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Coccidiosis

These protozoa are present in all animals and are most likely to become a problem when there is crowding or after a change in feeding practice. For the goat raiser, it is a rather common infection whenever a large number of kids are raised together. Dark and bloody feces that may be pasty or watery is the most obvious sign. There may be tissue fragments and mucous in the feces. Other signs include dehydration, lack of appetite, a hunched posture, weight loss, soiled hindquarters. Some actually show signs of constipation. Others may be infected and show hardly any signs at all. Whenever you are in doubt, it is best to run a fecal test to be sure what you are dealing with. A very small number of coccidia or eggs in a sample is quite normal and not a cause for concern.

Treatment

Good sanitation is essential. Change the location of the kids if you can. Treatment with Corid ® amprolium has been the major treatment alternative until very recently. It was off the market for a while, but it is now available once again. However, a large number of goat people report that is it no longer effective. Either the dose is too low, possibly due to a resistance problem, and the animal dies from coccidiosis, or the dose is too high causing death from toxicity. 

The current preferred treatment is sulfamethoxine, sold under the brand name Albon®. You can purchase it in liquid form in gallons through online vet suppliers (Jeffers, etc.) or at some local feed stores. It can be use as a preventative diluted in the drinking water or as a drench to treat an infected animal. Buying a whole gallon may seem like overkill and rather expensive, but if you have it on hand,  it could save the life of an animal. It is also availalbe in pill form, but for some reason a
veterinarian's prescription is required. Your vet may have it on hand to sell to you directly for it is oftentimes used to treat coccidiosis in dogs.

Whenever we have a young kid where coccidiosis is suspected (and in some cases, just whenever they have diarrhea that doesn't seem to be caused by getting too much milk), we give the 250 mg Albon® tablets (1 tab per 10 lb of weight) which are very small and easy to give plus crushed 2.5g Sulmet® oblets (sulfamethazine - obtainable online or at most feed stores) dosed according to weight as indicated on the label. The Sulmet® pills are a little too large for baby goats and by spooning them in crushed up there is little danger of choke. Usually the diarrhea stops within 24 hours, but it is best to continue  treatment for 3 - 5 days as per the labels.

And to go back to the beginning, the best prevention is to be absolutely dedicated to cleanliness, especially in areas where there are young kids.

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