Respiratory Distress - Diseases - Goats

Respiratory Distress

Other Names





Dyspnoea refers to labored or difficult breathing often in association with evidence of general distress such as extended head and neck, sawhorse posture, and an anxious expression. Dyspnoea is due to hypoxia.

Clinical Signs and Diagnosis

Dyspnoea is most often associated with disease of the respiratory tract such as airway obstruction, pneumonia, or other diseases of the airways or lungs. A range of other conditions may cause or exacerbate dyspnoea including physical exertion, pain, trauma, severe systemic diseases, acidosis and heat stress.

Dyspnoea accompanied by coughing is indicative of tracheobronchial disease.

The most likely differential diagnoses in shipboard cattle with respiratory distress include:

  • Pneumonia and other respiratory diseases.
  • Heat stress.
  • Bloat causing compression of diaphragm.
  • Physical exertion.
  • Hypoxia from engine exhaust gases, or exposure to toxins in feed (nitrate/nitrite, cyanide).


Choice of treatment will be dictated by the diagnosis.


The preventative measures implemented will depend on the hazards identified, the likelihood of mishap and the cost of consequences should they eventuate.