Tuesday, April 22, 2014

April Topic: A (Poorly) Illustrated Guide to Baby Goat Poop

Meconium: Black, tarry poops - Usually seen between 0 and 48 hours old. Totally normal. This is the first poops baby goats will have. They are extremely sticky and get all over everything. They are (mercifully) odorless.  

  Yellow, watery scours - Usually seen between 1 and 14 days old. Not normal. Watery diarrhea is caused by too much milk per feeding or milk replacer. To cure, lower the amount of milk per feeding until the scours stop. Or change the type of milk replacer. Baby goats do best on replacer made for goats, not "all stock" or cow replacer. NO medication necessary. 

Yellow, pudding poops - Usually seen between 1 and 14 days old. Totally normal. Since young babies are on a diet of pure milk, their poops will be yellow in color and the consistency of thick pudding. Be sure to clean the anal area of dried poop so not to cause blockage. This stuff is very sticky and smells like soured milk (probably because it is soured milk!).

No poop - Occurs at 1-14 days old but can happen anytime. Very common, but not normal. Since the first poops are very sticky, they can clog up the works and cause constipation. The best treatment is to give a warm water enema of 1 oz warm water and 1 tsp mineral oil. Put in a large syringe with no needle. Insert into anus and slowly push the plunger. You should see pooping within 15 minutes. Repeat enema as necessary. DO NOT give laxatives!

Yellow, grape clusters - Usually seen at 10-20 days old. Very normal. The pudding poops turn slowly into yellow berries as the baby's digestive system matures. They may be brownish as the kid starts eating grain and hay.

Smelly, green diarrhea - Occurs at 21 -30 days old. Very common, but not normal! This is the major symptom of coccidiosis infection. Coccidiosis is caused by a single-celled internal parasite that is not a worm and it is not killed by deworming medicines. You must treat immediately and aggressively with Sulmet, Di-Methox or Corid. These are sulfa-based antibiotics that will kill coccidia parasites. Kids can die quickly from coccidiosis infection and even if they don't die, they can be stunted for life due to the damage caused to their intestinal lining. The best treatment is to treat kids preventatively for coccidiosis by giving them a sulfa-based antibiotic at exactly 21 days old. Coccidia have a 21 day life cycle and killing them before they mature and cause massive damage is essential.

Smelly, green scours - Usually follows the green diarrhea of coccidiosis but can occur alone. Not normal. EXTREMELY FATAL. Very watery, very smelly greenish or brownish scours signals massive digestive system damage. Enterotoxemia is a likely cause. Enterotoxemia is caused by a bacterium called Clostridium perfingens. C. perfingens is found in the soil and does not normally colonize the digestive system of a healthy goat. If the kid is already sick from coccidiosis or bloat, enterotoxemia can occur due to C. perfingens taking advantage of an unhealthy rumen. The best treatment is large doses of CD Antitoxin, orally. This will help to neutralize the toxins produced by the bacteria. Give 10 - 20 cc orally every 4 hours until the kid improves. Vaccinating your pregnant goats with CDT toxoid at 4 weeks before kidding and vaccinating kids at 4 weeks old can help build immunity to enterotoxemia.

Brown berries - Usually seen at 2-4 weeks old or older. Normal. Yay! You made it! Miniature brown berries are the endpoint of a long road to adult goat pooping.