Diarrhea is defined as an increased frequency, fluidity, or volume of fecal excretion. The feces may contain blood or mucous and be smelly. The color of the feces may be abnormal. However, it is not possible to definitively determine the infectious organism by looking at the color, consistency, or odor of the feces.
A definitive identification requires a sample for microbiological analysis. In livestock, diarrhea is called scours. There can many causes of diarrhea: bacterial, viral, parasites, and diet. Flystrike risk Sheep that have diarrhea are more prone to flystrike blowflies or maggots. To help prevent flystrike, it is recommended that lambs be docked.
However, the tail should not be docked too long nor too short. Feces will accumulate on long tails. On the other hand, the dock should be left long enough to cover the vulva of the ewe and an equivalant length on a ram lamb. If a lamb can "wag" its tail, it will be able to use its tail to project away feces. Otherwise the feces will run down the lamb's back end. It is usually not necessary to dock the tails of hair sheep or rat-tailed breeds.
Diarrhea in young neonatal lambs and kids. Despite improvements in management practices and prevention and treatment strategies, diarrhea is still the most common and costly disease affecting neonatal small ruminants. A study at the U. Diarrhea in lambs and goats is a complex, multi-factorial disease involving the animal, the environment, nutrition, and infectious agents.
The four major causes of diarrhea in lambs and kids during the first month of life are E. Colirotavirus, Cryposporidum sp.
Coli E. It is seen in lambs and kids less than 10 days of age, but is most common at 1 to 4 days of age. It usually presents itself as an outbreak in lambs and kids between 12 and 48 hours of age. It is also called "watery mouth," because affected lambs salivate and have a cold mouth.
Fluid therapy is the mainstay of therapy. Antibiotics are used for both treatment and prevention of E.The GoatWorld Database was last updated:. Support of our advertisers helps support GoatWorld! Diarrhea by Gary Pfalzbot About the Author Diarrhea in goats is a very common symptom that can attributed to many different causes ranging from a sudden change in feed, ingestion of poisonous plantswormsor in more severe cases, a symptom of a virus or disease.
Goat owners as a rule, always take into consideration the type of stool a goat produces on a daily basis. The "normal" stool are goat berries. Common diarrhea can usually be treated and cured by administering a dose or two of Pepto-Bismol followed by the use of probiotics to replenish the essential bacteria in the rumen of the goat. Persistent cases of diarrhea should be read as a warning symptom of other ailments. Obversely, a "clumped" stool should be regarded with the same concern as diarrhea.
In addition to the articles below covering this subject, GoatWorld also offers an archive of all "hands on experience" messages posted regarding Diarrhea.
Membership may be required to access this section. David Scarfe, Ph. He has raised goats over the years, been involved with 4-H as a young boy and currently resides in Colorado where he and his wife Pam raise a few breeds of goats and other animals, and primarily author the GoatWorld web site to continue to inform, educate, and promote the industry.
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Diarrhea-controlling medication can make the situation much worse. Slightly soft stool is sometimes the body's way of ridding itself of undesirable products through the purging effect of diarrhea. If the scouring is slightly soft stool, let it run its course. When body temperature is above the normal range of Obviously, very watery diarrhea requires a different approach and much more intervention on the producer's part.
For purposes of this article, my definition of "diarrhea" is anything other than perfectly formed goat pills. There are four major causative agents of diarrhea in goats: bacteria, viruses, parasites, and management practices i. Coli infection, caprine herpes virus, heavy parasite infestation, and goat polio. Always run a fecal examination on the goat's feces before attempting any treatment. See my website's article on how to do your own fecals www. However, diarrhea is not always the result of an infectious disease.
Diagnosing and Treating Scours in Goats
It can be nutritionally induced by overfeeding on milk or grain, by using poor-quality milk replacers, or by sudden changes in feeding schedules or in the type of feed being offered.
Neonatal Diarrhea Complex, which is the term used to describe diarrhea occuring in kids under one month of age, the cause of which may not ever be diagnosed, usually occurs during kidding season when extremes of weather take place.
