Onion Creek Ranch, Lohn, Texas
Suzanne W. Gasparotto, Onion Creek Ranch, Lohn, TX
Lohn, Texas
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Goats cannot tolerate dramatic changes in their feed regimen. Unfortunately, too many breeders do not understand this, and goats are dying unnecessarily.

I can best describe Ruminal Acidosis by providing an example. Four goats (a buck, two does, and a buckling) were delivered to Onion Creek Ranch in Buda, Texas by a woman who had purchased them but could no longer keep them. She had run out of sacked goat feed, and believing that they would be stressed in a strange place and not likely to eat, she fed them a five-gallon bucket of shelled corn.

The four goats arrived on a Sunday morning. On Monday morning, they were all four quite ill with diarrhea and the dehydration which accompanies diarrhea. The nursing doe was immobile on the ground in a sea of messy feces. Unable to stand, she was near death.

I sprang into action immediately, giving her Lactated Ringers Solution sub-cutaneously and ReSorb oral drench to try to rehydrate her. To calm her gut (and drop her fever, which was high), Banamine was administered (vet prescription). Whenever fever is present, either infection or inflammation exists, so Naxcel (vet prescription) was also given to the doe. I could have used Primor (vet prescription) in lieu of Naxcel; it is a great "gut" antibiotic.

Knowing that IV fluids and feeding were essential, I promptly called my vet. I had done all I could on my own. Her kid was about seven weeks old, so he could eat on his own, and the other two adults were not nearly so ill.

"Eve" remained at the veterinary hospital from Monday until Saturday, hooked up to an IV and in Intensive Care. The vet gave "Eve" repeated doses of Magna-Lax to clear her system of the corn. Magna-Lax is the veterinarian equivalent of Milk of Magnesia. Always keep it on hand for Ruminal Acidosis or bloat/overeating.

Blood testing confirmed Ruminal Acidosis, which we already knew from the contents of her feces and her dehydrated condition. As late as Thursday,she was still passing shelled corn in her feces.

I paralleled her treatment on the two adults remaining at my Ranch. The buckling was the least affected.

Plainly, simply, because of this drastic change in feed, "Eve's" rumen had literally shut down. She was dying. Because I knew what to do, this goat lived through Ruminal Acidosis . . . even though she lost over 30% of her body weight during the illness. Once she recovered, and it took many months, she was bred and produced triplet girls the next spring. She is still at Onion Creek Ranch and doing great.

Goat producers must be careful when making changes in feed. When acquiring new goats, find out what they have been fed and obtain a small supply to mix in with your feed for the first week. Ease them onto new feed and hay gradually. Feeding shelled corn is particularly bad for goats, because they love it ("goat candy") and will overeat on it almost without fail. People feed it because it is cheap, but it is NOT a good goat feed.

In many ways, goats are hardy animals, but those things which can kill them will take them out quickly. Ruminal Acidosis, which is easily avoided, is one of those "killer" things.

Meat Goat Mania

Important! Please Read This Notice!

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.

In all cases, it is your responsibility to obtain veterinary services and advice before using any of the information provided in these articles. Suzanne Gasparotto is not a veterinarian.Neither tennesseemeatgoats.com nor any of the contributors to this website will be held responsible for the use of any information contained herein.

The author, Suzanne Gasparotto, hereby grants to local goat publications and club newsletters, permission to reprint articles published on the Onion Creek Ranch website under these conditions: THE ARTICLE MUST BE REPRODUCED IN ITS ENTIRETY AND THE AUTHOR'S NAME, ADDRESS, AND CONTACT INFORMATION MUST BE INCLUDED AT THE BEGINNING OF THE REPRINT. We would appreciate notification from any clubs or publications when the articles are used. (A copy of the newsletter or publication would also be a welcome addition to our growing library of goat related information!)

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