. 

It passes easily from animal to animal and could infect your entire herd.

This separation from the herd may feel callous, but it’s crucial.

Conditions like this need to be treated by a professional who can help you understand the specifics of your goat’s health.

While there may not be any cure available, there will be ways to minimize pain and support your goat to improve its quality of life.

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Growing up amidst the sprawling farms of the South, Wesley developed a profound connection with farm animals from a young age. His childhood experiences instilled in him a deep respect for sustainable and humane farming practices. Today, through Farmpertise.com, Wesley shares his rich knowledge, aiming to inspire and educate others about the joys and intricacies of rural life.

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