Can Goats Throw up?

It’s normal for goats to regurgitate their food, as that is the way the rumen works. Their cud is fibrous materials that need to be chewed twice. However, because they regurgitate, does that mean they can also throw up? And if they throw up, what does that even mean.

If your goat begins to throw up, that means there is something seriously wrong. A goat’s esophagus is surrounded by strong muscles, in order for them to throw up those muscles have to relax greatly. It is not normal for goats to throw up, so they need to be seen by a vet immediately.

So, a goat throwing up is not a good sign. However, why would they throw up, and how can you prevent that from happening? Let’s explore this together and how to fix it.

Why Would a Goat Throw Up?

Throwing up is a normal reaction for humans, as they are trying to get rid of whatever is bothering them, which is somewhat similar for goats. However, your goat(s) would be eating something poisonous that you haven’t given them that would cause them to throw up irregularly. Just to note, throwing up isn’t necessarily normal for a goat to do. It’s a good thing their body is trying to throw up, but it also is a sign they’ve eaten something they shouldn’t have and they need to be seen by a vet in order to receive the proper help.

More often than not, a goat may begin to throw up because it has eaten something that it doesn’t agree with or is toxic. Believe it or not, azaleas and rhododendrons are actually extremely poisonous to goats, and can kill them if the goats are allowed into a garden or are free range in a new pasture. A goat may eat something that could be poisonous because a). they are either exploring with their mouth, which is something that is normal for them to do, or b). they are hungry and will eat something out of necessity. It’s important to put a goat on a schedule and make sure that they are fed if they are not pasture grazing.

Azaleas and Rhododendrons

When a goat has eaten an azalea, they will begin to experience stomach pains and extreme bloating. Once they become bloated, they will start to vomit to try and get the toxins out. However, this is not the worst of it. After a few short hours, their heart will begin to be beat out of rhythm, followed by neurological impairment alongside convulsions that will soon lead to death if not caught and taken to a vet.

Often times, this is not something that can be treated by a vet, as the toxins that have been ingested and are absorbed quickly once they are eaten. Giving them olive oil will coat the goat’s stomach and prevent more of the toxins from being absorbed. It is likely that if one goat has eaten these most if not all of the have, so it would be best to treat all of them while contacting the vet.

How to Treat a Sick Goat

There are a few ways of treating a sick goat that is throwing up. To help alleviate their stress, try feeding them some olive oil. What the olive oil is going to do is coat the stomach so that the toxins don’t get absorbed and are unable to move through the digestive tract. Even giving them a little bit of some crushed up charcoal will bind the toxins together while the olive oil coats the stomach. If you know that they haven’t eaten anything toxic, consider giving them some water so that they will relax and push out whatever is causing them to throw up.

If you’re goat is not eating, but is throwing up whatever they’re eating, it could be a sign of either anorexia, or they have a disease that is preventing them from gaining weight and they are throwing up whatever they have eaten. Anorexia isn’t extremely common among goats, but could be a loss of appetite, which is voluntary, but is important to contact a vet in order to get an idea of how to help them and what could be the cause. A disease can be something that involves their bowels, which can either prevent them from eating or if they do eat they throw up. Be aware of their diet and make sure to monitor what they eat and where they are allowed to go to prevent them from eating something poisonous or getting a disease.

After a goat is all done throwing up, they should immediately be given yogurt, which will help restore gut flora. The flora in the gut is not only what aids in digestion but also helps in regulating the food that goes in and out of the goat. Make sure that they drink plenty of water to keep them hydrated and not weak. A dehydrated goat means they won’t be absorbing the proper nutrients to stay healthy and be energetic.

How to Help Avoid a Goat Throwing Up

The best, and possibly the most easiest way, to avoid your goat from throwing up is to regulate their food intake. Pasture grazing goats may have a higher tendency of eating something that could possibly hurt them, so making sure to regulate the pasture and be aware of their behavior will help in preventing them from eating something bad. Never have fertilizers in your pasture, or have overflow from other fields contaminating the water that your goat(s) drink. These are easier to control, and protecting your goat from these is simple.

Epsom salts are a great way to help a constipated goat go to the bathroom more easily. Make sure that you know what they’ve eaten before you give them any Epsom salts to push through whatever they ate. Epsom salts help to alleviate the gas built up in a goat, which will help a sick goat from throwing up.

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