The Secret of the Goat Head Press

The Secret of the Goat Head Press

Are You a Victim of the Goat Head Press?

Welcome to podcast two of the FARM | TAO podcast.

I’m your host, Dr. Casey Damron, practicing veterinarian and co-founder of PET | TAO Holistic Pet Products.

Today, I’m discussing the goat head press.

What is Head Pressing?

This is basically a neurologic condition affecting goats and something that I’ve seen fairly frequently over my past 20 years of practice.

If you have goats on the homestead, there’s a good chance that at some point during the lifespan of the goat herd that you’re going to have some come down with some form of neurologic disease.


When I say neurologic disease, I’m talking about symptoms that include anything from depression to maybe uncoordinated muscle movements or staggering around, possibly convulsions and seizures.

They may be blind or have nystagmus.

Nystagmus means that the eyes are uncontrollably either going back and forth, up and down, or in a rotational movement.

The most common symptom that I’ve heard from my clients is head pressing.

Basically, this means that the animal’s going to stand next to a wall or maybe in a corner and just press their head into the wall.

This can go on for minutes and even hours.

All these neurologic symptoms have a long list of possible diagnoses.


There are two that are much more common than the rest.

Those two include listeriosis and Polioncephalomalacia.

Let’s talk a little bit about each of these diseases.

Both of these diseases can be linked to management issues and nutrition problems.

What is Listeriosis?

Listeria is a bacteria.

It can be found in the soil, in the water, moldy hay, silage, many different areas.

It’s kind of ubiquitous in nature.

The disease that it prevents is mostly seen in the winter or early spring.

This can mostly be contributed to the low availability of the pasture for them to graze on.

They’re grazing very close to the soil, maybe picking up some of the soil or possibly getting into the moldy hay that can be fed at the time to try to get them through the wintertime.

There are two forms of listeriosis.

One causes abortions, and the other causes neurologic symptoms.

Today, we’re going to focus on the one that causes the neurologic symptoms. The neurologic symptoms can progress pretty quickly.

From the time the animal picks up the bacteria until the time its symptoms are seen can be as little as a day or so.

Treatment with appropriate antibiotics is crucial to getting them over this.

Treatment quickly is also crucial.

If you like any of the information that you’ve read today, you can certainly find a lot more useful information on the FARM | TAO podcast archive.

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