Health Check on Angora Goats
By Dr Mackie Hobson BSc(Agric),BVSc

Wednesday, 17th April 2019

How to do a basic HEALTH CHECK on an Angora goat

While collecting the goats it is important to observe the flock as a whole. There may be those goats that are weak and lag behind, those that move reluctantly, may notice different sounds (snorting, coughing), there may be a lame goat, or the goats may show signs of scratching with their horns or pieces hair stuck in horn tips as examples of signs which suggest the goat must be examined more closely.


I will describe a simple 10 point examination protocol to cover the most common problems associated with the health of the Angora goat.


  1. Eyes
  2. Mucous Membranes
  3. Nose
  4. Lips and mandible
  5. Teeth





  1. Body Condition
  2. Anal area
  3. Hooves
  4. Fleece, skin
  5. Genitals



  1. Eyes


A blue discolouration of the cornea (surface of the eye) may be caused by:

  • Inflammation of the cornea from a scratch, irritation or ulcer
  • Opthalmia
  • Entropion
  • Uveitis
  • Glaucoma



See SAMGA website causes of ‘Blue eye’

Redness and discharge from the eye ( Conjunctivitis) may be caused by:

  • Irritants (dust, wind)
  • Bacterial infections (see ‘pink eye’ above)
  • Trauma to the conjunctiva
  • A result of other eye problems, entropion for example.
  • Discharge such as in photosensitivity in ‘Geeldikkop’, photo below
  • health_check_4.jpg
  • Grass seeds

Check for cancer of the eyelids

  1. Mucous membranes (mm)


Angora goats generally have paler mucous membranes than sheep


  • Colour (anaemia- parasites)

See the website on Roundworm management

  • Yellow (icterus- jaundice)

Examples, ‘Geeldikko’, Ganskweek poisoning, Wesselsbron disease, Anaplasmosis


  1. Nasal Discharge


May be caused by:

  • Irritants- dust, feed
  • Nasal worm

  • Photosensitivity ‘geeldikkop’

  • Pasteurella and pneumonia


Photo: nasal discharge-this case due to photosensitivity.


  1. Lips and Muzzle
  • Check for submandibular oedema ‘bottle-jaw’, hypoproteinaemia (wireworm)
  • Check for ‘Orf’


Photo: Orf in Angora kid                                      Photosensitivity ‘Geeldikkop’


  1. Teeth



Kid - starts with 8 temporary incisor milk teeth

2T start to erupt at 12 months of age. (2T 13-15 months)

4T - 18-21 months old

6T- 22-24 months old

8T (full mouth) 27-32 months old

  • Looking in a goat’s mouth You’ll be able to see if the teeth are meeting the gum correctly and are not “undershot” or “overshot”.
  • Check the wearing of the teeth especially older goats or after a drought when the feed has been harder wearing on the teeth.
  • When undershot the teeth meet the gum back from the edge (called parrot mouth), and when overshot the teeth stick out beyond the gum edge and can be very sharp as they have not been worn down with biting off grass.


  1. Condition


Condition scoring in goats unlike sheep is not as accurate on the scale. The reason is that Angora goat’s fat deposition is largely intra-abdominal. So goats on the same scale as sheep will score lower. Often farmers would use a scale of GENERAL BODY CONDITION of 1 to 5.

1: Very Poor 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent



  1. Anal Area


  • Check for diarrhoea (multiple causes)
  • Fly strike
  • Ticks


  1. Hooves, feet
  • Check overgrown hooves
  • Check for ‘sweerklou’ hoof abscess,

  • footrot (very rare) Goats extensive semi-arid areas
  • Check ticks in interdigital groove, grass seeds, thorns
  • check interdigital dermatitis


Photo: Footabcess or ‘sweerklou’


  1. Skin, Fleece, Body
  • Check for lice, ticks
  • Check areas of common sites for abscess formation

Sites of the common lymph nodes where Corynebacterium abscess may be seen.



  1. Genitalia


  • Check the testes for thorns, ticks, wounds
  • Check testicle for symmetry
  • Check the testicle for size and split scrotums

  • Palpate the testicles for lumps unevenness in consistency
  • Examine the prepuce and penis (‘peerste siekte’, normal conformation, ticks, thorns)



  • Check the udder for shape and symmetry, feel for lumps and texture (mastitis, abscess, thorns, ticks)
  • Check teats
  • Check vulva (‘peerstesiekte’)


Above: ‘Peerstesiekte’ effecting a ram (left) and Ewe (Right)

Below: Abscess of udder (left) and good shaped healthy udder (Right)


Dr Mackie Hobson


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