You are here:

Goats/my baby goat that passed, i just want some answers


QUESTION: Hi there, I acquired a 2 day old baby Nigerian dwarf mix about 4 days ago. She was weighed in at 2.3 lbs. My question is, she sadly passed away this morning. I work at a vets office and I'd bring her to work with me and the vet would exam her, she found she had pneumonia, but there wasn't much fluid in the lungs, and she would not bottle feed. She would suck on my finger but if I put milk on my finger, she wouldnt take it. So we decided to tube feed her. The second day I had her, she dropped to 2 lbs and her temp was 97 but shot up to 106 the same day. My vet put her on antibiotics (I don't remember the name of it) twice a day and we were tube feeding her about 50ml every feeding. The next 2 days she seem to perk up a lot, she got constipated, but she was walking and bahhhing, but she was sleeping a lot. For 2 nights she slept about 10 hours almost straight. This morning when I got up, she was lifeless, still heart beat, but she was obviously dying. I raced her to the vet and she passed on the way there. What do you think caused her to die and is there something else I could of done? I'm absolutely heart broken over this. I spent 24 hours with this baby for 5 days. Her mother had rejected her so maybe there was a reason? I read an enema should have been done and if their temp gets to
low its dangerous but my vet didn't seem very concerned. But I'm devastated I lost my baby and is there anything you can tell me so I can be better prepared next time? Thank you. Alexa.

ANSWER: I am so sorry for the loss.  Was she taken immediately from her mom within hours of birth/hours of rejection? If she was left outside with the mom/doe being rejected and neglected in that way she could easily have picked up pneumonia.  She also could have picked up an infection from the mom, via the uterus - do you know if the mom is doing okay?  Did the mom have any other kids born?  What type of poop did the kid goat have? What color was the poop?  Did she pass the tar like first/clean out poop?  What type of milk did you have her on? Any temperature over 102.5 in a goat is a fever so indicates an infection.  Low dose human aspirin at 1/2 of an 81 mg aspirin crushed and dissolved in a little hot water and given every 4 hours until the fever breaks (usually two or three doses) will help.  She could also have had the start of enterotoxemia.  Do you know if the doe had received a CDT toxoid booster 4 weeks prior to kidding?  The not eating stems from a fever.  I generally start kid goats (even at 1 day of age) on injectable penicillin/intramuscular, regular not long acting type, twice a day for 3 days. Let me know about the questions I have for you when you have a chance and I can hopefully give you a bit more specific information on what might have happened.  Thanks - Donna

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you so much for responding. I had her on goat replacement milk which I don't like but I couldn't find raw goats milk. Her mother had 3 other kids and I don't know if she was taken right away but I know soon after birth. Her poop was yellowish diarrhea and I never saw meconium type poop but she got very constipated. Her mother from what I know is doing ok and I don't know if she got vaccinated. The baby was pretty much dumped on me while I was at work so I wasn't able to get much info. The last day she was alive, when I tube fed her, I could not get much milk in at all. Which I found very unusual. It just would not go in her stomach. I hope this helps. I've got 3 goats ready to kid next month so I'm very nervous after this.

ANSWER: Thanks for the update.  Goat replacement milk works very well - it is not the death trap that so many people think.  The first poop of any newborn goat is a tar like soft poop - the meconium staining only occurs when kidding is late (over the normal time frame) - so it is the black tar like poop occurs normally for every kid goat - the first day to second day of life.  Then it goes to a yellow formed poop.  With the statement that she had yellowish diarrhea that would indicate enterotoxemia and the high fever would also go with that.  CDT antitoxin is really best to treat this but vets do not carry this on a regular basis and the only place you can obtain it is online.  CDT toxoid vaccinations given at the first sign of yellow diarrhea at 1 cc every 2 hours for 4 doses, then repeating the following day can help even though their immune systems are not developed well yet.  Also use of milk of magnesia to flush out the bacteria in their digestive tract before the toxins the bacteria create start to go into the kid goat's whole system will also help.  There is a product online that is called Bovine ecolizer plus C20 with has the Clostridium type C antitoxin in it (this causes the enterotoxemia) which is an oral medication (no prescription) will help kill the bacteria.  I also always have something called BioSponge by Platinum Products - this is a clay-like substance that is given orally to the kid goat and this literally sucks up the bad bacteria - this is a horse product but with talking with the company's veterinarian we came up with an amount that works well - and, to date has always helped with situations of E. coli, enterotoxemia, and poisonous ingestions.  Did you ever hear "sloshing" in her tummy? If so, that is a symptoms of enterotoxemia.  To keep enterotoxemia (Clostridium type C and D bacteria) away from all goats and especially kid goats who are most susceptible to stress which is a huge risk factor for entero, giving the doe a CDT toxoid booster at 4 weeks prior to kidding will give some passive immunity to the kid goats and then treating the kid's at 10 days to 2 weeks when you should castrate and/or disbud starts their regimen (2 weeks, 4 weeks, 2 months, 3 months, 6 months and 9 months at 1 cc and then starting at one year of age and every year afterwards it is 2 cc.  As an FYI, the diarrhea color in kid goats (newborn to about 6 months of age) will give you the illness - yellow is enterotoxemia, white to cream is E. coli, green is coccidiosis, and brown is either from bacterial infection or just digestive upset.  Hope this helps - let me know - Donna

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: If they get enterotoxemia what are the chances for survival? And is it caused by stress or underdevelopment? And just to clarify, disbudding and castration should be done at 2 weeks? Thank you for all the help and information!

Hi there - entertoxemia is caused by any type of stress - cold weather/chill, over eating, changing of formula, disbudding, etc.  The Clostridium bacteria are always in a goat's digestive tract and when a kid goat gets stressed its immune system is just developed enough to fight the Clostridium bacteria so the bacteria grows wild and then creates toxins that go into the kid goat's system and that is what kills it.  Sometimes you will just find the kid goat dead, with no symptoms beforehand.  But most times the yellow diarrhea is the main symptom and so starting the CDT toxoid vaccinations (unless you have the antitoxin) and items such as Biosponge and/or the Ecolizer, along with colostrum to help with immunity strength and milk of magnesia to flush out the bacteria and toxins as early as possible usually has a high survival rate.  It also depends on the kid goat - if it is tiny/underdeveloped and/or had a difficult birth then risk factors are higher for entero and survival rates drop.  

Re disbudding and castration, that is correct 2 weeks of age is the time frame.(sometimes if you have a tiny kid goat whose testicles and/or horn buds are just not big enough, then you can wait to 3 weeks).  Hope this helps - Donna


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Donna Ruelas-Semasko/Edelweiss Acres


All goat health care, nutrition, judging questions about all goats - packgoats, dairy goats, pygmy goats, meat goats, fleece goats.


27 years health care/nutrition of all types of goats, 17 years experience in packgoats, 20 years experience in 4H goat projects as leader, superintendent and judge. 20 years experience in putting on goat care/nutrition seminars.

NAPgA, The Evergreen Packgoat Club, 4H, ADGA.

Hobby Farm, many newspapers, 4H newsletters, Packgoat Manuals (youth and general), judging information pamphlets, seminar handouts about health care and nutrition.

4 years of college, ongoing education in goats.

Awards and Honors
Small Farm Award of Thurston County

©2017 All rights reserved.