Kids less than one month of age do have not fully functioning immune systems, so diarrhea can take a heavy toll. Dehydration, acidosis, electrolyte depletion, and hypoglycemia low blood sugar can result. The kid becomes weak and can't stand, has a dry mouth and cold extremities, body temperature drops below normal, and the sucking response is often lost. Sick kids should be isolated from the herd, placed in sanitary facilities, and fed in containers that are well above ground level to prevent further contamination.
Administration of oral and sub-cutaneous electrolytes along with an appropriate broad-spectrum antibiotic is the recommended treatment. The preferred oral electrolyte product is ReSorb; sterile Lactated Ringers Solution vet prescription should be used for subcutaneous rehydration.
In the case of Floppy Kid Syndrome, one step in its proper treatment involves the use of a laxative Milk of Magnesia to induce mild diarrhea so that the kid's body is rid of the stagnant toxic milk that has overloaded its digestive system. Both of these conditions are transmitted by fecal-to-oral contact and occur most frequently in intensive management situations where pens and troughs are not kept clean and dry and where overcrowding exists.
Accurate diagnosis of worm or coccidia oocyst infestation is possible only by doing a microscopic fecal count.
Adult-onset diarrhea is less common than in kids, but nevertheless is possible. Overfeeding on grain such as shell or cracked corn can cause severe ruminal acidosis. Heavy parasite loads can cause diarrhea in adult goats. Almost anything which negatively affects the proper functioning of the goat's rumen may cause scouring. When a producer sees diarrhea in one of his goats, do not run for a bottle of Pepto-Bismol, Kaeopectate, or Scour Halt.
First figure out what is causing the scouring, then treat appropriately. Use a rectal thermometer to take the goat's body temperature. Do a microscopic examination of the feces. Check the goat for dehydration.
Pinch the skin; if it snaps back into place, the goat is not seriously dehydrated. If the skin stays "tented," like beaten egg whites, the goat is seriously dehydrated. Mix electrolytes ReSorb or equivalent and orally drench the animal to prevent dehydration. Administer sterile Lactated Ringers Solution electrolytes under the skin sub-cutaneously if the goat is already seriously dehydrated.This site contains affiliate links.
A lot of times people get misinformation on treating scours in goats. I have heard many old timers give the advice of giving Kao-Pectin as the only treatment, and while this can help dry up the scours and help prevent dehydration, it is not a cure and will not treat any underlying conditions.
If I see an adult goat with scours I will usually check for anemia or other signs of parasites. I will also go ahead and worm her just in case. Coccidiosis: If you have a younger goat kid who seems to have sudden onset of scours, Coccidia is usually the culprit.
Unless I see signs of another cause, I will treat with Sulmet or Di-Methox these are now only available by prescription only. Learn more about diagnosing and treating coccidiosis. Changes in Diet: Often times scours in goats are not caused by a major illness, but simply eating too much of a new thing.
Diarrhea in Goats
Maybe you just upped their grain or moved them to a new green pasture. If the symptoms comes on after an escape you might want to look at possible plant toxicity. If accompanied by other painful symptoms you might be looking at a more severe condition such as Acidosis which will require additional treatment or Enterotoxemia. Stress: Things like moving, kidding, or other stressors can also cause a brief bout of scours in goats. In this case keeping the goat calm and giving some electrolytes is the best course of action.
Just keep an eye on her to see if things progress and become more serious or if other symptoms emerge.
Make she has access to fresh water and whip up some electroytes at least once a day to help even more. Thank you. Have you checked into anemia?
I have a set of 3 week old bottle baby alpines.Broadly speaking, it can be caused by viruses, bacteria, protozoa, worms, stress, toxic substances, and diet. The following list is nowhere close to being complete, but it includes the most common causes of diarrhea.
In our early years of goat ownership, our goats busted into the chicken grain more times than I can remember. Luckily the worst thing that ever happened to any of them was diarrhea for about twelve hours, which cleared up on its own.
