Goiter in Goats

Goiter is a nutritional disease due to the enlargement of the thyroid gland (swelling located in the middle of the front of the neck below the jawline). It is caused by either an iodine deficiency or substances that interfere with the uptake of dietary iodine. Iodine deficient soil regions include the Great Lakes, Great Plains, Rocky Mountain and the Pacific coast regions. Goat breeds vary in susceptibility to goiter. Boer goats are especially susceptible.

Clinical signs: Symptoms include enlarged thyroid and decreased reproduction efficiency in adults. Affected kids may also be born with enlarged thyroids, weakness or a poor hair coat. They may die within hours of birth.

Diagnosis: A necropsy is very helpful for the benefit of the herd.

Treatment and Prevention: Iodine deficiency goiter is treated or prevented by supplying iodine to the goat, especially the pregnant doe. Iodize salt can be used if iodine-free salt source is not available. Congenital goiter caused by goitrogens can be avoided by not feeding forages that interfere with the uptake of iodine such as brassicas especially during pregnancy. Supplemental iodine can be fed to the does.