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Goats/Goat with 'chronic' diarrhea

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QUESTION: Hi Donna,
Just to give you a background of our little farm..we started with a nubian (1 yr when i got her in Jan 2012). She (Daisy) is quite an onry goat but we luv her all the same. She spent the first year being 'one of the dogs' (we have labs and she was the 'boss'). She was the only goat we had till november 2012 and we got an older pygmy buck who 'fell in love' with her and never left her side. It was so cute. They had babies (kinders-twins) in the spring.  I say all this because I think it ties into our nubian's problem..meaning it seems she is an emotional goat and every time anything changes (getting a new goat or even her not getting 'her way') she gets diarrhea. She has no other symptoms (no fever, no coughing, no limping, no appetite changes, no drinking changes). It ranges from soft to completely runny and becomes greener the runnier it gets. We are an organic farm and therefore have never fed grains as the goats have access to three different pastures, a garden planted full of things they can self medicate on, all the hay (organic grass, alfalfa, and oat hay) they want along with free feed minerals and salt lick, daily probiotics and lots of water. We deworm using mollys herbals weekly and we dont use antibiotics (anything pharmecutical or chemical). We have stopped milking her and are letting her dry up as I felt it was too much strain on her. I have tried kaopectate (kaolin pectin suspension) and it seems to have made her worse. She has lost a little weight..but isnt skin n bone..I'm not sure what to do at this point. I have even tried colliadal silver and garlic and ginger ..all of which are natural antibiotics and anti-inflammatories..

On another note we are thinking that we need to feed the milking goats (we have an alpine, a nigerian, a nubian boer cross, a lamancha, and a kinder..al first year fresheners) some grains and are not sure where to start. We dont want to feed processed foods ((goat chow or anything like that) and are concerned about the health and longevity of our goats. Any helps on how to do this properly is greatly appreciated. Thank-you so much

ANSWER: Thanks for all the information.  Some questions for you re the Nubian - when she has the diarrhea has she had pelleted poop before that? Was she in a different pasture than the days before when she had the diarrhea? When you say no fever, is that temp under 102.5? Green diarrhea is usually indicative of coccidiosis, but with that said if you are feeding alfalfa that can create green diarrhea too - it overloads the goat's system.  How many days past worming does the doe get the diarrhea - is this consistent at all? What color are her lower inner eyelids? The natural items you are using really are not antibiotics but are preventative items and generally do not work once the goat has an infection - I also use natural and homeopathic and herbal products for my goats, but when it is necessary I do not hesitate to give the goats the true antibiotics/medicines they need to treat the illness.

Diarrhea in mature goats is generally from stress, bacterial rumen infection or coccidiosis.  Stress induced diarrhea generally is treated with kaopectate or peptobismol - given at 1/2 cup per 75 pounds body weight every 4 hours until the diarrhea quiets down.  If the goat also has bloat with the diarrhea then milk of magnesia works well to clear the system and then use of pepto takes care of the diarrhea.  Because you said the kaopectate does not seem to help the diarrhea, this could point to a bacterial infection - which if chronic can come and go causing diarrhea off and on.  Let me know about the questions - Donna

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QUESTION: Yes she has had pelleted poop before the diarrhea. She has only been in the front pasture where we keep all the milking goats. It has the 'goat garden' in it. No fever..has always been under 102.5. We feed very little alfalfa. A handful of organic alfalfa pellets once in awhile and they get alfalfa grass but it only makes up about 15% if the free feed hays they get. There is no consistency in her diarrhea relating to deworming. It seems that she gets it when something changes like getting a new goat, not paying enough attention to her, not milking her (we just this last week have decided to let her dry up but the ongoing diarrhea has been off and on for a little over 6 weeks now). It seems really tied into her enotions. She does truly think she is a dog and belongs in the house on the couch. :/. I am going to try the kaopectate as we only gave it to her for two days and not enuf and not every 4 hours. She luvs the stuff so its not hard..practically sucks it out of the drenching syringe. Her lower inner eyelids are a white-greyish color...

ANSWER: Thanks for the info.  Goats can certainly get upset stomachs from emotions.  I use a product called BioSponge (made for horses and dogs) from Platinum (on the internet) and this product is meant to settle the rumen/stomach down when upset - this is a natural product.  For an adult goat it needs just 1/4 teaspoon once a day to keep its rumen in top condition - I use it on my dogs and goats and other livestock - the product in this case is a powder - you can also get a tube of it but that is generally only used for more severe situations - including diarrhea times.  The other option would be to use vitamin D3 oil given at 2,000 units once a day - I usually mix this in a little yogurt (one tablespoon) for probiotic help for the rumen and then thin it with a little water and give as an oral drench - the vitamin D3 helps keep the goat's immune system strong so when stress occurs it does not get ill and the probiotic just helps keep the rumen in good shape with plenty of new bacteria daily.  Did you have a chance to check the lower inner eyelid color?  Good idea to give the kaopectate another chance.  Hope this helps - Donna

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QUESTION: Her eyelid color is white-greyish. We started the kayopectate..do we administer that throughout the night too? I'm going to try the vit d3 oil and yogurt (I have that on hand) and will order the biosponge in morning. We are still learning all this and I greatly appreciate all the info!  I am trying to get (and keep) on hand all the things we need for goat raising and milking. We have a small herd of boers (10 females) that are all pregnant and due in the next month. I have been studying on birthing kids. I have bred and raised dogs (labs and miniature schnauzers) for 20 years and helped birth 100's of babies so cant be too different. Anyway I will let you know how this all works. Thank you so much for your time and answering my questions. If you have any advice on the best way to feed and care for milking (and future breeding) goats I'm all ears. What grains are best? Which are not? Probiotics daily? Wanting longevity AND quality of life for these goats and not worried about the cost so much if it benefits our goats. Thanks so much again. :)

Answer
Thanks for the info.  The white indicates anemia which is due to barber pole worms or liver flukes (not regular stomach worms) - these will also cause diarrhea and loss of weight.  Unfortunately use of oral horse wormer/chemical wormer to kill either of these parasites.  Thenn you also need to treat for anemia with geritol tonic or iron tablets.  Give me a few days and I will send you some info re pregnant does. Hope this helps - let me know - Donna

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Donna Ruelas-Semasko/Edelweiss Acres

Expertise

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

Experience

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.

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

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

Education/Credentials
4 years of college, ongoing education in goats.

Awards and Honors
Small Farm Award of Thurston County

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