ENTEROTOXEMIA (Pulpy-kidney disease, Overeating disease) – It is caused by Clostridium perfringes, a bacterium that is normally present in the rumen of all goats. It can affect kids as young as three days. Older animals are affected when the normal bacterial flora of the gut multiply in such profusion that the gas produced interferes with normal digestion. Death is due to the toxin produced by the bacteria.
Symptoms – Sudden death is the most commonly observed symptom, although an affected goat may be standing or down, but it is usually bawling and in great pain. Symptoms include depression, diarrhea, bloating, staggering, “rocking horse” stance, pain, coma and death.
Treatment – Goats suspected of having enterotoxemia can be treated with 2-3 oz. of an antacid to soothe the abdominal pain and reduce the acidosis. Severe cases require the administration of CD antitoxin. The intestinal bacteria can be killed with antibiotics.
Prevention -Vaccinate pregnant does 3 weeks before kidding with Clostroid C & D, with or without the associated tetanus vaccine (the “T”). This will provide immunity to not only the doe, but also the kid through the colostrum. Kids should be revaccinated at a later date. New animals not accustomed to the feeding program may become ill and should be revaccinated to boost their immunity. Any dramatic change in diet can precipitate the disease so it is best to change feeding programs slowly, over a period of 3-4 days. This allows the rumen flora to make the needed population adjustments to cope with the new feeds. It must be remembered that it is not the goat that digests the feed, it is the rumen flora. Different flora are needed to digest different feeds and only time will allow the rumen flora populations to adjust to changes in feed. Toxins produced by starving bacteria are what kills the goat.