January 2012 Issue



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Enterotoxemia, commonly called Overeating Disease, is caused by the bacterium Clostridium perfringens. There is an "alphabet soup" of types of C. perfringens, but types C and D are what are usually seen in goats in the USA. Although not written in stone, type C is more often found in young kids and type D is more common in adult goats.

Enterotoxemia is mostly a management-caused disease. Feeding too much carbohydrate-rich feed (processed grains) creates an environment of undigested starches in the rumen and intestines where C. perfringens toxins can flourish. Other causes can be very lush pasture or feeding baked goods such as bread. Goats breaking into a feed bin and eating their fill will usually result in Overeating Disease. Any sudden change in feed or pasture or in how or even when you feed can cause Enterotoxemia. The pH of the rumen becomes acidic, rumen contractions slow down, toxins get into the blood stream and go systemic (throughout the goat's body), damaging blood vessels in the brain (become neurotoxic), and killing the goat. All changes in feed, hay, and pasture must be done slowly and over multiple days to avoid shocking the rumen and causing sickness.

Transmission of this bacterium from goat to goat is via feces, although it can also live in the soil. The bacterium is present in small amounts in most rumens but it really takes its toll when it flourishes in the intestinal tract. The bacterium can generate in as little as eight minutes, which means quick onset of life-threatening illness.

There are three generalized categories of Entertoxemia: (1) Very young nursing kids who overeat on dam's milk. Overeating Disease at this stage of life is known as Floppy Kid Syndrome, seldom has diarrhea as a symptom, and is a paracute condition (rapid onset with quick death if not immediately treated) usually caused by Type C. See my article on FKS on the Articles page of www.tennesseemeatgoats.com; (2) Just-weaned kids who are transitioning from milk to solid food. This type of Overeating Disease may or may not have diarrhea accompany it; (3) Older kids and adult goats. They usually contract C. perfringens type D and green turning-to-blackish diarrhea may occur. If it becomes chronic (keeps recurring), there is probably an underlying chronic wasting issue that should be investigated.

Symptoms of Enterotoxemia include watery diarrhea (or no diarrhea, if paracute), lethargy (sluggish) , low body temperature as the goat begins to shut down and die, arching of the back (abdominal discomfort), screaming (extremely painful), head pulled back, lying on side and leg paddling, convulsions, coma, and death. Recovery is unlikely if treatment isn't immediate and aggressive. Post-mortem diagnosis will reflect a pulpy kidney if the necropsy is done immediately.

Treatment includes immediate sub-cutaneous (SQ) injection of C&D Anti-toxin (not the toxoid but the ANTI-toxin), Milk of Magnesia to push the toxic feed out of the body, electrolytes orally or Lactated Ringers SQ to keep the goat hydrated, activated charcoal orally to bind up the toxins in the rumen and intestines, Banamine into the muscle (IM) for pain, and oral sulfa antibiotics to kill the bacterium. C&D anti-toxin is made for goats and has dosages on the label; follow dosage directions on the label and give every 12 hours until the goat is well. Dr. Mary Smith in GOAT MEDICINE states that there have been reports of possible allergic reactions to C&D anti-toxin in Saanen milk goats, so if you are raising that breed, have Benadryl and epinephrine on hand.

Subscribe FREE now! Monthly issues with new articles and other educational information on meat goat health, nutrition, and management written by Suzanne W. Gasparotto of Onion Creek Ranch and Pat Cotten of Bending Tree Ranch. In all cases, it is your responsibility to obtain veterinary services and advice before using any of the information provided in these articles. Neither Suzanne Gasparotto nor Pat Cotten are veterinarians. None of the contributors to this website will be held responsible for the use of any information contained herein.


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Milk of Magnesia should be dosed orally at 15 cc per 60 lbs bodyweight and given every four to six hours until the goat passes clumps of feces and then goes back to making normal pills. Mineral oil can be used instead of Milk of Magnesia, but mineral oil must be stomach tubed into the goat. Mineral oil has no taste, so if it is given orally, the goat may aspirate it into its lungs and develop pneumonia. Stomach tubing mineral oil eliminates that possibility. Electrolytes like Bounce Back or ReSorb should be used, but Gatorade or Pedialyte can be substituted in an emergency. Activated charcoal should be dosed orally according to label directions. Banamine dosage is 1 cc per 100 pounds bodyweight and should not be given more often than every 12 hours unless the goat is in extreme pain and on the verge of death. Neomycin sulfate is an oral over-the-counter sulfa-based antibiotic that is appropriate. I like the prescription medication Sulfamethoxazole with Trimethoprin much better (dosing orally at about three cc's per 100 pounds bodyweight).

