- An allergy is a reaction to a substance (usually a protein) with which it has had previous contact and to which the body has developed an immune sensitivity. Many substances can cause an allergic reaction with varying degrees of severity. Some examples are pollens or other plant proteins, insect stings, many drugs and biological substances such as antisera, vaccines, or antibiotics.
- Common causes of allergies are feeds, injections, applications to the skin, and insect bites.
- Severe generalized symptoms such as sudden collapse, coma, and death may appear from allergies/insect stings.
- Less severe and more common symptoms may include:
- Respiratory distress (difficulty breathing)
- Heart irregularities
- Excessive saliva flows from the mouth or tears from the eyes
- Mild to severe itching,
- Lumps (hives) that appear on the skin suddenly
- Hair standing erect
- Swelling of tissues with fluid retention (edema)
- Red areas on the skin
- Many times the allergic reaction is dose related: small doses cause small reactions and large doses cause severe shock or even death. These reactions can occur almost immediately after contact or up to 3 weeks later.
- Immediate removal of the animal from its surroundings because the allergen is usually nearby
- If the suspected allergen was applied to the skin, wash the animal with soap and water
- Do not wash the goat in a river: the allergen could kill fish or contaminate the water supply.
- If the goat is dying, epinephrine should be given immediately; intravenously or subcutaneously
- Doses of antihistamines and corticosteroids injected or taken orally usually produce a dramatic response, completely reversing or greatly reducing the severity of the symptoms.
- To prevent further recurrence, do not place the animal in the same environment or use the same products.
Source 1: Thedford, Thomas R. Goat Health Handbook: A Field Guide for Producers with Limited Veterinary Services. Morrilton, AR: Winrock International, 1983. Print.
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