Arthritis is a disease that will be familiar to most people because an elderly relative suffers from it. But it is also a variety of animals too, such as goats. The disease involves damage to the muscles, ligaments, and cartilage associated with the joints and can be very painful and debilitating. Arthritis in goats can be caused by trauma, infections, genetics, or just plain old age. Treatment for arthritis in goats could involve the use of various medications such as antibiotics and anti-inflammatories. But there are also preventative steps that should be taken that will hopefully lead to the condition not developing in the first place.
Normally a joint will be flexible and the padding at the end of the bones, known as cartilage, will be intact. But for various reasons damage can occur to the muscles, ligaments, and cartilage in these areas. One possibility is trauma, where too much strain has been placed on the tissue. Damage to the tissue can also be the result of various infections, including those of viral and bacterial origins.
Another possibility is some form of genetic disease. The diet of the goat can also be important. A nutritional deficiency can lead to arthritis appearing. Specifically this can happen when there is an excessive amount of calcium in the goat’s diet. In some cases there is no single thing that can be said to be the cause. But rather it is down to the cumulative effect of years of general wear and tear.
The key symptoms that appear in cases of arthritis in goats include inflammation and pain in the tissues of the affected joint. The goat can be stiff and can become lame. The animal will move around less, and even then will have difficultly moving normally. The condition may also lead to lower milk yield and poor coat. Diagnosing the condition will take into account all of these symptoms. A vet may also examine the joint and perform radiograph and serological tests.
If a bacterial infection is found to be causing the problem then antibiotics could be used. Whilst anti-virals might be needed for a viral infection. Anti-inflammatory drugs may also be prescribed. But preventative steps should have been taken long before this to lower the risk of arthritis appearing. A clean, uncrowded, environment for the goat is a great help in this respect. Goats should also be tested regularly for agents known to cause arthritis such as caprine arthritis encephalitis virus (CAEV).