Vaccination against Enterotoxemia is one of the few vaccines made specifically for goats. It is inexpensive and should be administered by all goat producers. I recommend using the vaccine commonly known as CD/T, which is protection against C. perfringens types C &D plus tetanus. This vaccine is very effective if the infection is in the rumen; if the bacteria has taken up residence in the intestines, the vaccine is less effective. It is best to use the CD/T vaccine rather than seven-way or eight-way vaccines because multi-valent vaccines can overwhelm the immune system, resulting in dumping some of the toxoids (usually tetanus protection). Goats seldom have other clostridial-based diseases other than tetanus. See my article on Multi-Valent Vaccines on the Articles page at www.tennesseemeatgoats.com. Sterile injection-site abscesses are not unusual when administering the vaccine. Vaccinations should be given to young kids at one and two months of age and again annually but preferably every six months. Any goats that you bring into your herd should be vaccinated immediately with first and second injections 21-30 days apart, regardless of age of the goats. Pregnant does should be boostered with one injection six to eight weeks before they give birth so that their newborn kids will have up-to-date protection in their dams' milk.

Some areas of the USA where dairy cows are raised have seen the outbreak of C. Perfringens Type A in goats. Type A is particularly deadly, causing hemorrhagic bowel disease and killing up to 85% of affected cattle within 24 to 36 hours. The currently available vaccine for goats does not protect against Type A. Novartis has a C. Perfringens Type A vaccine available for cattle; it may or may not be effective when used off-label in goats. Some vaccine manufacturers will make an autogenous vaccine for Type A upon producer request; like all autogenous vaccines, they are rather expensive and usually require minimum purchases in the 500 dose range.

Suzanne W. Gasparotto, ONION CREEK RANCH, Lohn, Texas 1/10/12


Correcting a vertical fold in kid ears

From time to time you will encounter kids with vertically folded ears (see photo 1). If corrected early after birth these can usually be corrected. I am not going to go into the right or wrong issues of correcting a fault but rather give you, as the producer an option for correcting the fault. While most registries do consider this to be a fault you will have to make the determination whether or not to keep this kid in your breeding program or culling it at weaning.

You will need:

  • scissors
  • cardboard (from a shoebox, cereal box or other mid-weight cardboard)
  • livestock glue(see photo 2).

The livestock glue can be ordered or purchased locally at most any place that sells livestock products. I got my first livestock glue from our local salebarn. They gave me a piece of a tube that was almost used up.


Place the cardboard glue side against the goats inner ear and press firmly. Be sure to put the smaller width closer to the goats ear canal and the larger end of the cardboard furthest away from the ear canal (see photo 6)

Cut the cardboard so that it will sit inside the ear without sticking out. Round the corners so that the kid will not be uncomfortable with sharp corners poking it (see photos 3 & 4).

Apply the livestock glue and spread to the edges of the cardboard (photo 5).


This should hold for a week or longer. Leave it in place until it falls out on its own. Should it fall off prematurely, and the ear is not corrected repeat the process again.

Pat Cotten© 2011

December brought our first TexMaster™ kids of the kidding season here at Bending Tree Ranch. These fullbood TexMaster™ kids will be available and ready to head to their new homes in mid-March.

BendingTree Ranch TexMaster Goats

Buckling 1 and 2 (twins)


Buckling 1 side and front view


Buckling 2 side and front view


Buckling 3 side and front view
He has a twin sister.


We also have our first show wether prospects. These two were born in late December and have been disbudded. They will be available to leave for their new homes in mid-March.


Prospect #1


Prospect #2


Breeding age Myotonics, TMG’s, TexMasters as well as nice commercial crosses available year round.
Contact us for your breeding stock needs.
website: www.bendingtreeranch.com
or contact us privately at:

Pat Cotten 501-679-4936
or e-mail: bendingtreeranch@cyberback.com



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