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. However, before thinking about what measures you can take in case your animals are dealing with this issue, it’s important to take a look at the main possible causes and if any of them apply in the case of your goats as well.
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.
In the following lines, we’ll take a closer look at some of these, so that you can understand what you can do to prevent such situations.
Changes in diet
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. Some owners call grain the “goat crack” since this type of food is so addictive to them that they can end up eating a lot more than they should and, in the most severe cases, this can prove to be fatal.
That’s why it’s crucial for you to make sure that your goats are nowhere near the grains that you use to feed other animals, such as chickens. 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. Another thing you might want to remember is that consuming too much milk can cause diarrhea for goat babies as well, but that’s another story.
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.
If you’ve identified one of these situations as a potential cause, then take the goats to a spot that makes them feel safe and then let them calm down for a bit. However, if the situation persists, especially if you’ve moved to a completely different location, do check other potential causes such as bacteriological ones with a specialist.
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. If you do start treatment but you don’t see any improvements within a few days, then you need to investigate further and see what other undiscovered elements might be causing the condition.
In case a kid gets diarrhea before the age of three weeks, it’s most probably caused by this infectious agent or by having drunk too much milk. Most adults carry coccidia in the digestive system, but this doesn’t cause any problem which means that if an adult has diarrhea, chances are this is not the cause.
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 you do use dewormers and still notice unsettling sings that might indicate the presence of worms, then it’s good to know that these can actually develop a resistance to such substances if they are used frequently.
First of all, keep in mind that anti-diarrhea medication doesn’t actually address the cause but merely the symptoms, which means that you should always consider taking additional measures and running tests if the situation doesn’t improve.
If it’s just a matter of a little indigestion, it will go away on its own. If the situation is not too bad, you can wait until the morning and see if it develops or cures. On the other hand, if we’re talking about more serious symptoms, there are several things that you might want to do.
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.
You should also use a rectal thermometer to see what the goat’s body temperature is and, if necessary, do a microscopic examination of feces. 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.