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Dr. Taus
Dr. Taus, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
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Experience:  Veterinarian with experience in equine and small animal medicine.
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I have a 6 month old kid who has begun behaving lethargic and

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I have a 6 month old kid who has begun behaving lethargic and has a swollen belly. She was wormed a month ago with Panacure. Any suggestions?
Hi there,

I'm sorry to hear that Piper isn't feeling well. Did the swelling of her belly come up suddenly, or has it been slowly progressing over time?

My first thought, especially if it came up suddenly, is that her rumen may be bloated. If this is the case, it's very important to get on top of it quickly, as it can become life threatening if it gets too large. If she's lethargic and not feeling well but not in distress (vocalizing, etc), and if you are comfortable passing a tube through her mouth into her stomach, I'd recommend doing that to let some of the gas building up in her stomach out. You can also give her a few ounces of vegetable oil down the tube. If you're not comfortable doing this, I'd recommend calling a vet to do it, as it's easy to get the oil into her lungs without a tube. We can't always find a reason for bloat to happen, but it happens more often with a diet change or change in the weather. You should also remove her feed, at least for the night or until you can resolve why her belly is swollen.

The other thing I would be concerned about would be a stone obstructing her urethra and keeping her from being able to urinate. This happens commonly in young goats that are being fed grain, although it is much more common in males. Have you seen her urinate since she started acting differently? If not, a visit from the vet may be in order, since if there is a stone, it is not something that is going to be fixed without veterinary help.

I hope this is helpful. If so, please rate me positively and don't hesitate to let me know how I can help further.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks for your response. I think it may have been happening over time. I seem to recall thinking she was getting fat about a week ago. She is not distressed and still suckles her mom. Are there any people gas remedies that can be given to them, ie: Pepto Bismal, Milk of Magnesia? If I give her a dropper full of oil, how will that get into her lungs?

In regards XXXXX XXXXX oil, a dropper full is not enough to make a difference. You would need several ounces (a drinking glass full). If there is no tube, all the goat has to do is breathe in at the wrong time if she's not too pleased about being asked to drink something that tastes rather icky. And if you are giving syringe-fulls or droppers for a large total amount, she can choke on what is left in her mouth.

Tums or Gas-X can be given to goats-- 4 tablets of Tums or 2 Gas-X for an adult goat, and scale according to the goat's size. For a six month old, I'd probably halve that dose. You can also try probiotics (available at your local feed store) to help balance out the normal bacteria in her rumen. If she's bloating mildly over time and has a bit of indigestion, this can help.

Bloat is by far the most common reason for goats to have a swollen or full abdomen. If these home treatments don't help, a physical exam may be helpful. By palpating her abdomen, a vet may be able to tell if a different, much less common organ (e.g. liver) is involved. Another possibility is a GI tract that doesn't empty very well when she eats, but that's pretty uncommon in a youngster, and you would need a veterinary exam and maybe an ultrasound to diagnose that. I think treating for bloat is worthwhile to do first, because it's so much more common.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks! Piper is still bloated but she seems active and she is eating, peeing and pooping. I am giving her Gas-X, one softgel a day. Do I just continue doing that and wait it out? I am going to get a probiotic also.

As long as she is active and eating/drinking/peeing/pooping normally, you can continue what you are doing, get her started on a probiotic, and watch her for a few days. If the bloating is not getting better within about a week or is getting worse, or if there's a change in her behavior, I'd recommend an exam to see if she's one of those unusual cases where another organ is involved. If a vet can put their hands on her and feel her abdomen, that can go a long way toward figuring out what's going on.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

thank you

You're welcome! Be sure to let me know how she does.
Hi Cindy,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Piper. How is everything going?


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