The only time I ever had a goat get diarrhea from stress was when we picked up three kids in Massachusetts and were about half an hour into our drive home to Illinois. Did I mention that the kids were in dog crates in the car? Yeah, that was stinky. The most common cause of diarrhea in goat kids more than 3 weeks old is coccidiosis.
It is treated with over-the-counter oral meds. Although many people think coccidiosis is unavoidable, it can usually be prevented with good management. Diarrhea in adult goats is really unusual, but one of the more common causes is worms, which can also cause diarrhea in kids.
Barber pole, which causes anemia in goats, does not usually cause diarrhea. However, a goat may have more than one type of worm at a time. Basically, a goat with worms may have diarrhea or anemia or both. Swelling under the jaw bottle jaw may also be a symptom of worms, as well as a poor body condition score.
There are several over-the-counter oral drugs available to treat worms, but like antibiotics, you should only use them when absolutely necessary in order to avoid dewormer resistance. However, if they use a dewormer frequently, the worms could be resistant to the dewormer.
At the ADGA conference last year I picked up a couple of interesting tidbits, such as heating colostrum above degrees will cause diarrhea in kids, and some drugs can cause diarrhea. In addition to that, there are the 28 pages of diarrhea information in the book I mentioned earlier. If a goat ate something that disagreed with it, the diarrhea will stop even if you do nothing.Baby goat is sick with Scours - our initial treatment
If a goat has some type of infection or medical condition that needs to be treated, then the goat needs to be treated for that problem. If a goat seems otherwise healthy and happy and is in great body condition, I will usually wait to see if the diarrhea has stopped by the next morning. If not, I look at other symptoms and treat for coccidiosis or worms. In my herd, that has always done the trick. However, if I had a goat that did not improve with treatment, I would take a fecal sample to the vet to get a definitive diagnosis so the goat could be properly treated.
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Coccidiosis is caused by microscopic protozoan parasites called coccidian Eimeria spp. Coccidia go through a complex "life cycle" in the intestinal cells of goats. In the process, they produce large numbers of eggs technically called oocysts that are passed in the feces. In the process of growth and multiplication in the goat intestinal epithelial cells, the coccidia may destroy many intestinal cells.
This may cause diarrhea and other signs of the disease coccidiosis. Coccidiosis is the most common cause of diarrhea in goats between 3 weeks and 5 months of age. This is especially true when goats are housed in confinement.
Coccidiosis commonly strikes young goats shortly after weaning because of the stress of being suddenly separated from their dam. Nearly all or most adult goats carry coccidia in their intestines.
The very small eggs or oocysts passed in the feces of adult goats hatch in the environment and goats pick up the infective stages of the coccidian either directly from the manure or in contaminated feed and water. When present in small numbers, coccidia normally are not a problem. Therefore, the number of coccidia that invade the intestines will determine the severity of the infection.
There are many different species of coccidia, some being non-pathogenic, and others being either mildly, moderately, or severely pathogenic. In general, if the animals do not show any clinical signs diarrhea, etc.
In the presence of appropriate temperature, moisture and oxygen, coccidia eggs oocysts passed in the feces "hatch" technically referred to as sporulation and become infective in two to several days and can readily contaminate feed and water. Upon ingestion by other goats, these infective forms sporocysts pass through the stomach and into the intestines.
Then the sporocysts invade the intestinal cells and undergo several changes. Sick, young and stressed goats weaning is extremely stressful on kids are more susceptible and in these cases the coccidia may proliferate. It is this damage, the destruction of cells lining the intestines and damage to tissues, which give rise to the signs of coccidiosis. When a coccidiosis outbreak begins, only good sanitation and isolation of sick animals will prevent its spread through the herd. Coccidia eggs are resistant to many disinfectants and may survive more than a year in the environment.
They can stay alive in a pasture as long as they are in a moist and dark environment, but will die when temperatures drop below freezing. Goats that survive coccidiosis develop a degree of immunity to future coccidian problems.
