Fainting, or syncope, is usually caused by a lack of oxygen in the the brain. Symptoms often include falling down, blurred vision, and confusion. Possible causes include dehydration, low blood pressure, alcohol use, and/or diabetes.
The term 'having the vapors,' was used historically during the Victorian-era when women swooned for what today might be considered trivial reasons, such as falling in love or welled up in emotion due to a crisis or love affair. Physically, it could very well have been due to the fashion of the day, when corsets were strung on a ladies waist way too tight.
Over time, the phrase "I've got the vapors" became a catch-all tag-line to refer to a host of "female" ailments like depression or bloating. A quick home remedy was sniffing smelling salts.
But what about those goats?
Well, if you haven’t visited a farm recently, you may have missed out on a very unique phenomenon . . . namely, certain goats named after their signature move . . . fainting. When startled, these farm animals experience a seizure of sorts, where they topple over and stick their limbs straight up in a cartoonish fashion.
Some folks see this overly dramatic behavior as hilarious, as evidenced by countless viral videos.
But once you learn the real reason for this unusual comportment, you might think it all that funny.
Muscles, not their brains . . .
Fainting goats are a small domestic goat indigenous to North America. Genetically called myotonic goats, what appears to be fainting is not fainting at all. When a myotonic goat falls over, it’s due to their muscles, not their brain, where they remain completely conscious for the whole episode.
Myotonic goats suffer from a condition called myotonia congenita. This hereditary anomaly causes their muscles to stiffen involuntarily.
Other species of goats respond one of two ways when confronted with a perceived threat: fight or flight. But when a fainting goat's body tenses up in fear it takes a while for it to recover. The goat’s muscles continue to contract for about 10 to 20 seconds after it’s startled, which is where the appearance of fainting comes into play.
So while fainting goats don't ever have 'the vapors,' they are a sensitive bunch who need our respect. Scaring them for the heck of it is not recommended. Instead . . . handle them with kid gloves, sort of speak.
Primary Source: Mental Floss