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By Suzanne Gasparotto
Oct 31, 2002, 2:56pm

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Goats are essentially very hardy animals, but COCCIDIOSIS is one of several diseases that will kill them quickly.

The organism which causes COCCIDIOSIS is an intestinal parasite named COCCIDIOSIS and the oocysts are present to some degree in all goats. Babies are particularly susceptible to COCCIDIOSIS because their immune systems are not developed. The disease is passed through fecal-to-oral contact, usually as babies first begin to eat solid foods. Recall how kid goats pick up and "mouth" everything that they see. When they ingest goat pills infected with COCCIDIOSIS, severe illness and oftentimes death results.

COCCIDIOSIS usually first shows itself through diarrhea. Along with diarrhea comes dehydration and fever. As with any sick goat, the first step is to take the animal's rectal temperature. Normal goat temperature is 101.5 - 103.5 degrees Farenheit. If the temperature exceeds 103.5 degrees F., discounting a couple of degrees for goats out in the sun on a very hot day, then remedial measures are required.

Banamine (veterinary prescription required) should be administered intramuscularly (IM) at a rate of 1 cc per 100 pounds of body weight. A newborn kid would receive .1 - .2 cc (one-tenth to two-tenths of a cc) of Banamine. This medication will calm the gut and assist in bringing the fever down; it will also lower the body's temperature slightly below normal for up to 48 hours, so keep that in mind when subsequent rectaltemperatures are taken. Banamine should not be used but once every 36-72 hours, because it causes stomach ulcers if used too frequently.

A severely dehydrated goat should receive Re-Sorb electrolytes, both in an oral drench and in the water bucket. Additionally, Lactated Ringers Solution (also a vet prescription, but very inexpensive) should be given under the skin (SQ) at both shoulders . . . 30 cc per side for kids. A 60 cc syringe with an 18-gauge needle should be used for this procedure. LRS ,can be used safely repeatedly. It is cheap and extremely effective. Keeping the goat hydrated with Re-Sorb (or equivalent) electrolytes and Lactated Ringers Solution (LRS) is critical to the animal's survival. Note: More common household items such as Gatorade or Pedialyte may be used in place of Re-Sorb in emergencies, but be advised that these two products really don't have enough glucose . . . so get some Re-Sorb at the first opportunity!

The antibiotic of choice is Primor (also a veterinary prescription). Administer one tablet in the morning and the second tablet in the evening of the first day, and one tablet each day thereafter, for a total of five days. Primor comes in body-weight dosages, and the tablets are scored so that they can be split in half for accurate dosing. Give Primor orally. Endosorb can be obtained through your vet and given in the Re-Sorb oral drench to calm the gut; it is crumbly and dissolves easily. Tagamet HR200 can be used if Endorsorb is not available. For kids, dosage is one-half of a Tagamet 200mg tablet daily for 4-5 consecutive days.

Adults, particularly does who have recently kidded and are therefore in a more weakened condition, can contract COCCIDIOSIS, too. More reliance will have to be put on Re-Sorb, since it is difficult to get enough Lactated Ringers Solution into an adult. A minimum of 120 cc of LRS must be given to adult goats (60 cc per shoulder SQ). It may be necessary to stomach tube an adult goat with Re-Sorb electrolytes. A stallion catheter is useful for this procedure, but stomach-tubing an adult goat is very dangerous. A vet should do this procedure if at all possible. Cut the end off a syringe cover, place it between the goat's lips, and feed the stomach tube through the syringe cover to keep the goat from biting the tube in two. A broken stomach tube can deliver liquid into the lungs ,instead of the stomach and kill the goat.

Stomach tubing a goat is a "learned" art. A few tips to make it easier and safer: By holding your finger and thumb on either side of the goat's neck, you can feel the tube going down the esophagus under the skin if you are in the right "hole." The esophagus is soft, while the bronchial tube (airway to the lungs) is hard and ringed like a dryer hose. Additionally, ,if you insert the tube in the corner of the goat's mouth slowly, the swallowing reflex will pull the tube into the esophagus and the goat will help get the tube down by swallowing, if the animal is conscious. Before inserting the tube, "measure" it alongside the goat's body from its mouth to its stomach and visually gauge how much tube needs to go inside the goat.

