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Goat Health Conditions and Enterotoxemia

Also known as "overeating disease," enterotoxemia is caused by the bacterium Clostridium perfringins, Type C and D. This bacterium is a normal part of the intestinal tract of goats and other livestock; however certain conditions can trigger excessive bacterial growth, leading to lethally toxic amounts of the bacterium being produced. Enterotoxemia progresses rapidly and typically runs its course in 4 - 26 hours. Of course, early detection and swift treatment of this deadly condition is vital to save the life of an affected goat or kid.

Symptoms of Enterotoxemia in Goats

Many times, there are no symptoms of enterotoxemia in goats until the goat is found to be deceased. Enterotoxemia is a quickly-progressing disease and typically affects the most healthy-seeming kids in the herd. When symptoms of enterotoxemia do appear, they are often confused with those of E.coli, scours, and polio. Common symptoms of enterotoxemia include:

  • Excessive vocalization or "screaming"
  • Depression
  • Teeth grinding
  • Twitching or convulsing
  • Abdominal pain
  • Lying down on the side often with the head down

There are two main types of enterotoxemia: Type C and Type D.

Enterotoxemia Type C

This type of enterotoxemia is most common among nursing goat kids and is accompanied by bloody scours.

Enterotoxemia Type D

The most common form of enterotoxemia is Type D, which affects weaned kids that are eating at least 3/4 lb. of grain per day. Enterotoxemia Type D is associated with feeding lots of concentrate or sudden changes in the animal's diet.

How to Prevent Enterotoxemia in Goats

Regular vaccinations help reduce the risk of enterotoxemia in goats. Avoid sudden changes in diet If you need to change the type of feed being given to your goats, do so gradually by mixing the old feed with the new feed over 2 - 3 weeks.

Another way to prevent enterotoxemia in goats is to feed goats at a regular time and in regular intervals throughout each day, and provide feeder space for goats.