Bottle Jaw

Bottle Jaw, in the words of Dr. Ralph Noble of Tuskegee University, is a result of ‘worm overload.’

Bottle Jaw is actually edema, fluid that collects, in this case, underneath the chin of the goat.

When we bought Julie, a well-marked, overly friendly percentage doe, in Aug 2001, we immediately wormed her before getting her off the truck and into our quarantine pen. About 2 weeks later we determined she still had parasites, so we wormed her again, using a different ‘family’ of wormer. Two weeks later we noticed the beginning of a bulge underneath her jaw – checked her again for worms – and wormed her again. This regime went on for almost 3 months. The edema continued to enlarge, and her gums continued to get more and more pale. But, she never came off feed and never appeared to be losing weight. Unfortunately, she was of an age where she should have been in a growth spurt.

After almost 4 months of our treatment, this sweet doe she started to go down hill. Her coat lost its luster, and her appetite started to wane. When she became lethargic and started to lose weight, we realized we were out of our league and took her to the vet. Our instruction to Dr Galbraith: either cure her or put her down. We did not want her to suffer.

He did a fecal analysis and announced she had coccidiosis, a higher than preferred parasite load, and anemia. In addition, she was severely dehydrated.

For the next 10 days, Julie was on an IV at the vet’s office. We got progress reports daily. At first the reports were guarded; she was not responding to treatment. Then we noticed a tone of optimism. Finally he called and told us to come get her – but medication would need to be administrated for the next three weeks.

When we picked her up, the swelling had decreased, her coat texture was improving, and we thought we detected a twinkle in her eyes. At any rate, she was happy to be going home.

For the first five days she was home, still in the quarantine pen, she was given an antibiotic, IM. In addition, she was given vitamins (Fortified Vitamin B Complex) every other day for three weeks and given Red Cell orally twice a week for three weeks. The Red Cell must taste absolutely horrible because Julie would sling her head for several minutes trying to get it out of her mouth.

By the end of her first month at home, the bottle jaw (edema) had gone away, her coat was nice and shiny/slick, and she had dark pink gums. She was gaining weight and the vet pronounced her healthy. Finally she got to join the herd.

She has since kidded twice - 3 girls and a boy, all correctly marked, healthy kids. We plan to use her this fall in a receipt. After all she’s just a percentage does, but she has excellent mothering ability.

We have found that Julie is more proned to parasites than most of our other does. Whenever we do a spot check for parasites, we include Julie more than any other.

Since our experience with Julie, we’ve made a effort to learn not only how to prevent bottlejaw, but also how to ‘cure’ it.

To prevent Bottle Jaw, always check fecals to determine if you wormer is working.

Should one of our goats become anemic due to an overload of parasites, we immediately start them on Geritol – we give an adult does (5cc) once a day for three days, then every other day for a week. We also give 3cc to 5cc (depending on size of goat) doses of Fortified Vitamin B Complex, 2cc Vitamin A, D, E and 2cc BoSe. We have heard of people giving human Vitamin E caplets once a day for two weeks, but have not tried this yet.

Another ‘remedy’ for anemia is ‘Magic.’ We do not know the origin of the ‘Magic’ recipe because many people on the Internet goat – chat lists claim it, publish it, and use it. To mix up a batch of ‘Magic,’ use one part corn oil (DO NOT substitute with vegetable oil, olive oil or canola), one part molasses and two parts Karo Syrup. Give 2 oz. 4 times a day.


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Ken and Pat Motes
Clear Creek Farms
33 South Clear Creek Road
Fall River, Tennessee 38468
Phone: (931) 852-2167
Fax: (931) 852-2168


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