As with virtually every other goat illness, green leaves are the best natural product to feed to the sick animal. Green leaves will be the first food that a sick goat will eat, followed by hay, and lastly, the goat will finally begin eating processed grain.

COCCIDIOSIS is a disease resulting from stress. Keeping pens clean and water fresh is vital. Unsanitary conditions cause COCCIDIOSIS to thrive, and it is very contagious. COCCIDIOSIS will spread through a herd like wildfire.

Additionally, individually orally drench every infected goat twice daily with a solution of one ounce CoRid (amprollium) mixed into five and one-half (5-1/2) ounces of Re-Sorb. Give kids 30-40 cc of this mixture twice daily; adults should receive 70-80 cc twice daily. This may seem like a lot, but personal experience with this procedure has proven its worth. Further, confine the entire exposed herd to a single source of water for five consecutive days. Using the treatment dosage on the CoRid package, mix CoRid into the only source of water. If automatic floats are used to keep the water tub filled, turn them off so that dilution of the medication does not occur. Follow label directions carefully. Continue the twice-daily individual animal oral drenching for five consecutive days.

Be advised that some in some areas, producers and vets are finding that new strains of COCCIDIOSIS are resistant to CoRid. Producers are advised to consider using Albon or its generic equivalent, Sulfadimethoxine 12.5% (Di-Methox 12.5% Solution by AgriLabs), as these products attack both COCCIDIOSIS oocysts and secondary bacterial infections. Follow the package directions for usage in drinking water and the individual oral drenching information given for CoRid in this article. The writer prefers the liquid products because they are easier to dose properly, although they also come in powders.

COCCIDIOSIS is species-specific. This means that one species of animal cannot infect another species. Old-time goat ranchers incorrectly believe that chickens can give COCCIDIOSIS to goats.

Kids are more prone to COCCIDIOSIS than are adult goats. Weight loss is substantial and sometimes chronic; many times kids get so far set back by COCCIDIOSIS that they never fully develop their potential. The effect on continued growth is generally irreversible, largely because damage to the intestinal lining is so severe that food absorption is compromised. Very advanced cases of COCCIDIOSIS result in diarrhea containing mucous and blood. The kid will actually squirt blood out of its rear.

Your vet can take a fecal sample and determine if COCCIDIOSIS oocysts are present under the microscope. It is a simple, cheap diagnostic test. Better yet, start doing your own fecals. See the article on my website that demonstrates how to do your own fecal counts. The equipment is cheap and the process is easy.

Use goat feed treated with a coccidiostat to help prevent an outbreak. Remember, however, that those goats most at risk are kids just beginning to eat solid food (about 3-4 weeks of age). Once the infection sets in, cocidiostat-treated feed won't solve the problem.

There is a type of COCCIDIOSIS that displays no diarrhea whatsoever, but instead the animal is hypoglycemic (low blood sugar). Veterinary diagnosis is essential, as the goat breeder is seldom able to determine the problem. Time is critical, because the goat won't live long without proper treatment.

If the antibiotic Primor is not doing the job, investigate switching to Baytril. A veterinary prescription, Baytril is available both in tablets and injectable form, but the orally-given tablets appear to get into the gut faster. Baytril is the ultimate goat antibiotic, and as such, should be used as a last resort. Occasionally a goat has an allergic reaction to Baytril and joint swelling (usually the knees) occurs. Treatment is available to solve this rare problem, but it takes a long time to effect a cure. Injectable Baytril is most useful when big, strong bucks require medicating. Caution : Be advised that in some areas Baytril is not approved for use in food animals. So check with your vet about the legality of using this product.

Prevent COCCIDIOSIS by keeping pens and bedding clean, water fresh, goats uncrowded, and areas dry. Wet conditions contribute heavily towards a COCCIDIOSIS outbreak.

Once treatment is complete and the animal is well, always administer Probios oral ruminant gel to re-populate the gut with live bacteria that have been destroyed by the disease and the antibiotics. Scour medications and antibiotics must always be followed by usage of oral ruminant gel.

***Information - Service of GoatConnection.com - Khimaira***

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