Symptoms of Diseases in Goats
Goat Farming in South Africa

©Alan R Walker
A goat with sarcoptic mange. This contagious disease is caused by a mite burrowing under the skin.
Many animal deaths can be prevented with the early detection of symptoms of diseases. It is very important that you observe your herd daily. Look for animals that are depressed, lying down, scratching itself, not eating or drinking or behaving strangely like butting its head or kicking its limbs. By doing so, you will be able to recognise diseases through the symptoms exhibited.
Some diseases are difficult to identify because many of them share similar symptoms. Diseases can be caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites and other non-infectious agents. The symptoms of the diseases listed may help to detect illness at the earliest stage. If you suspect a serious issue with your goat, it is best to contact your veterinarian.

Common Symptoms and Possible Disease

Abnormal Body Posture: Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis (CAE)
Abnormal Breathing: Acidosis, Nitrate/nitrite Poisoning, Tuberculosis (M. tuberculosis), Verminous Pneumonia (Dictyocaulus filaria), Anthrax, Contagious Caprine Pleuropneumonia, Melioidosis, Allergies/Insect stings, Bloat, Heartwater
Abnormal Milk: Mastitis, Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis (CAE), Enterotoxemia
Anaemia: Coccidiosis, Barber pole worm, Blood Parasite –(Anaplasmosis), Lice, Fleas or Ticks, Caseous lymphadenitis, Tuberculosis (M. tuberculosis), Copper Deficiency, Babesiosis (Red Water), Flukes or Flatworms (Internal Parasite), Stomach and Intestine Roundworms, Trypanosomiasis
Anorexia: Caseous lymphadenitis, Listeriosis, Mastitis, Pregnancy toxemia (ketosis), Urolithiasis (Water belly/cystitis), Pneumonia, Contagious Caprine Pleuropneumonia
Bad Odour: Footrot, Coccidiosis
Blindness: Enterotoxemia, Coccidiosis (Internal Parasite), Polioencephalomalacia
Bloat: Acidosis, Urea poisoning
Blood in Milk: Mastitis
Blood in Urine: Urolithiasis (Water Belly/cystitis), Babesiosis (red water)
Blood loss: Lice, Stomach and Intestine Roundworms
Bloody Diarrhea: Anthrax, Enterotoxemia, Coccidiosis (internal parasite), Nairobi Sheep Disease
Bottle Jaw: Liver Fluke, (Barber pole worm), Parasitic gastroenteritis, Stomach and Intestine Roundworms
Constipation: Tapeworm, Milk Fever
Circular Lesions (face, shoulder, neck, eyes): fungus
Coughing or Sneezing: Tuberculosis (M. tuberculosis), Verminous Pneumonia (Dictyocaulus filaria), Pneumonia, Contagious Caprine Pleuropneumonia, Melioidosis
Constant Bleating: Bloat
Dandruff on the Skin: Mange (Sarcoptes, Demodatic and Psoroptes)
Dehydration: Coccidiosis, Acidosis, Barber pole worm, Peste Des Petits Ruminants
Depression: Listeriosis, Mastitis, Pregnancy toxemia (ketosis), Urolithiasis (Water Belly/cystitis), Encephalomalacia (PEM) /Polioencephalomalacia (PEM), Rabies, Pneumonia, Anthrax, Colibacillosis (Scours), Johne’s Disease, Melioidosis, Milk Fever, Enterotoxemia, Babesiosis (red water), Heartwater
Diarrhoea/Scours: Enterotoxemia, Coccidiosis, Chlamydial Abortion, Johne’s Disease (M. Paratuberculosis), Liver Fluke, (Barber pole worm)-Parasitic gastroenteritis, Tapeworm, Brucellosis, Acidosis, Stomach and Intestine Roundworms, Peste Des Petits Ruminants
Discharge from eye (Ocular discharge): Pinkeye, Verminous pneumonia (Dictyocaulus filaria), contagious Agalactia
Dizziness: Insecticides (Aldrin, Endrin Chlordane and Dieldrin)
Drooping Ears: Listeriosis
Dry Patches on Skin: Fungal Disease (Ringworm), Mange
Excessive Salivation: Listeriosis, Allergies/Insect Stings, Rabies
Fever: Caseous lymphadenitis, Mastitis, Coccidiosis, Goat Pox, Hemorrhagic Septicaemia (P. multocida), Tuberculosis (M. tuberculosis), Pneumonia, Anthrax, contagious Agalactia, contagious Caprine Pleuropneumonia, Listeriosis, Melioidosis, Babesiosis (Red Water), Heartwater, Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), Nairobi Sheep Disease
Frothing (Foaming from the mouth): Rabies, Bloat, contagious Caprine Pleuropneumonia
Grinding of Teeth: Coccidiosis
Hair loss: Mange (Sarcoptes, Demodatic and Psoroptes), Ringworm (Fungus)
Head Pressing: Enterotoxemia
Inflammation between the toes: Footrot, Contagious Ecthyma
Inflammation of hair follicles: Ringworm (Fungus)
Itching: Lice, Mange
Lameness: Footrot, Foot and Mouth Diseases Virus, Brucellosis
Lethargic: Barber pole worm, Mastitis, Acidosis, Urolithiasis (Water belly)
Lies down/Unable to rise: Grass Staggers, Pregnancy Toxemia, Enterotoxemia
Loss of Appetite: Coccidiosis, Anthrax, Mastitis, Rabies, Contagious Agalactia, Johne’s Disease, Listeriosis, Melioidosis, Bloat, Encephalomalacia/Polioencephalomalacia (PEM), Urolithiasis (Water belly), Heartwater, Peste Des Petits Ruminants, Goat Pox
Low Milk Reproduction: Barber pole worm, Footrot, Contagious Ecthyma, Coccidiosis, Caseous Lymphadenitis (CL), Copper deficiency, Johne’s Disease, Streptothricosis, Bloat, (Blood Parasite)-Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis (Red Water), Lice, Stomach and Intestine Roundworms, Rabies, Rift Valley Fever
Low Reproduction: (Blood Parasite)-Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis (Red Water)
Lumps: Mange
Nasal Discharge: Verminous Pneumonia (Dictyocaulus filaria), Pneumonia, contagious Caprine Pleuropneumonia, Melioidosis, Nairobi Sheep Disease, Peste Des Petits Ruminants, Goat Pox
Nervous/Trembling: Grass Staggers
Painful Urination: Urolithiasis (Water belly)

