Article Index "Enterotoxemia" Article Index

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By: "Nutrient Requirements Of Goats
- Number 15, 1981, National Academy Press"
About the Author

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It has been said with reason that it is impossible to manage a herd of good dairy goats without experiencing some incidence of enterotoxemia, also known as toxic indigestion or overeating disease (Guss, 1977). Diarrhea, depression, lack of coordination, digestive upsets, coma, and death may be observed after excessive feeding on the part of both baby kids and mature animals. Excessive feeding may occur after sudden changes in feeds; with access to palatable, readily fermentable feeds relished by hungry goats; and under conditions of calcium insufficiency and acidosis.

Enterotoxemia is a toxic reaction to Clostridium perfringens type C or D, against which antitoxins and vaccination programs with toxoid or bacterins are effective. However, the best prevention in stable-fed goats is frequent feeding of milk, grain, and forage in small amounts. Large meals given once a day should be avoided. Changes of concentrates and forages in the ration should be introduced gradually over several days, especially when the protein or energy content of the diet is increased. When urea or other nonprotein nitrogen is to be part of the diet, then the gradual adaptation should take at least three weeks.

Acute indigestion with a rumen pH of less than 4.8 indicates lactic acidosis. It can follow high levels of grain feeding in early lactation and may lead to the secondary complication of enterotoxemia. Recent research with sheep and cattle on the sensitivity of Streptococcus bovis, the initiator of acute acidosis, to various antibiotics gives hope that powerful aids in the prevention of enterotoxemia may be available for goats (Muir et al., 1981).

About the author: The majority of this information was researched from various tests and sources.
"Nutrient Requirements Of Goats - Number 15, 1981, National Academy Press"
Subcommittee on Goat Nutrition
Committee on Animal Nutrition
Board on Agriculture and Renewable Resources
Commission on Natural Resources
National Research Council

Agricultural Research Service

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