White Muscle Disease in Angora Goats
By Dr Mackie Hobson

Wednesday, 22nd November 2023

White muscle disease, Selenium deficiency in Angora goats

It has been suspected that Angora goats are more susceptible to Selenium (Se) deficiency that sheep and other goats.

Most kids affected by white muscle disease are in good condition and are 2–3 months old (1 week to 4 months).

When can deficiencies occur?

  • Lush pastures
  • Sandy and acid soils with low clay content
  • When high grain/pellet diets are supplemented
  • High calcium diet and Sulphur diets (Lucerne, concentrate feed)

 What are the clinical signs?

Young kids - sudden death may occur due to cardiac muscle damage.

  • Lethargy
  • Stiff, short choppy gait, reluctant to move or stand
  • Stand with arched back, may tremble in pain when standing
  • Muscles are sore to the touch (especially back legs)
  • Appetite remains good
  • Sudden exercise may trigger symptoms
  • Cardiac signs resemble pneumonia- frothy nasal discharge, difficulty breathing


  • Poor conception, poor production
  • Abortions, stillbirths, retained placenta
  • Weak kids born

Postmortem findings:

The muscles look like cooked chicken meat. Typical lesions of the disease were observed in the majority of skeletal muscles and a white sub-endocardial plaque was present in the left ventricle.

Diagnosis can be made of histopathology samples of the heart muscle which may be streaked with calcified deposits.


Early treatment shows a response in 24 hours (Se and Vit E). Cardiac damage may be permanent.

See article on ‘Is supplanting Se in Angora goats justified?’




White muscle disease in an Angora goat. R.C. Tustin

White muscle disease in sheep and goats. Michael Metzger, Michigan State University

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