The signs of coccidiosis are divided into two categories: subclinical and clinical. Subclinical cases result in a decrease in feed intake and weight gain, and are difficult to detect because of the absence of diarrhea.
Clinical cases can vary from some loss of appetite and decrease in weight gain and slight, short lived diarrhea to severe cases involving great amounts of diarrhea, fluid feces containing mucus and blood, persistent straining in attempt to pass feces, loss of weight, rough hair coat, dehydration, and in some cases death in as short as 24 hours. The primary pathology associated with coccidiosis involves intestinal cell destruction.
Scarring and damage to the lining of the intestines following treatment or recovery may result in permanently unthrifty and stunted goats because the ability of these goats to absorb food is impaired. Presence of coccidia eggs in the feces of normal goats indicates that the goats are infected, but not necessarily diseased. Coccidia eggs oocysts can be found in the feces of most goats, including healthy goats.
How to Treat Goat Scours
Good husbandry practices are the best preventive measures against coccidiosis. Regular removal of manure and wasted feed, not feeding on the ground, designing feeders and water systems that minimize fecal contamination, providing a clean source of water, cleaning water tanks and feeders regularly, making sure that watering systems do not leak and that sufficient sunlight enters buildings are examples of such husbandry practices.
If goats are kept on solid floors during the winter, maintaining clean and dry bedding is important. On farms where coccidiosis problems keep recurring, it may be advisable to treat the herd preventively. As of this writing, decoquinate and monensin were approved for use in non-lactating goats. However, amprolium, lasalocid, and sulfadimethoxine were not approved for goats.This website is reader-supported.
When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. You might have made your own goat hay feeder and created all the conditions for these lovely and useful animals to be well and comfortable, but sometimes different elements changing in their environment might still lead to various issues such as diarrhea.
If you are still rather new to owning and growing goats, you might feel a little overwhelmed by the situation and unsure about what the right solution is. There are a couple dozens of potential causes which can result in a goat dealing with diarrhea, so you might need to run some tests as well at the local vet, in case the situation is not improving quickly.
Generally, diarrhea can be caused by either bacteria, worms, toxic substances, stress, viruses, or drastic changes in diets. To prevent potentially harmful effects that might affect your animals, you need to make any changes in their diets as gradual as possible. Moreover, if there are several new ingredients or types of food you want to introduce, do this by only including one at a time and taking a couple of days to see if anything changes in terms of digestion.
On the other hand, goats can affect their own health by eating too much of something. You want to make sure that enclosures are secure enough to prevent them from finding those tasty grains. If they do manage to reach this food, you can expect to deal with diarrhea. The good news is that most of the time, it will probably clear up on its own. Although goats are highly adaptable animals, which made them suitable for domestication in the first place, they can still suffer from stress if their environment changes in significant ways or if they are suddenly placed in a space that is highly uncomfortable such as one that includes loud noises or in a moving vehicle.
Coccidiosis is one of the common causes of diarrhea in goats over 3 weeks old and you can treat it orally with over-the-counter meds. As bad as it sounds talking about it, worms are one of the common causes of diarrhea for adult goats. The bad news is that a goat can have more than one type of worm at the same time, which means that anemia can install as well if this is left untreated for a longer time. One of the symptoms you might notice is a swelling under the jaw, as well as an overall bad body condition.
If the situation is not too bad, you can wait until the morning and see if it develops or cures. First of all, the sick goats should be isolated from the herd if that is possible, and placed in sanitary facilities. You should also place the food in suspended containers to prevent contamination as much as possible.
In case you are not sure what the cause is at first, but you need to take action, try administering antibiotics with a broad spectrum. More importantly, check to see if dehydration is a problem since this is often the case for goats as well. Some experienced breeders advice against using Immodium or other similar meds to try and control diarrhea since these products can actually stop the peristaltic movements and action of the gut.
This in turn can bring the entire digestive process to a halt and, in very serious cases, result even in death. Goat fences When Can Goats Breed?