Every veterinarian has a particular species they tend to prefer over the others. For some it’s dogs for others it’s camels and for most it’s cows. This scale of preference is greatly influenced by exposure to a particular species, most veterinarians will tend towards a particular species because they have been exposed in terms of restraint and management. Despite my love for dogs and cats, I recently found out that I have a soft spot for goats too. Goats have a reputation for being hardy animals, they can survive harsh drought due to their diet which consists of almost anything. Unlike cows and sheep which are grazers, goats are browsers. They browse on the tips of woody shrubs,weeds and trees and are very particular on what they consume, no wonder their meat is very tasty!
Goats can be kept for their hides and skins, meat, milk or as pets. Furthermore in some countries, goats are used to control weeds in tea plantations. They are let out into tea plantations where they eat the weeds but not the tea due to the bitter taste of tea leaves. Their droppings are often used as manure. The gestation period of the doe (female goat) is about 150 days which is about 5 months. The young ones of a goat are called kids and are very playful and good with kids (human kids).
Goats, like all other animal species are prone to diseases. The commonest diseases affecting them include the following;
- Pneumonia (CCPP)
- PPR (Peste Des Petits Ruminants)
- Sore Mouth Infection (Orf)
Management in terms of disease prevention and treatment involves an intergrated herd health program with a veterinarian. These include things like the control of endoparasites (worms,protozoa) and ectoparasites (ticks, mites) through regular deworming and dipping. Regular check ups and routine vaccination against diseases. Goats are very prone to tetanus hence should be vaccinated against it. Another common disease affecting goats is Brucellosis which is also a zoonotic disease(can be transmitted from goats to man through milk) and has a vaccine. Hoof cleaning and trimming should also be done on a regular basis to prevent foot-rot especially during the rainy season.
I now want to see whether this new found love will last a lifetime.