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Rated 4.4 by 8 responses.
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The following discussion appeared in the GoatWorld Message Forum. This message thread may or may not be indicative of the exact problem you are experiencing, and may also contain information that leads to other topics, but should be considered as a reference for comparative purposes.

Original Question:
"We have a 1 week old Pygmy Goat kid that is very weak. She just sleeps and whines and won't attempt to eat. She's been great up until this point. Her temperature is very low at 96.3. We have her wrapped in a heated blanket and just gave her about 3 cc of Pepto Bismol (didn't want to give too much and have her throw it up) and also gave her 1 cc of B vitamins. Is there anything more we should or could be doing?"first?"

When was the last time she ate? Is she with her dam or being bottle fed? Do you know if she received colostrum? (aka first milk). Hydration is going to be very important. You can bottle or tube feed Pedialyte. You might want to give some Goat Nutridrench, dextrose or propylene glycol for energy. In a pinch Karo syrup can be used. Low blood sugar can make her hypothermic (low body temperature). Is she pooping? Is it normal or diarrhea? If she is being dam fed check the doe for mastitis.

"She is nursing and yes she did receive colostrum. I really don't know when the last time she pooped was and we actually saw her eat last, yesterday mid-afternoon. Her mom tries to encourage her to eat but she just rubs her nose on the nipple and will not actually eat. How do I check for mastitis? She has a twin sister that is doing great and I just witnessed her eating a couple of hours ago if that helps at all. It looks like I will most likely have to attempt the Karo syrup as the nearest TSC is an hour trip. Can you tell me the mixture please?"

If the doe is happily nursing another kid she does not have mastitis. Give the kid 2 to 3 cc's of Karo syrup. You might also give an enema, just in case she is constipated. You can use a 3 to 6 cc syringe with the little nipple tip on it and give a warm water enema. If you have a feeding tube, these are excellent for giving an enema as you can get it into the rectum better (an inch to 1.5 inches). I usually give my pygmy kids about 6 cc's when doing an enema. A constipated kid won't nurse but will just go through the motions. What is her temperature now?

"Her temperature is up to 101.4 and we've decided to give her a bottle to try to get some fluid into her and we have managed to get a little into her. We performed an enema. Real yellow/orange poop came out. She's stopped crying so much but still didn't want anything to do with her mom."

She is still feeling pretty bad and may take a day or so to be feeling better. Her digestive system has to normalize and get moving again. She is not out of the woods yet. She is still acidotic and dehydrated and at risk for enterotoxemia. Do you have any penicillin and/or CD antitoxin?

"We have the CD Tetanus Toxoid. She seems to be weezing and breathing hard."

That is the vaccine and won't do what you need it to do. But if you have penicillin give 1 cc per 15 pounds by SQ injection 3 times a day. Give the Pepto Bismol 3 times a day for 24 hours. Give the Karo syrup 2 to 3 times today. Get fluids into her as best you can, she needs about 3 ounces per pound of body weight of milk or pedialyte or a combination divided into 4 to 6 meals over 24 hours. How much fluids have you gotten into her so far? Do you have a feeding tube?

"We've only gotten an ounce and 1/2 of milk into her. She urinated and pooped on her own about 15 minutes ago but still won't eat from mom. We tried to give her the bottle but she doesn't want that either. I do not have a feeding tube. I do have someone on their way to the grocery store to get some pedialite."

Very good. You should get a feeding tube and syringe when you have time. They save alot of aggravation and prevent inhalation pneumonia when feeding a kid that won't or can't suck. I've saved a bunch of kids with them. They are easy to use and not nearly as dangerous as it sounds. What is her temperature now? Be sure to monitor this closely if she can't move herself off the heating pad. A kid with low body temperature will tend to wheeze as fluids build up in the lungs when their circulation is slow. Is she alert? Can she stand on her own? Can she walk?

"Her temperature is still good at 101.7. She is alert and was able to walk for a little bit but was really very shaky. She begins to cry so I put her with her mom but still refuses to eat. I don't leave her with her for long because I don't want her temperature to drop again. She seems to be extremely weak now. I've tried to call the vet in our area but he's out of town today and his message say's "we're on our own." I tried the pedialite but she will not swallow it. Would an antibotic do any good? We do have LA200."

