Goat Health 101 Week – Bloat

When one of our goats get sick, I want to know why.  Sometimes it’s unexplainable, and that can drive me a little crazy.  I feel helpless because whether they get better or not, I have no way of knowing how to prevent it from happening again.

I do a good bit of research on finding ways that we can treat goats at home, without an expensive vet bill.  There are times that a vet is needed, like when a mysterious illness occurs that I can’t seem to pinpoint or during a birthing emergency.  But, usually when this happens, the outcome is not good.  I have found also, that waiting until the next day is usually too late with a mysterious illness.

If you are not sure what is wrong and you can’t seem to find any information on the symptoms, call the vet.  It really isn’t worth waiting.  But, if you do have a diagnosis and it’s bloat, here is what you can do before calling a vet.

Early Symptoms of Bloat

a tight rumen area with a fuller left side
not eating
moaning or crying while kicking at belly
not chewing cud

grinding teeth
no rumen sounds or belching

Now, goats are normally pretty wide.  You want them to be.  This one is pregnant, but normally she would only have slightly smaller sides.  Notice both sides are pretty even.

Some goats have a slightly larger left side and that could be normal for them.  But, if you have a goat with an obviously larger left side and she is acting differently, it is time to take some action.
Bloat is trapped gas in the rumen area.  For whatever reason, the goat cannot release the gas.  Some possible causes can be overeating, a change in feed or a rich pasture that they aren’t used to, moldy or wet hay and milkweed.
You can help prevent bloat by giving them baking soda free choice.  This helps regulate the pH level in the rumen.  Also, when switching feed, switch over gradually.  When turning them out on pasture in the spring, make sure you do so gradually.
Treatment of Bloat 
Give her 1 cup of vegetable or peanut oil.  I have read that mineral oil is not a wise choice as it is tasteless, therefore the goat might not swallow it properly and it could go into their lungs.  Not good.  Massage the rumen(upper left side of the goat) to work out the gas.
After you give her the oil, you can also give her 1/4 cup baking soda dissolved in 1 cup of water.
If she gets worse, call a vet immediately.  
Here’s to happy, healthy goats!
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7 comments on “Goat Health 101 Week – Bloat

  1. I'm pinning this, because we have had issues with this before and are surely bound to again one day. I've also heard that blackberry leaves help with stomach problems. Some people freeze them to use in the winter time if needed. I didn't manage to do that this past year, but plan to when they start growing again.

  2. Goats are so much work, I would be hard pressed to deal with their issues, I fear. They become your babies. So sad but you sound like a great mama to them. Here's to good luck and best health!

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