My boer goat has diarrea (spelling?). He's drinking water but not eating. I've given him probiotics and that helped

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Customer: my boer goat has diarrea (spelling?). He's drinking water but not eating. I've given him probiotics and that helped somewhat but the diarrea is back. This started about 4 days ago. He's getting less energetic. Today there is a small amount of yellow mucus from his eyes. What's next?
Answered by Equine Vet in 57 mins 11 years ago
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Equine Vet
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174 satisfied customers

Specialities include: Large Animal Veterinary, Horse Veterinary, Livestock Veterinary Medicine

Hi,
I'm sorry to hear your goat is not feeling well. I hope I can help to guide you in the correct direction, although it would be impossible for me to diagnose him without examining him in person.

The most common cause of diarrhea I see in adult goats is related to internal parasites, either worms, coccidia, or both. A simple fecal float exam done by your veterinarian would be able to rule out parasites, and then the appropriate medication could be given. Depending on the amount of resistance to particular products in your area, most dewormers including ivermectin and fenbendazole-based products will kill most worms in goats. However, dewormers do not kill coccidia, only coccidiostats will do so, and the only way to know which may be causing the problem for sure would be to take a fecal sample in. Parasites can definitely cause inappetance, depression and diarrhea. Anything that causes the immune system to weaken can cause some eye discharge as a side effect.

Other causes of diarrhea include viral and bacterial infections, dietary indiscretion/toxicity from poisonous plants (azalea and rhododendron are common offenders), and sometimes bloat/eating lush pasture. I suspect that the parasite differential is the issue in your guy. If you have other goats that live in the same space with him, I would test them as well.

It is important in ruminants to get them eating as soon as possible, because once the rumen slows its motility it can be difficult to get started again, so I would do the fecals as soon as possible. These animals can get very sick quickly without the proper care. The probiotic is fine for daily use as are products containing bismuth (bismuth paste, pepto bismol), but these will likely only help and not fix the root problem. You can also offer him one bucket with plain water and one with electrolytes mixed in to help restore any imbalances, but the plain water is important in case he does not like the taste of the electrolyte solution and won't drink at all.

I hope this has given you some ideas on which direction to take in treating your goat's diarrhea. He really does need to be examined by your veterinarian quickly. Please feel free to contact me if you have further questions or if there is anything I can clarify.
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