Hey everyone!! I have a nanny goat that is really thin and has diarhea. She was doing fine until a couple of days ago when we noticed the diarhea. We want to keep our goats as organic as possible (if possible) but we realize that there are times when you gotta do what ya gotta do in order to save the animal. Any suggestions on how to treat this, as well as suggestions on how to prevent this from re-occurring in the herd will be greatly appreciated. We are in west-central Louisiana.
American by birth....Southern by the grace of the Goddess
"Your life is yours alone. Rise up and live it." -- Richard Rahl, "Faith of the Fallen"
The first step is to find out why she has the runs. Did you start a new bail of hay, change pasture lately, open a new bag of goat feed (organic is extra-prone to mould if not stored correctly - storage at the warehouse and/or feed store can be a challenge) and has the feed expired? Any changes in weather? How about her drinking water? Is it well, city, or other? Could anything have changed in the water? Bacteria growth in rainwater, new chemicals in city water.. stuff like that.
External stresses are the most common problem - diet and environment, so start there. Maybe give her free choice baking soda (about 1/4 cup per day) to see if she likes it. You may have to put a pinch in her mouth to get the taste of it but after that, if she needs it, she'll eat it. This helps to balance the gut if it's gotten too acidic and often cures the runs in my flock in about 4 hours.
Now's a good time to review your minerals. Are you getting premixed minerals? Are they designed for your area (as in your 20-mile radius) or for a much broader audience? It could be too much or too little of one mineral. As the spring flush of growth starts, they often get an imbalance in zinc/mag/cal. Good minerals can prevent and often cure all sorts of issues, but you need to know your local mineral needs. Every farm is different and the mineral needs change throughout the season. Good minerals can make for easy birthing, prevent worms, infection, just about anything that one would need a vet for. But be careful with minerals as they are powerful stuff. Different breeds also need different minerals. A good guide for this is pat coleby book, natural goat care.
How about infection? Is she eating as per normal? Drinking? If she's lactating, check for ulcers or anything unusual on or around her milk bags.
Last of all, worms. I do use worming meds, but I do so only when the animal needs it. I am an advocate of worming on demand and only when I'm certain it is worms. We only have three worm meds available here and I haven't met a flock or heard that isn't immune to at least two of them. Most are now immune to all three. That's because they use them in a non-ideal way. They worm to schedule (some as often as once a month) and the worms build up a resistance to the meds. My flock has ZERO wormer tollerance - all worms meds work for me because I ues the sparingly and only on demand. Check under the eyes and the gums, if they are pale, then this is a sign that worms are likely - but it could also mean other problems. If you have a local vet get a faecal test done. It might also help to get a fecal test for Coxxi (or however you spell it).