Thursday, March 3, 2011


Years ago we'd had a some new bales of alfalfa hay, it was really green and leafy (in California), and the goats loved it (of course). Before going to bed that night, I heard a kid crying. We had some kids being dam-raised, and had a beautiful F3 doeling named Midget (she was so sweet). Anyway, Mom went out and checked - everyone looked fine. We went to bed, and a few hours later Mom awoke to a kid screaming/crying in pain. She went out there, it was Midget. She tried to save her (gave her many things) but within minutes she passed away. We read and she had the exact symptoms of Enterotoxemia, and the single thing that will save a goat's life in the case of Entero., we did not have - C&D ANTITOXIN (not the toxoid). A hard lesson learned.

Well, it's been 4 years since that happened. We've read a TON about Entero. and never lost a goat to it again, thankfully. A few times we've had the goats get into grain, or a goat bloat, etc., and I always give them a shot of C&D Antitoxin. The worst thing C&D Antitoxin can do is, if you vaccinate (we do not, more later), is it will negate the CD&T vaccine. The best C&D Antitoxin can do, is save a goats life.
A few months after we lost Midget to Enterotoxemia, we had a lady call us and her kid was sick - sounded like she had Entero., and she was so far into it she was laying on the ground with her eyes rolling back in her head (bad). The owner did not have the antitoxin, so she rushed to our house, got a few syringes full of it, went home and gave it to her doe kid - she was back to normal within hours.

Ever since we lost Midget to Entero, we've never been without the C&D antitoxin in the fridge. I always stress to new goat owners that this is the one thing your medicine cabinet should never be without.

SO - how would you know if your goat has enterotoxemia?
Well, it definitely takes a lot of watching your goats, knowing their normal habbits and sounds, etc. The symptoms of Enterotoxemia can be very widely ranged. It can be as simple as a goat crying - and this isn't just any cry, but if you've never heard it before you wouldn't know - it's a cry that the goat either has it's head stuck in the fence, is getting eating by a coyote or has enterotoxemia. Once you've heard it, you'll remember it. It's the cry of a goat in pain.
Enterotoxemia can also come on after a goat has bloat, has diarrhea/an upset stomach, is stressed, a slight (or large) change of feed, a bottle kid drinking a large/abnormal amount of milk, etc - these are all prime conditions for entero to kick in.

What about if you vaccinate with the CD&T Vaccine? It's suppose to prevent it, right?
We choose not to vaccinate our goats. There is a bunch of info why not to vaccinate here. My goats are healthy, we do not believe they need vaccines - after awhile they just suppress the immune system anyway. I know everyone won't agree on this subject, but that's alright :).
Anyway, if you DO vaccinate, your goat can still get Enterotoxemia. The vaccine will lessen the chance of an adult goat getting it, but it's still possible. And the vaccine does not protect young kids from getting entero.

Like I said before, if you even think your goat may be getting Entero, don't hesitate giving them some C&D Antitoxin. The worst it can do is negate the vaccine, the best it can do is save a life.

A goat with Enterotoxemia really needs to be treated like this - C&D Antitoxin (reduces the gut flora that has overgrown), Pepto bismal (to protect the gut), Banamine (calms the gut), baking soda won't hurt and if the goat is really bad, starting them on Penicillin is also good. The goat should be re-treated every 3 hours with the C&D Antitoxin and Pepto until the syptomes subside. I won't give dosages on here, but if you need more help don't hesitate to email me.

What prompted me to write this was last night one of the LaMancha bucklings had that "death cry". He looked uncomfortable and acted like his tummy was hurting. And he was crying a lot. We decided to treat him, gave him C&D Antitoxin, Pepto bismal and Banamine. Within 5 minutes, he had stopped crying and was laying down relaxing. This stuff works fast!
When a kid gets entero, you do not want to give them their milk bottle as usual. Instead, give them a bottle of electrolytes (clear are best in this case), because the gut is not working and will not digest the milk. So, that little Mancha buck drank his electrolyte bottle like normal, and 3 hours after the first treatment we treated him again (not with Banamine though - that can only be given every 12 hours in sever cases, and every 36 hours in normal cases). Today he is acting pretty much normal, just slightly off but MUCH better.

Well, I hope I didn't forget something. There is a great article here about Enterotoxemia written by Sue Reith.

Have a good day!



Candi said...

Thanks, Suriyah, for posting about this. It is something EVERY goat owner should know about. I have been fortunate as I was NEVER made aware of this horrible diagnosis, but have not had to deal with it yet. but now I am ready!
We also don't vaccinate, so the antitoxin will only save lives here :)

Brenda said...

Excellent post! Very good information.

Cheri said...

I lost a goat today from this. I had never heard of it before. I thought she had bloat, that's how it started. I'm really devastated by this. Can you tell me where you get the anti toxin? and what type. I don't want to be without it now. She was a sweet and healthy goat. It happened so fast.

Good Goats said...

Cheri, I am so sorry to hear that! We've bought it from Tractor Supply and if they don't carry it, we get it either from Jeffers Livestock or PBS Livestock.

Aidan said...

Thank you for your fantastic article about this horrifying disease. Our last baby died a few months ago from what we thought was bloat but we now suspect was enterotoxemia. She was bloating, grinded her teeth, foamed at mouth. It was so sad. The screaming was terrifying. We have a new goat (about 3 months old) and she is completely weened off and eating grass like our other lawn mower goat. But enterotoxemia still concerns me. What's the best way to protect her from the disease? We dont vaccinate...

Good Goats said...

Aiden, thank you for the comment. I am sorry to hear that you lost your kid. Sometimes learning comes the hard way.

We do not vaccinate either. The best "preventative" that we have found for this is to keep the goat's diet the same, not changing it at all unless you do it gradually. And keeping a good eye on your goats, because then you can hopefully catch it early enough to successfully treat.


Anonymous said...

Help, first time goat owners and our kids are bloated. We gave mineral oil and baking soda. Don't know what else to do