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Goats/Goat with diarrhea


QUESTION: All was well with our 6 goats. I did change the feed on Monday, but its the same pellet just mixed with hay and ground up. I did mix a full bag of pellets so it wasn't a complete switch over. Today I go out and 1 goat has fecal matter all over her bum, tail and legs but is still grazing and active. Another is off to herself and standing there not even temped by an animal cracker. Her bum was not as messy but signs of mucous and loose stools. Then I notice white stuff dripping from the active nanny with the dirty bum. Now the lethargic nanny is in the barn all by herself. I have wormed with ivermectin last month so did safeguard today. I am thinking either food change or coccidiosis. She was grazing a little earlier but wont even eat the hay I put in the barn with her now. Is it safe to treat fir coccidiosis if that's not what it is. I have no microscope to do a fecal. Afraid to wait til vet opens to do something.

ANSWER: I would suspect the feed change. Withhold the pellets. I usually start with giving kaolin pectin (pepto bismol, if that is all you have) to firm up the stool. I also cut roughage (fir, salal, madrone, whatever is in your area) and feed that to help the rumen. They also will pick at wheat straw and it has the same effect. How old are these goats? Unless they are young kids, I would not expect coccidia. Make sure they have hot electrolyte water, as well, because you don't want them getting dehydrated. Probiotics are also good to give to repopulate the gut.

If that doesn't cause a change within the next 24 hours, giving the kaolin 3 times a day, AND the diarrhea is really foul-smelling, I would then treat with sulfa drugs.

The fact that this is happening to several at one time makes the feed sound suspicious.

Let me know if you have other questions or something changes.

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

QUESTION: What is hot electrolite water...are you saying it needs to be hot? And they are a yr old. Is salad greens okay or do I just need to get grass and leaves from the yard?

Here is a recipe for homemade electrolytes. If they have hot or warm water they are more likely to drink it. Greens are not the same as roughage. They need fibrous plants, bark, shrubs. Goats are not the greatest grass-eaters. Leaves are better. If they are a year old, it is probably not coccidia. Are they doing better today?

For the future, get some Manna Pro Goat Electrolytes for cases like this. I have found that my goats really like the flavor and it helps them drink the water they need when they are having problems.

Good luck. Let me know how it goes.


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Cheryl K. Smith


Goat Health Care; basic goat management. Author of Goat Health Care (2009) and Raising Goats for Dummies (2010)


Publisher of Goat Health Care, I have raised miniature dairy goats since 1998. I published Ruminations, the Nigerian Dwarf and Mini Dairy Goat magazine for 7 years and mentor other goat owners, as I was mentored for my first years.

American Goat Society (AGS), The Miniature Goat Registry (TMGR)

Raising Goats for Dummies (author) Goat Health Care (Editor and Author), Ruminations, Dairy Goat Journal, Issues in Law and Medicine, Topics in Health Records Management, Oregon Bar Bulletin, Midwifery Today, Countryside

BS, Health Information Administration JD, Law

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