This is a "story" about how one of our does went down-hill last winter.
Cloudy is one of our very sweet Saanen/Alpine does. When we got her in the Summer of last year (2009), she was fat, beautiful and full of fur. Then, it slowly turned into winter and things started to go downhill. She started to become a bit depressed and was slowly losing her appetite. Then a couple weeks later, I noticed that some of the hair on her neck was gone. Over the course of several days, the fur on her neck and under her jaw was almost completely gone. We thought, "Well, it must be mange or some kind of skin fungus". So I went on a massive search for a "cure" to her problem. She had a few of the symptoms for "Sarcoptic Mange". Reading that, we isolated her from the rest of the herd and went to the CO-OP to buy a fungal skin spray to put on her neck. That didn't help, in fact, it seemed to get worse! Then I bought a paste for mange, that didn't help either!
(See pic above - click to enlarge)
And to make matters worse, she was pregnant! I was concerned about the kids and her health. Every day, I was making up my own little drench solution of various herbs and vitamins, and it still wasn't helping.
So the time came for her to kid (give birth). Thankfully, our more experienced friends were over to help us with the birth. She had a 14-15 hour labor and then gave birth to 2 beautiful, healthy kids! We were SO thankful!! But, Cloudy wound up with a "C" shaped spine. Other than that and her skin problems, she seemed fine. I wormed her with Cydectin after the birth (which is what I had been using for the past few months and not been rotating with any other wormers). A couple days after her birth, our friends came up with the idea that it might be a Copper deficiency. We were willing to try ANYTHING to cure her at this point! So we got 4 Copper bolluses and did a little "treatment" on her. I gave her 2 bolluses one day and then 10 days later, gave her the other 2.
It was like 2 weeks after I gave her the copper that she just sprung back to life and started to gain weight again. That was pretty exciting to say the least.
This year, she had the same sort of thing show its ugly head. That's when we did a fecal sample and it turned out that she had the "Strongyloid" worm strain. I immediately treated her for it with SafeGuard and she's getting better already! I'm just thankful we caught it really early. Cydectin will NOT kill this type of worm! Copper can actually temporarily lessen the worm population in the goat's system, and that's why she got better for a while.
Here's what I did and all you goat owners should do too: Take 2 berries (poop) from 3-4 goats that you most concerned about in your herd and mix the berries together. Then take the one whole sample to the vet (it was only $12 at my vet) and get it tested. If one goat has it, your whole herd most likely has it!
Side-Note (not for the squeemish): You may have to extract the berries manually (not fun). To do this, put one finger in the goat's rectum until you feel ball-like things, then curl your finger and try not to lose the berry. This is very difficult for a beginner, so just be patient and you'll get it in no time! The goat will not appreciate this either :)
Anyway, it was a good learning experience for all of us and we'll probably use it in the future.