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Lung Sickness


  • Pneumonia may be caused by many bacteria and viruses, as well as parasites (primarily lungworms)
  • Allergic reactions.
  • The broad term, pneumonia, is used to describe infectious or noninfectious causes of inflammation of the lungs.
  • The disease may be very acute (causing sickness and death in a few hours) or chronic (continuing for years).


  • Symptoms are fever, runny nose, dry or wet cough, and changes in the rate and type of breathing (which may be shallow or labored).
  • In severe cases, the goat will breathe through an open mouth.
  • If lungs are painful, the goat will not want to move and may grunt when breathing.


  • Pneumonia is usually caused by organisms in the goat’s surroundings and begins with some type of stress. Probably the most common stress for goats is that caused by poor or no ventilation in their housing.
  • Air flow to keep humidity low is very important in prevention of goat pneumonia.
  • If you see moisture condensing in the shelter (small beads of water on the roof or pen) or smell ammonia, the ventilation is poor.
  • By opening an area near the highest part of the roof or along the side of the barn, you can remove much of the moisture by letting the wet, jot air escape from the building.
  • Gases, however, may be heavier than air, and may have too be ventilated out through the bottom of the shelter.
  • In most climates, a goat requires only a shelter from the rain, a windbreak, and adequate access to sunshine if they are to be stabled.


  • Treatment consists primarily of good care, warm well-ventilated (but not drafty) quarters in an area where the animal can be handled gently for treatment.
  • Intravenous or intramuscular administration of antibiotics or sulfa drugs is necessary.
  • Fresh feed and water should be easily available to avoid unnecessary movement.


  • Available bacterial vaccines have not been very successful. Proper ventilation, moisture, and gas control are the most important aspects in preventing pneumonia in goats.


  • 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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