My little baby boy- the littlest one from this season- has coccidiosis. That’s a protozoal parasite that normally exists in the soil and in the guts of its host. A healthy host maintains a low enough level of parasite presence that no significant harm is done. When the numbers get out of whack, diarrhea, wasting, and death occur. The little bastards that cause coccidiosis do not respond to most dewormers, requiring expensive and dangerous sulfa-based drugs to kill them. It is extremely rare for a severely affected goat to ever recover fully. They remain thin and ‘unthrifty’ for the rest of their lives. If they survive.
Coccidiosis normally strikes young kids who have not fully developed their immune systems yet, those who for whatever reason failed to receive a full dose of healthy colostrum from their dams shortly after birth are the most at risk. Kids in wet, crowded pens are also at much higher risk.
Kingsford is his momma’s first kid, and she was a little unsure about what to do with him at first. Kingsford and 9 other goats are in a small, muddy pen while I work to get their nice big field all properly fenced. It has rained its ass off for months, thus assuring that existing oocytes would thrive in their unholy muddy home until the goats could ingest them.
I didn’t bother with a medicated, coccidostat feed because the other does all had healthy kids with no diarrhea. All the other kids are thriving.
It’s just the one.
He is emaciated, dehydrated, and severely depressed. He’s also shitting green water. Stinky green water.
I’ve got him quarantined, but he has to have his dam with him even though his attempts to nurse are increasingly futile. He doesn’t have the strength to suck. I’ve been tubing milk into him but dude- you ever try milking a half-feral meat goat? His momma is having NO more of that thankyouverymuch. Fortunately I’ve had the last few months to work with her and help her transition from ‘deer’ to ‘only half feral’ which is probably the only reason we (yes it took two people for this little 95lb doe) were able to get a few ounces of milk out of her. She might prove more willing the second time, since she was so full she was hurting, and she got lots of treats afterward. She’s clever.
So is her baby. If he makes it.
I’m off to acquire some of the only medicine that still works on this bug. Please stop abusing dewormers, people. We wind up with problems like this.
Oh and if I could somehow manage to get that field fenced, that would help prevent future outbreaks on this farm. Rotation, rotation, rotation.
And sick goats.
Fortunately, all of those mentioned previously (azalea poisoning, anemia) are doing splendidly. Nadia’s little surprise is bouncing around in the field with the rest of the boys and both Nadia and Top Hat are recovering their lost weight from lactation. In fact, except for a couple of goats who are still a bit thin coming off of lactation, the only one who doesn’t look fantastic is Kingsford. Who is dying. 2016 seems determined to take a goat. Moose died in his sleep last month, perfectly normal old-age thing to do. I was really hoping that would be the last of it for the year.
I hate to lose a kid.
And I really, really hate parasites.
UPDATE: The little guy didn’t make it. I went down last evening to give him a dose of his electrolytes and when we got done- me with the trying and him with the crying- I tucked him back into his box with nice soft towels and he promptly died. The other kids are getting a course of sulfadimethoxine to kill the protozoal infection and anyone who looks even a bit ‘down’ is getting electrolytes and vitamins.
But I still need to build a pasture fence.