All animals can get infections, disorders, and diseases of the eyes including goats. Keeping the eyes clear of infections and diseases is important for the overall health of this unique animal. Cancers and tumors of the eyes can occur in goats. However, there are several other eye diseases that are more common that can become troublesome for goats and their owners.
Infectious keratoconjunctivitis or pink eye is one of the most common eye illnesses seen in goats. Pink eye is quite contagious and should be considered a serious eye disease. There are several causes of pink eye in goats including viruses, bacterial infections, poor diet and even stress. Underlying problems such as Chlamydia sometimes begins with a bout of pink eye.
This menacing condition typically begins with red puffy or swollen eyes that may produce a runny discharge from the eyes. As the illness progresses, the cornea will cloud over and the goat may start to become blind. When pink eye is left untreated, the goat can suffer anything from complete blindness to an infection that travels throughout the body leading to death.
An inflammation found in both humans and animals, blepharitis is sometimes associated with pink eye. A genetic condition seen in goats known as "entropion" can lead to blepharitis, a highly treatable infection. Blepharitis can show the same symptoms as pink eye including red, swollen eyes. However, blepharitis can include eyelid spasms and the loss of hair near and around the eyes including the eyelashes.
Veterinarians place blepharitis into three categories: parasitic, solar, and allergic. Parasitic is typically related to animals with mange, solar is seen with animals considered as "albino", while allergic blepharitis is related to different allergies. Blepharitis is treatable with prescriptions obtained from a veterinarian.
Entropion is a disorder of the eyelids which can be painful to goats. The eyelid or both eyelids are reversed (turned inward) causing the lashes to scrape the eye. Goats can either be born with entropion or it can be caused from an injury to the eye. Blepharitis is commonly associated with entropion and both of these disorders are frequently mistaken for pink eye. This disorder requires veterinarian care to reverse the eyelids.
Goats, like many animals, can be born with blindness. However, there are several diseases and illnesses that can lead to blindness and should be monitored closely. Poisoning from lead, pesticides, and some plants have lead to blindness. Diseases such as pregnancy toxemia and Vitamin A deficiencies can also cause blindness in goats. It is important to treat the underlying disease or illness before blindness occurs if possible.
Owners who suspect an eye problem should seek veterinarian treatment for their goat. When these diseases are left untreated, the goat can suffer life-long disorders and perhaps cut short the goat's lifespan.