Pale Mucus Membrane: Barber pole worm
Paralysis/partial paralysis: Listeriosis
Poor Growth: Coccidiosis, Barber pole worm, Soremouth, Babesiosis (Red Water), Flukes or flatworms (internal parasite), Lice, stomach and intestine Roundworms
Red Eyes: Pink Eye
Rough or Dull Hair Coats: Coccidiosis, Baber pole worm, Liver Fluke, Copper deficiency, Johne’s Disease, Scrapie, Goat Pox
Salivation/Seizures: Rabies, Encephalomalacia/ Polioencephalomalacia (PEM), Listeriosis
Scab or blisters by mouth: Contagious Ecthyma (Soremouth), Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), Peste Des Petits Ruminants, Goat Pox
Scabs (Body): Mange, Goat Pox
Severe Itching: Mange
Small Blisters (toes): Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD)
Sore Anus: Anthrax
Sore Vulva: Anthrax
Sores (Eyes): Contagious Ecthyma (Soremouth)
Sores (Scrotum): Contagious Ecthyma (Soremouth)
Sores (Vulva): Contagious Ecthyma (Soremouth)
Sores Cheek: Rift Valley Fever
Sores Tongue: Rift Valley Fever
Sores (Ears): Contagious Ecthyma (Soremouth)
Strain to Urinate: Urolithiasis (Water belly)
Swallow Belly/Hay belly: Liver Fluke
Swollen Joints: Brucellosis, Contagious Agalactia, Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis Syndrome
Swollen Testicles: Brucellosis
Tremors: Urea poisoning, Copper deficiency, Enterotoxemia, Scrapie
Udder Swelling: Mastitis, contagious Agalactia
Ulcerative Lesions (Inside Lower Lips/Gums): Peste Des Petits Ruminants
Usual Discharge from Vagina: Mastitis
Vomits: Milk Fever
Weight Loss/Off Feed: Footrot, Caseous lymphadenitis, Stomach and Intestine Roundworms, Johne’s Disease (M. Paratuberculosis), Tuberculosis (M. tuberculosis), Copper deficiency, Streptothricosis, Barber pole worm, Coccidiosis (Internal parasite), Trypanosomiasis, Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis Syndrome
Worms: Barber pole worm, Flukes or Flatworms (internal parasite), Stomach and Intestine roundworms, Ringworm, Tapeworm

By Prairie View A&M University