Signs of Illness in Goats

If you have goats, we probably don’t have to tell you that they can be both hilarious and outspoken. However, no matter how loud Billy is, he won’t be able to tell you if they don’t feel well, so it’s up to you to watch for signs of sickness. A Westminster, MD vet lists a few of them below.


As mentioned above, goats aren’t exactly our quietest patients. Billy will normally yell at you to tell you what he’s doing, to demand supper, or just to say hello. However, if your goat isn’t feeling well, he may be unusually quiet. Sick goats also often sound different, almost as though they are crying.

Abnormal Posture

If Billy isn’t feeling well, he may stand in a stiff or hunched over position. He might keep his head pressed to a wall, fence, or tree. Sick goats also sometimes tremble, and/or let their tails droop.

Digestive Issues

Diarrhea is often a red flag in goats. A swollen belly can also indicate illness, as can a lack of appetite and a refusal to chew cud.


Like any other animals, goats do enjoy a good nap. However, Billy should hop up to greet you, especially if he suspects you have food or treats for him. A goat that is just lying around listlessly may be ill.

Unusual Behavior

Goats are herd animals by nature, and are always happiest when they are around their buddies. However, just like people, they often keep to themselves if they don’t feel well. A goat that has isolated himself from the herd could be sick. Billy may also get up and down repeatedly.

Respiratory Issues

Another thing to watch for is thick or greenish discharge from Billy’s nose. Coughing, wheezing, and sneezing are also warning signs, as are panting and shallow or distressed breathing.


If Billy’s fur looks matted, patchy, or dull, he could be sick. Greyish eyelids are also a red flag.


Pay close attention to your goats, and get to know them. The more familiar you are with your hooved buddies, the easier it will be for you to spot any potential signs of sickness early on. If you notice anything amiss with a goat, immediately quarantine that animal and contact your vet.

Please contact us, your Westminster, MD vet hospital, anytime. We are dedicated to providing excellent veterinary care.

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