January 28, 2021

Make a first aid kit for sheep, goats

Veterinarian encourages farmers to be prepared

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — A livestock first aid kit is a good tool in case of accidents on the farm.

Veterinarian Kirk Hubbard shared advice for making a first aid kit during a webinar hosted by Purdue Extension.

First aid may be needed for trauma, infection or parasitism, he said.

Supply list example: dressings, honey for wounds and burns, betadine for wounds, clean towels, triple antibiotic ointment, Epsom salts for foot rot or abscesses, baking soda for bloat, bandage scissors, hoof trimmers, Karo syrup for kidding, lambing or ketosis, and thermometer.

Flashlights, pens, veterinary contact info and latex gloves are also a good idea.

“My No. 1 item for every first aid kit, there needs to be a thermometer,” Hubbard said. “It needs to be there. When an owner calls and says their goat isn’t doing well, one of the first questions will be ‘what is the temperature?’ Have that information ready for the veterinarian.”

Farmers should talk to their veterinarian to make a plan, he said.

What you have in the first aid kit will differ depending on what medicines you administer versus the veterinarian.

You may wish to include colostrum and milk replacers, deworming medication, syringes and needles, CDT vaccines, Bo-Se and Probios supplements, udder ointment and other items in the kit.

“Good nutrition is key to herd management,” Hubbard said. “A lot of bacterial and viral and fungal (problems) can be really eliminated via good herd management. Dog fights and coyote attacks are unfortunate, but that’s something you can’t predict or prevent.

“Nutrition is really key here. It’s based on our age, herd goals and the seasons.”

6 Herd Health Tips

1. Maintain an adequate diet. Supply fresh water, trace minerals and salt. This can prevent polioencephalomalacia.

2. Keep feeders above ground. Pan or ground feeding increases transmission of parasites via fecal oral route.

3. Maintain clean, dry, well-ventilated housing. This decreases pneumonia, parasite and feet problems.

4. Trim feet as needed — monthly in some cases — to decrease foot rot.

5. Keep records including birth date, breeding dates, tattoo and vaccination list.

6. Test for TB, Brucellosis, Johne’s and CAE as your program demands.

When in doubt, call your veterinarian. Don’t hesitate to send photos and detailed information.

The more information you provide your vet, the better, Hubbard said.

If you haven’t found a veterinarian, visit www.aasrp.org for resources.

Erica Quinlan

Field Editor