Onion Creek Ranch, Lohn, Texas
Suzanne W. Gasparotto, Onion Creek Ranch, Lohn, TX
Lohn, Texas
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IODINE DEFICIENCY

Iodine deficiency in goats causes changes in the thyroid gland, the organ which controls metabolism. Located under the chin on the front of the neck and behind the larynx, the thyroid gland enlarges to form a goiter when the goat is deficient in iodine. A goiter is an enlarged thyroid gland.

Goiters are not "bottlejaw," which is anemia that is almost always caused by a heavy wormload and occurs directly under the chin. Goiters are not Caseous Lymphadenitis abscesses; CL abscesses occur at lymph glands and when located in the neck area will be under an ear, downward towards the chest, or along the jaw line. Do not confuse it with the "milk goiter" present in newborn and young kids of breeds of dairy heritage (including Boers); that is a thymus gland issue which usually goes away as the kid reaches puberty. Articles that I've written on each of these topics can be found on the Articles page at www.tennesseemeatgoats.com.

Goiters are often nutritionally related. Soils throughout much of the northern and eastern parts of the United States are iodine deficient. Plants of the Brassicas family interfere with iodine uptake by the thyroid gland. This includes plants in the mustard family such as cabbage, broccoli, and turnips. Supplemental iodine will not help correct iodine deficiency in goats eating these plants. You must eliminate them from the goat's diet.

The tendency to produce goiters may be inherited; some Swiss breeds that have been linebred tend to carry abnormalities in thyroid function. The Boer goat breed seems to be susceptible to iodine deficiency, resulting in goiters.

Goiters can exist in newborn kids. Thyroid deficiency can cause stillbirths or kids can be born weak and hairless or with very fine haircoats. Such kids are sluggish and grow poorly. They may or may not develop skin lesions. Cobalt deficiency and its accompanying Vitamin B12 deficiency can also cause goiters.

Treatment for iodine deficiency that isn't caused by plants that prevent iodine uptake (see Brassicas family information above) is to add iodized salt to the goat's diet. Many prepared goat feeds use non-iodized mixing salt because the particles are small and mix well. The amount of organic iodine (EDDI) put into prepared feeds is controlled by the U. S. Food & Drug Administration and is not adequate for some iodine-deficient areas. Severe iodine deficiency can be treated more quickly by painting 7% iodine on a hairless part of the goat's body such as the tailweb. Free-choice feeding of kelp -- dried seaweed -- is an excellent way to keep iodine levels up. Kelp isn't always easy to find and can be pricey but consumption per goat is small so overall cost should not be a major concern. A 50-pound bag of kelp lasts a long time and can be mixed with loose goat minerals to encourage consumption. Jeffers carries Thorvin Kelp, one of the best kinds. Call 1-800-533-3377 or go to www.jefferslivestock.com.

Suzanne W. Gasparotto, Onion Creek Ranch, Texas 9/3/14

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All information provided in these articles is based either on personal experience or information provided by others whose treatments and practices have been discussed fully with a vet for accuracy and effectiveness before passing them on to readers.

In all cases, it is your responsibility to obtain veterinary services and advice before using any of the information provided in these articles. Suzanne Gasparotto is not a veterinarian.Neither tennesseemeatgoats.com nor any of the contributors to this website will be held responsible for the use of any information contained herein.

The author, Suzanne Gasparotto, hereby grants to local goat publications and club newsletters, permission to reprint articles published on the Onion Creek Ranch website under these conditions: THE ARTICLE MUST BE REPRODUCED IN ITS ENTIRETY AND THE AUTHOR'S NAME, ADDRESS, AND CONTACT INFORMATION MUST BE INCLUDED AT THE BEGINNING OF THE REPRINT. We would appreciate notification from any clubs or publications when the articles are used. (A copy of the newsletter or publication would also be a welcome addition to our growing library of goat related information!)

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