Last week my husband went to the local feed store and ran into a woman who used to raise Boer goats. We have two female Boers, of course, and we had a little billy kid until he died recently. Based on his symptoms, we had already decided that he had died of Barber Pole worm infestation.
The woman told my husband that the other two goats, Emma and Arlene, are likely going to die also. She said that Boer goats can't handle the wet climate in the Southeast because they were bred for the dry climate of South Africa, and that the Barber Pole worm is endemic in the Southeast.
She said that she had a herd of Boer goats, and finally sold off the last four because she couldn't stand to see them die also. She tried everything -- B-vitamin injections, deworming, etc -- and nothing worked. She had tears in her eyes talking about it.
In researching Ben's illness, we had learned of something called the FAMACHA chart. You judge whether your goat is anemic by looking at the inside of the lower eyelid. In healthy goats, it should be bright red. From there it progresses in stages to white, which means your goat is severely anemic. Severely anemic goats apparently tend to die.
According to this test, Arlene and Emma are severely anemic.
We've dewormed them, and are feeding supplements. We're seeing a vet this afternoon for more advice, and we'll do everything we can for the ladies. They've been a delight to have around -- friendly, sweet, personable. Not only that, but they eat our weeds. What more could we ask from a pet?