FLOPPY KID SYNDROME
Floppy Kid Syndrome is literally overeating on milk. The introduction of intensive management of goats with the importation of Boers into the United States in the early 1990's brought Floppy Kid Syndrome to goat raisers' attention. Expensive goats were confined in small areas, creating conditions under which kids could demand and receive more milk from their dams than their mothers would normally feed them. Unconfined dams allow their kids to nurse for frequent but short periods of time. When a doe cannot limit the amount of milk that her kids receive at each feeding, Floppy Kid Syndrome can occur. FKS often occurs when kid goats are bottle fed.
Floppy Kid Syndrome usually doesn't appear until the kid is seven to ten days old because it takes a few days for the undigested milk to build up in the kid's stomach and toxicity to develop. Bottle babies can be an exception to this timeframe. The kid literally overeats on milk on a repeated basis and is unable to digest the milk completely before it refills its stomach by nursing again, creating a toxic condition (enterotoxemia). A painful and rapid death occurs if not immediately treated.
The solution is simple and the opposite of you might think. Take the kid off milk completely for 36 hours. Substitute Bounce Back, ReSorb, or equivalent electrolytes in place of milk and add baking soda to neutralize the conditions in the kid's stomach. Administer C&D anti-toxin (NOT the toxoid CD/T) immediately. Use Milk of Magnesia to push the partially-digested milk through the kid's system and out of its body. Prescription Banamine will help calm the gut pain. Banamine dosage for a newborn or young kid is minimally 1/10th of a cc given IM or SQ.
Because most FKS kids are wobbly-legged and stagger like they are drunk if they can walk at all, tube feeding may be necessary. Dissolve one teaspoon of baking soda in eight (8) ounces of warmed electrolytes and mix thoroughly. If the kid will not suck a bottle, stomach tube one to two ounces (30 - 60 cc's) of this solution into the kid's stomach. Wait one or two hours and tube feed another one to two ounces. Don't bloat the kid's stomach; use common sense about how much it can hold.
Administer an injection of C&D ANTI-toxin SQ over the ribs using an 18 gauge needle. This is NOT CD/T. Follow label dosing directions. C&D ANTI-toxin helps counteract the toxic effect of the undigested milk in the kid's stomach and should be used every twelve (12) hours. The dam's immunities passed to the kid via mother's milk are supposed to protect the kid during its first few months of life, after which time the kid's own immune system starts slowly developing. But if the kid is overfed on milk, no maternal antibodies or medication can prevent Floppy Kid Syndrome.
Because Floppy Kid Syndrome is accompanied by a bacterial infection in the kid's gut, antibiotic therapy is advisable. Obtain a vet prescription for liquid Sulfadimethoxazine with Trimethoprim and orally medicate for five consecutive days, dosing at two cc's. Dose the kid with Milk of Magnesia orally (five cc's per 20 pounds body weight) to speed the elimination of the undigested milk from its body. Mineral oil can be effective but must be stomach-tubed into the goat. Because mineral oil has no taste, the goat may aspirate it into its lungs rather than swallowing it. Stomach tube mineral oil, when needed.
A warm soapy enema can be given to remove hard-packed feces from the lower intestinal tract via the anus; however, an enema will not move undigested milk from the stomach. When giving a warm soapy enema, use a 3 cc Luer-slip syringe and carefully put the slip (tip) portion of the syringe into the kid's rectal opening. Repeat several times, remembering that this is delicate tissue.
Diarrhea sometimes occurs with FKS. This is good. The kid's body is trying to eliminate toxic substances. Do not use diarrhea medication unless the scouring is a liquid of watery consistency, threatening dehydration, and be very careful how much anti-diarrheal is given. Diarrhea is a symptom of an illness and not an illness itself. See my article on Diarrhea on the Articles page at www.tennesseemeatgoats.com.
Do not give Immodium AD to a goat. Immodium AD slows and can stop the peristaltic action of the gut, immobilizing the undigested milk in the kid's stomach, making the situation worse. Do not use an anti-diarrheal product that is clay-based or psyllium-based. If diarrhea becomes watery, orally dose the kid with six (6) to ten (10) cc's of Pepto Bismol up to three times a day and use injectable Banamine to quiet the gut. Keep the kid hydrated with electrolytes.
The electrolyte/baking soda solution will both rehydrate the kid and soothe its gut. A kid can survive on the electrolyte/baking soda solution up to three days if that much time is needed to get its digestive system cleared of undigested milk. After about 36 hours, the kid needs protein, so start feeding milk again when its feces have returned to normal form, it can stand and nurse, and the kid has been re-hydrated. Then ease the kid back onto milk by feeding equal parts milk and electrolytes, slowing increasing the milk ratio until you are feeding goat's milk exclusively.
Bottle babies are a special situation. People new to bottle babies can cause Floppy Kid Syndrome by overfeeding milk. A kid will drink as much as you will let it drink; the sucking response makes it feel safe and secure. Feeding newborn to three-week-old bottle babies more frequently than every six hours on a 24-hour clock is asking for problems. Between those 6-hour intervals, you can bottle-feed warmed electrolytes, if necessary. See my article on Overfeeding Bottle Babies for guidance on how to feed the kid based upon body weight.
During the first two to four weeks of life, bottle babies should be fed with individual bottles to control the amount of milk that they receive. Once the kid begins to eat solid food (hay, goat pellets, leaves), it isn't as susceptible to Floppy Kid Syndrome.
Multiple bottle babies can be fed on a Lambar available from Jeffers (1-800-533-3377). A Lambar is a milk-feeding system consisting of a three-and-one-half gallon bucket with lid and holes around it into which nipples attached to feeding tubes are placed. Training kids to use a Lambar is easy and your workload can be lightened IF you can keep kids from drinking too much, overturning the bucket, and knocking the lid off. Build a frame and secure it to the floor, then place the bucket inside it.
I prefer using individual bottles so I know exactly how much milk each kid receives. In all cases (Lambar or individual bottles), proper cleaning both before and after use is essential.
All of the non-prescription items mentioned here can be purchased from Jeffers (1-800-533-3377 or www.jefferslivestock.com.) Jeffers is a family-based company that has been in the livestock supply business for over 30 years and are a great group of people with whom to do business.
Suzanne W. Gasparotto, ONION CREEK RANCH, Texas 4.1.23
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All information provided in these articles is based either on personal experience or information provided by others whose treatments and practices have been discussed fully with a vet for accuracy and effectiveness before passing them on to readers.
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