Goat Quality Assurance


Quality Assurance Control Points for Meat Goats


By Jeff Fisher, Ohio State University Extension, Pike County


Administer all products labeled for IM (intramuscular) use in the neck region only, in front of the shoulder. Products labeled for SQ (or SC, subcutaneous) use must be given under the skin, preferably on the side of the neck in front of the shoulder. If there is concern that an injection reaction will cause a lump that may be confused with a contagious abscess, SQ injections can also be given under the skin over the ribs or in the armpit.

If IM medications must be used, administer them in the neck and never exceed 5 cc per IM injection site. The volume of solution injected at one site will directly influence the amount of tissue damage, scarring, and potential abscesses. To minimize tissue damage, use SQ or intravenous (IV, in the vein) routes of administration when permitted by the product’s label. Check product labels closely, and administer the product as specified on the label. Whenever possible, select products with an SQ-approved route of administration. See the eXtension article on Goat Injections for more information.

Drug Usage

Veterinary drugs are available in two categories: over the counter (OTC) and prescription (Rx). OTC products meet certain criteria for safety for both animals and handlers. When proper diagnosis and special directions are concerned, a prescription is required. Rx drugs are restricted by federal law to use by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian.

All drug products must be administered to food animals according to the labeled directions for dosage, duration of treatment, route of administration, and withdrawal time.

Extra-Label Drug Use and VCPR

Because so few drug products have FDA approval for goats, many producers find the need to use products in a way other than that stated on the manufacturer’s label. This is considered extra-label use and is illegal unless directed by a veterinarian within an established veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR).

A VCPR is established when a veterinarian knows about an animal’s health by having seen it or others in the same herd and can make decisions regarding the animal’s treatment. The veterinarian needs to be available for follow-up, and the client needs to follow the treatment instructions.

Identification and Record Keeping

To prevent unacceptable drug residues in goat products (including chevon and milk), record keeping and proper identification of treated animals are necessary. Goats treated with drugs should be given a permanent, unique identification such as an ear tag, tattoo, or USDA scrapie tag. This will prevent them from being lost for further treatment and allow proper harvest withdrawal to be followed. In addition, the manager may wish to use a colored mark on the face or head or a distinguishing collar for quick and easy recognition during the treatment and withholding period.

A record of medicine use must be kept and must include product name, serial/lot number, date used, amount used, the person who administered the product, the animal(s), and withdrawal time. This record should be kept for two years or the life of the animal, whichever is longer.

Environment Checklist

• Provide adequate housing.

• Allow proper ventilation.

• Maintain clean bedding.

• Practice good sanitation.

• Keep barns dry and lots well drained.

• Effectively manage manure.

• Provide access to clean, fresh water.

• Clear pens and alleys of obstructions, nails, etc.

Management Checklist

• Provide adequate amounts of a balanced ration.

• Plan a health program to prevent disease.

• Control internal and external parasites.

• Castrate and dehorn at a young age.

• Trim feet regularly.

• Observe animals daily to provide immediate treatment.

• Sort and load animals safely.

• Rotate pastures.

• Cull animals that don’t fit the management system.

See also Goat Biosecurity


  • Colorado State SSQA Program
  • Ohio 4-H Livestock Resource Handbooks