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Why Do Goats Cough? What to Look for When a Goat Coughs

You might hear your goat give a little cough, and while it can be normal for a cough here and there, if it gets worse or is accompanied by a runny nose, it can be a serious matter.  Don’t fret. There are many reasons your goat might be coughing, but not all are alarming.

Significant causes of goat cough and runny noses include pneumonia or other upper respiratory infections. The minor causes include eating dusty/moldy hay, exposure to too much dust and the common cold. Luckily these can all be treated quite easily before they get worse.

Here we talk about the different causes of coughing in goats and how to treat each one. We also take a look at the symptoms to look for. 

What Causes Goats to Cough and Have a Runny Nose?

There are several factors that can cause goats to cough. Some are uncontrollable and some are related to the conditions in which they live.

Here are some of the most common conditions that can cause your goat to cough, sneeze or have a runny nose.


It’s no secret that pneumonia can kill goats, but only if the owner doesn’t recognize the symptoms or know how to treat it. You will be able to save your goat if caught early. 

In the case of pneumonia, prevention is the key! If your goats are well looked after, you may never experience pneumonia or its severe symptoms.

If your goat exhibits any of these pneumonia symptoms, you should be very proactive:

  • Having a fever
  • Deficiency of energy
  • Dehydration
  • Consumption of water or appetite decreases
  • Nasal congestion (mucous that is yellow or green in colour)
  • An ongoing cough (sounds more like a full cough than a dry cough)
  • Standing difficulty
  • Anaemia
  • The stools are strangely shaped
  • Losing weight
  • Diarrhoea

Goats are happier when they have things to play with. Look through these Goat Toys on Amazon for inventive feeders and large balls or toys for your goats.

Dusty or Moldy Hay Could Harm Goats

Whenever goats snout into freshly thrown hay, they gulp down whatever is in the bale, even the stuff that irritates their lungs and scratches their throats. As a result, your goats may suffer from acute or chronic coughing if it’s very dusty or moldy.

There’s nothing good about moldy hay. If you think this is the problem, get rid of it immediately. Trauma shouldn’t be caused by something meant to nourish their bodies.

Here’s a good video explaining a bit about goats coughing, with much more info below:

An Average Cold In Goats

In the same way as humans, goats are susceptible to contracting colds that are not life-threatening. Mucus that is clear or cloudy, watery eyelids, and no fever are typical symptoms. However, due to goats’ susceptibility to respiratory illness, they should be closely monitored.

To lessen the duration of a cold, consume natural foods to boost immunity and shorten the duration of the illness. For example, provide vitamin A-rich vegetables, including echinacea dried or fresh, and promote healthy bacteria with fermented foods, such as kefir water or vinegar made from raw apples. 

Ensure the sick goat’s health does not deteriorate by checking its temperature regularly.

A Dusty Farm Causes Coughing Goats

Many farms are just full of dust.

Thus, when farmers work in the field, the dust gets into our lungs, and our teeth are filled with grit, including animals like goats and cows. As a result, they cough, suffer allergic reactions, and can even develop pink eye due to the crud getting into their eyes.

In other words, if you live in a dust city, your farmhouse and barn might be filled with coughing from the goats.

Bring the herd inside when the farm is dusty or work is being done. Place them at the opposite end of the barn is another option. (source)

Allow the dust to settle before moving them.

Acute Upper Respiratory Illness In Goats

Mild respiratory conditions can become dangerous very quickly, especially for goat kids. When a goat kid’s immune system is undeveloped, a respiratory problem can cause him to become very ill and die within hours. 

  • In the case of upper respiratory infections, symptoms include nasal discharge, a cough, sneezing, fever, and decreased appetite.
  • One or both nostrils can be affected by nasal discharge.
  • Nevertheless, goats can also suffer from blocked nasal passages.
  • It will be difficult for a goat to breathe if its nasal passage is blocked.

It is important to remember that goats can develop pneumonia quickly from an upper respiratory infection. (source)

Lungworm In Goats

Infection of the lung with lungworms is characterized by moderate coughing accompanied by slight breathing difficulties and even respiratory failure in severe cases. Weight loss and lowered milk production, a wheeze, difficulty breathing, or an inability to exercise.

How to Treat a Goat with Lungworm

Lungworm can be treated by deworming your goat with worming medicines. Ivomec or Ivermectin are recommended wormers, both of which kill lungworms and stomach worms.

There is a possibility that goats will become resistant to medicine, which means they should be given treatment at the right times and in the right dosages.

Veterinarians recommend 3cc of Ivermectin per 100 pounds, every ten days, at three doses. Since lungworms are contagious, worming the entire herd is preferable to worming the individual.

Preventing Your Goats’ Normal Coughs

Coughs caused by environmental factors can be eliminated by changing those factors. For example, ensure the barn doors are open and allow the barn to be ventilated; insulation worsens the cough. Also, keep the cattle at a safe distance from the machinery.

Goat Pneumonia Cough Treatment

The situation may worsen if not treated immediately, so take them to the vet immediately. If it is under control, administer Sulmet or Aureomycin in swine doses to their drinking water.

The situation will improve in ten days. Antibiotics don’t work and ruin their digestive system, which is why immune support tinctures help to treat pneumonia.


Although many problems can cause coughs and runny noses in goats, the good thing is there are treatments available. In addition, getting onto the symptoms fast can stop them from becoming more serious.

Finally, being familiar with the symptoms will help you to notice when they occur so treatment can be carried out immediately.

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