Her temperature is still a bit low. Most kids are 102.5 to 103. But she is a good bit better. When was her last dose of Karo? Last dose of Pepto? Last fluids? I would be giving her fluids 1/2 ounce to 1 ounce every hour to 90 minutes, Pepto every 4 hours. You might try alternating by offering her whole milk in the bottle to get her to suckle and if she won't suckle then try to get the pedialyte down her instead by drenching slowly. Give another dose of B Complex too. This helps with nerve and muscle function. I don't think an antibiotic would have time to work. Unfortunately it has sounded like the onset of enterotoxemia from the start. But do try giving the B Complex and the Pepto. By any chance do you have any IV Fluids like Ringers Lactate? This can be injected SQ under the skin over the shoulders to help with rehydrating...

"We just got another ounce down her. We haven't given any further pepto or vitamins since the first dosage. I keep trying with the Karo and pedialite but it isn't going too good. The milk we are giving is the mixture of cow milk, buttermilk and evaporated milk that's on here. Should we give an antibiotic?"

Since it might be enterotoxemia you can try giving LA 200 orally at 1 cc per 30 pounds and also give a dose by SQ injection. Then give it twice a day by SQ injection for 3 to 5 days. She will then need to start a probiotic if she starts to get better. But I am not sure it will have time to work as she seems to be slipping away pretty fast. Remember to keep her propped up on her chest too, not laying flat out. Have you given the B Vitamins yet? Give them by injection since her digestive system isn't working well right now.

"Her temperature is 103.4 right now. I don't have any IV fluids. She just had a messy poop but she just doesn't seem to be getting any better. We did give the b vitamins and pepto."

Sorry things aren't looking too good. All you can do is keep trying but mostly try to keep her comfortable. She will either get better or she won't. At her age she doesn't have much reserve. Sometimes all you can do is hold them gently to help ease the stress and wait and see. Do you have a 20, 35 or 60 cc syringe to go with the feeding tubes you ordered? I want to be able to get this out to you ASAP tomorrow. I also want to be sure you have everything you need.

"Thanks for your concern with everything. The largest syringes I have are 5 cc. We just lost her though so no rush on the order. I still want the feeding tubes though so we have them on hand, whatever syringes you think I need, feel free to add them to my order, I'm not concerned about the price. What is it you think could have possibly happened to her? We were so concerned about the birthing and making sure her mother fed her and everything was going so good. Too good I guess. We've lost kids in the past but this illness seemed to come out of no where as she was perfectly fine yesterday. I just need to know what to do to prevent this from happening again, especially because we actually have 7 more kids we are caring for right now."

Do you give pregnant does BO-SE injections a month before kidding? Did this kid itself have a BO-SE injection? I also raise pygmies and had a terrible time before giving BO-SE injections. I would have kids born that were nursing well and active and then by day two or three they nursed less...would go under mom and hunch on her bag but then would not suckle. Anyone who wasn't paying close attention would have thought that they were nursing well but when I studied their actions they went through the motions but never actually nursed. They would get weak and die within the first week. Since starting BO-SE and giving enemas to make sure things keep moving through their digestive systems, I have not lost another kid. So I just was curious as to whether you used BO-SE or not. This may have nothing to do with your case.

"No we did not give BO-SE injections. I truthfully don't even know what that is."

BO-SE is a combination of selenium and Vitamin E and is prescription only, at least the injectible. Much of the US is selenium deficient and it is necessary to supplement by giving injections of Bo-se. I was concerned when I lost so many kids...called my local vet and asked him if we are selenium deficient and he said "no" and sort of laughed me off. I called two goat breeders near me, one raises dairy goats, the other Boers. Both used BO-SE and told me that regardless of what the vet said, they knew we are selenium deficient. I also spoke with other pgymy breeders and they too agreed that they had found BO-SE made a difference in their herds. So I tried it on a set of weak triplets that I had. They started out nursing pretty well but two lost interest by the second day. I got tiny injections from my vet and gave all three and by the next day, all were nursing well and grew stronger. Since then I give all my goats regular injections...does before breeding and then another a month before delivery. Bucks get twice a year injections. Kids get shots if they seem to need it. Bowed legs or weak legs definitely require a shot. Both my feed and Sweetlix minerals contain selenium but evidently not enough. I would suggest talking to other breeders in your area to see what they have found to be the case. I live in the deep south.

