Goat going bald!
Help! Cuzco is losing his hair by the bucketload! Two weeks ago he was shedding normally (undercoat coming out first and only a few guard hairs coming loose with brushing). Then about a week ago I noticed him losing his guard hairs (unusual this early), and I also noticed him coming in every morning with the hair on his flanks sticking up like he'd been itching at it even though I don't think he's been able to reach that spot for several years. When I went to smooth the hair back down, it came out in a clump. It was sticking out because it wasn't attached. 

In the last couple of days the rest of his coat has started coming out at an alarming rate. He's got bald patches on both sides of his back just behind the withers, both flanks, and in a few miscellaneous other places as well. This has come on very, very suddenly even though I can't think of any recent changes that would cause this. I gave him a dose of ivermectin in case it's parasites, but I'm wondering if there might be other reasons for him to lose all this hair at once. I did read that zinc deficiency can cause sudden widespread hair loss and that too much calcium in the diet can interfere with zinc absorption. Cuzco is at the point in his life where his diet consists mostly of late cutting alfalfa and alfalfa pellets since he can't chew grass hay. 

Does this type of hair loss sound more consistent with a parasite problem or a mineral imbalance? Or could it even be stress-related? Only recently Cuzco quit actively defending his place as herd king and is avoiding confrontations with Finn. I've read that sudden hair loss sometimes goes hand-in-hand with stress. What do ya'll think?
Nan, this sounds like more than just parasites. If Cuzco isn't defending his place in the herd then there's more to it. I recommend you draw blood and have your vet do a complete profile ASAP.
Goatberries Happen!
He's so old it could be anything. Or anything complicating something or nothing. For instance, if its mites, they exist probably because he is so old and his immune system is creaky. If its metabolism, its because he's old. If its stress, in the end, its because he's old. Quite frankly at this point it sounds like he just needs some kind of help keeping warm (I've seen the weather this week) and see what happens. Trying to sleuth the cause is probably too complicated due to the goat being 100 in goat years.

Obviously I also agree with Taffy. Something has changed. Due to him being a special goat I'd just haul his highness down to the vet for a quick look. Blood work. Beyond that, though, I mean. What can you do? He's ancient.
I'm not sure what a blood profile on a goat would cost, but it was way too much when we had one done on our dog last year (and naturally because it was expensive it told us nothing useful). I'm not sure I want to pour that much money into a goat who is (as Charlie Horse puts it) 100 years old. He's very special, of course, but I'm kind of thinking that a vet isn't going to do much more than shrug and tell me that everything breaks down in old age. I don't mind doing things like deworming, supplementing or changing diet or minerals, etc., but if it's something serious like liver failure we're not going to take any measures to prolong the inevitable.

I'm hoping that as spring progresses and the soft grass comes in Cuzco will start putting on more weight and being more himself again. He doesn't seem unhappy or in pain, but he's on the thin side. I'm disappointed because his coat was unusually thick and sleek this past winter. It's definitely alarming to see it go from such luxuriousness to falling out in clumps all at once! He hasn't acted "off" in any other way. He's eating well, going for regular 3-mile walks, and still rules the roost even though I notice he doesn't actively seek out dominance fights with Finn lately (like for the past month or two). Cuzco will still beat Finn (or any other goat) that gets in his way, but Cuzco is definitely making a point to avoid getting into those confrontations in the first place.

Speaking of Finn and Cuzco, we saw a funny incident on our walk today. Finn went racing past Cuzco and you could tell he was thinking about clipping Cuzco with a horn on his way by. But Cuzco heard him coming, cocked his head ever so slightly, and gave Finn the ol' hairy eyeball. Gravel flew as Finn backpedaled furiously and swerved out of Cuzco's reach just in time. So yes, Cuzco is definitely still King of the herd, but when I am sending him through a gate and Finn is standing on the other side, Cuzco has recently stopped plowing into Finn and pushing him out of the way. Nowadays Cuzco just skirts around him. Finn doesn't challenge Cuzco's passage, but he doesn't move out of the way either. I'm sure that seeing his days on top numbered has got to be emotionally challenging for the poor old fella. I hope it's not so stressful that it's making him go bald!
having old ones, as well, I'd look at skin fungus (normally the bald patches are circular at first and then spread widely) and would supplement zinc as well. Has he bald circles around his eyes (zinc)? Tips of ears going bald (zinc again)?
Sabine from Germany
[Image: zoVgi.gif]

Hello Nanno
Sorry to hear about what is going on with Cozco.
Here is a though from horse experience "Cushings Syndrome"
I have no idea if it affects goats.
Hormonal imbalance, that can affect hair coat, body condition.
In horses a blood workup can usually detect hormone deficiency, but I don't know if there is a "Standard" for goats.
As you well know there is a lack of good research on goats outside of the very basics.
As mentioned in other post above it could be a combination of Old Age,Parasites and Hormone imbalance.
A tough combination even in a old horse that vet's know more about how the body works.
I wish you and Cozco the best.
Happy Trails
hihobaron Pete and Sam
What about getting a dose of Multimin 90 from your vet or from another goat owner? A lot of goat owners are using it and have had excellent success with it. http://www.multiminusa.com/
Goatberries Happen!
(03-28-2016, 10:45 PM)Sanhestar Wrote: having old ones, as well, I'd look at skin fungus (normally the bald patches are circular at first and then spread widely) and would supplement zinc as well. Has he bald circles around his eyes (zinc)? Tips of ears going bald (zinc again)?

I've dealt with skin fungus before (Cuzco got it and gave it to me a few years ago--oh joy!), and this doesn't look anything like that. These patches aren't circular, and this didn't really "start out" as anything--it just began happening all at once over most of his body, but especially around the flanks and behind his shoulder blades (right where a packsaddle would sit). His head, ears, and tail do not yet seem to be affected. No circles around the eyes. 

I do wonder about a sudden hormone change as Hihobaron suggests. You don't usually think of hormones affecting castrated animals, but it's easy to forget that they do still have thyroids and pituitary glands. I read that does will sometimes lose all their hair at once after kidding because of sudden hormone changes. 

This hair loss has started so suddenly that I have a hard time thinking it could be solely due to parasites or a nutritional imbalance. I should *think* those things would progress somewhat more slowly, but I could be wrong.

I'd like to avoid giving a mineral shot because of the selenium content. One of the possibilities I did not mention is selenium toxicity. Vets in this area seldom recommend shots containing selenium because it has been known to kill. Cuzco has lost hair from selenium poisoning in the past, but I dismissed it this time because it always affected him in May/June once the weeds were in (not really an issue now that he can no longer chew weeds), and it also affected the hair on his spine first and worked down from there. So far this hair loss is on either side of the spine and below. Still, even if his selenium levels are ok right now, I try to be very careful of his intake because once they get too much in their system they are prone to becoming toxic very easily for the rest of their lives.
around flanks and behind shoulders - had this this year, too. It was parasites in our case.
Sabine from Germany
[Image: zoVgi.gif]

It would be nice if this is just parasites. The ivermectin should do the trick in that case. I had to blanket Cuzco tonight because his coat is so thin. I hardly had to blanket him all winter even during snowstorms and now I have to blanket him for a mildly blustery night in spring!

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