Sick Goat Won’t Get Up – 6 Reasons You Need To Know

Goats are precious for their meat and milk.

Besides, some people keep goats as pets. Unlike other domesticated animals, goats are easier to keep and maintain.

Sick goat won't get up Why

However, like many animals, goats also get sick and quickly disseminate an infection in the herd.

The good news is that you can easily tell if a goat is sick as they usually separate themselves from the herd.

If you notice that your goat is sick but can’t get up at the same time, this is a severe issue.

Therefore, you should find out right away and visit the veterinarian.

But what could be the problem?

1. Dehydration

One of the main reasons why your goat won’t get up when sick is dehydration.

A dehydrated goat can die quickly if you don’t attend to it.

Even a slightly dehydrated goat may need your help to survive.

The rumen of a goat has to stay around 70% water for it to work correctly.

So, as you try your best to feed the sick goat with the right food, make sure that the goat is adequately hydrated as well.

Note that goats need at least three gallons of water per day.

If your goat is healthy and grazing lush green grass, you may only need to give it half a gallon per day.

But if the goat is sick and can’t feed on the lush green grass, you will have to give it enough water.

Note that dehydration is not just a hot-weather problem but as well as in cold weather.

You can easily tell if you’re sick goat is suffering from dehydration by observing its urination pattern.

Lack of urination is a sign that you need to hydrate it.

2. Unhealthy Rumen

Aside from dehydration, an unhealthy rumen is another reason why your goat may fail to stand up when sick.

A healthy rumen is essential for a goat to digest roughage properly.

The digestive enzymes in the abomasum and small intestine cannot break down roughage properly unless it has been prepared by rumen microorganisms.

Thus, for a goat to grow well, the rumen must stay healthy.

Some of the things that can affect the goat’s rumen are improper feeding, pathogenic bacterial toxins, and oral antibiotics.

If the goat’s rumen is unhealthy, it will show signs such as feeding less, failing to feed, and inactivity.

Besides, a goat’s rumen may be suffering from a disease that’s causing it to feel weak, inactive, and unable to stand.

One such disease is bloat. A normal rumen churns one to four times every minute, and its bacteria produce methane gas endlessly.

Most of this gas is released when the goat belches.

So, when the goat is not able to release built-up gas, bloat occurs.

It’s important to understand that some goat diets such as fresh, green alfalfa will make the gas create tiny bubbles trapped in the rumen fluid.

When this happens, frothy bloat may be produced.

If a goat suffering from bloat is not treated in time, the goat’s rumen will swell, and the goat may kick as it grunts and slobbers.

The goat may also try to get up but then lay back down as it will be unable to stand up.

Your goat dies when treatment does not goes well in this condition.

3. Goat Polio

Also known as polioencephalomalacia, goat polio in goats is usually caused by a thiamine deficiency/sulfur toxicity.

This disease can also affect your got even if it’s already sick.

Some of the signs of goat polio include partial to complete blindness with the head held erect.

This occurs typically in the early stages of this disease.

Besides, early blindness signs lead within hours to a day to inability to stand, loss of body control, and seizures.

A goat arching its back as far as possible is a sign that goat polio advanced.

Nonetheless, these signs are very similar to listeriosis and ketosis.

Therefore, you should carry out tests to ascertain that it’s polio.

The leading cause of goat polio is thiamine deficiency, as stated earlier.

Thiamine is a B vitamin that plays a vital role in all cells, acting as a cofactor for various essential enzymes involved in glucose metabolism.

My goat is sick and won't get up reasons

What’s more, thiamine is much needed for proper brain function as the brain depends on glucose as its primary source of energy.

And since the brain controls almost all bodily functions, sufficient thiamine levels in the brain are crucial for your goat’s everyday health and well-being.

If this is causing your goat not to stand up, you should have the vet diagnose your goat and give it the proper treatment.

4. Listeriosis

On the contrary, listeriosis is even worse than polio.

This is because it can even lead to death within a few days of your goat contracting it.

This disease also causes encephalitis, blood infection, and abortion.

Note that this disease is more common in cooler climates.

Besides, listeriosis is usually caused by the bacterium listeria monoctogenes, which is normally found in soil, feces of healthy animals, and food sources.

It usually happens when you feed your goat moldy or spoiled silage or hay.

Apart from the failure to stand, other listeriosis signs are fever, loss of appetite, facial paralysis, depression, salivation, blindness, and circling.

When the goat is near death, it will lie down and may have convulsions.

Recovery from this disease is very rare, but immediate treatment can save your goat.

5. Pneumonia

Pneumonia can also affect the movement of your goat.

It can either make your goat move slowly or fail to move completely.

Other signs of pneumonia include labored breathing, nasal discharge, coughing, extended head, and fever.

Get in touch with a vet to have your goat treated quickly.

6. Anemia

Goats are prey animals. As a result, they love being in packs or groups and not alone.

So, if your goat doesn’t even have the energy to wake up, this is a sign that it’s suffering a lot.

One of the reasons may be due to anemia.

If your goat has anemia, it will be lethargic with a low appetite.

And if the disease is at an advanced stage, it may even fail to stand up.

Anemia is usually caused by external parasites like fleas, ticks, and lice or internal parasites like worms.

Regardless of what’s causing this condition, you should see a vet right away to help solve the problem.


If your goat is unable to move or stand up, it may be suffering from various conditions.

Some of the things that can make the goat sick and unable to get up include dehydration, unhealthy rumen, goat polio, listeriosis, anemia, and pneumonia.

If you suspect any of these, you should have your goat diagnosed quickly, as some of these diseases are fatal.