Did you vaccinate any of the does for CDT 4 to 6 weeks before kidding? If not one other thing you might think of doing as kids are born is to give them CD antitoxin when they are born to help protect them from enterotoxemia until they are old enough to vaccinate at 10 weeks.

I personally don't have a whole lot of faith in Panacur. It is the same as Safeguard and that doesn't work for long unless given at 3 to 4 times the cattle dose for 5 consecutive days. Even at that dose it doesn't work in many places in the US. Check the lower inner eyelids of ALL of your goats. They should be DEEP reddish pink. If they are pale pink or white they have a severe worm load. I use Ivermectin Injectable for Cattle given orally at 1 cc per 25 pounds for 2 days repeating the treatment in 10 days to 2 weeks. Deworm ALL does on the day they kid or the day after. Ivermectin is very safe even at 25 times this dose for all goats pregnant does, kids and bucks.

Providing a loose mineral with adequate copper is also essential. Goats can't lick long enough or hard enough to make good use of a block. If your mineral or feed is labeled for sheep and goats its doesn't have enough copper for goats. Look for a loose mineral with 900 to 1800 ppm copper, 3000 to 5000 ppm zinc and a 2 to 1 ratio of calcium to phosphorus. If you can't find one like that for goats then try looking at beef cattle minerals. I have used a beef cattle mineral for years and am very pleased with the results.

Worms did not kill this kid. They take at least 3 weeks to mature in the intestines. Most kids don't have a problem with parasites before 6 to 8 weeks old maybe longer than that depending on overcrowding and rate of exposure from the herd.

"I will check into that. I have another question though. Last month we lost a buck and a doe and had another buck begin to go down. All had extremely low body temps and got weak. Once we got their temps up they seemed to be doing good but then took another dive and we lost one buck and one doe. I called the vet out and he said there was a strain of worms in the area that are very resistant. He gave us Panacur which saved the last buck and he is doing good now. We also gave b vitamins. My question is, could this have been what caused her to go down? She basically experienced the same as what the adults did, just that perhaps being so young, couldn't manage to get herself going again. Should we give the Panacur to the other 7 babies just to be safe? Is Panacur safe to give at such a young age? All are within the 1st week of their lives. Just wanted to let you know that I spoke to the vet and he confirmed we do have a selenium deficiency in our area. He thought it was a great idea and thought he had already given us some (he didn't) so he wrote us a RX. Thanks for all the help you both have offered."

Sorry you lost the little doe, but at least you now know you are deficient and can stop future problems caused by selenium deficiency. Wishing you happier kiddings ahead.

GoatWorld Notes:
This case had an unfortunate outcome of course as the kid didn't make it. But each person involved with this case tried their best. Mostly, many things can be learned from this case. Selenium deficiency can often show up unexpectedly as such. A few things I might point out: as is most often the case, many goat owners will discover a sick kid or adult goat and immediately think that food or liquids will bring them out of it. In this case, the owner had checked the temperature of the goat and found it to be extremely low (96F). It is a good idea to always take the temperature before trying to give food or liquids. The reasoning behind this is simply that when the temperature drops below the normal temperature range, this usually is significant that the body is shutting down various organs such as the digestive system. Anything food or liquids given during low body temperatures as such will slosh around and go nowhere except to build up significantly dangerous levels of bad bacteria and gas. This will only complicate a situation that may have not been related to the disgestive system. Always take the temperature before proceeding. I've found many a weak kid that will have no apparent interest in nursing, discovered a low temperature and immediately proceed to warming them up to normal, be it in a sink with warm water or by use of heating pads or heat lamps.

In determined cases of selenium deficiencies, I have found that generally doelings can often be found to exhibit many of the symptoms that were outlined within this discussion. Bucklings on the other hand will often present at birth with weak or completely unusable back legs (this is often also referred to as White Muscle Disease). In areas known to be selenium deficient, the use of BO-SE has become well accepted. I tend to treat before or after cases through the use of minerals. A pregnant doe given access to a properly balanced mineral mix (based upon the deficiencies in any given area) is far less likely to present kids with deficiency issues. Likewise, a doe that has kidded and presented deficiency issues in her kids can also be given a proper mineral mix and thus correct the kids deficiences as well as her own, over a marginal period of time. Sometimes the BO-SE application may be right for the situation at hand.

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