QUESTION – Hello! My goat is sick. Its head is hanging and looks drunk. It sounds like it is grinding its teeth and there is some swelling on the left side. Any advice? Thanks!
ANSWER – Hello there. It sounds like your goat has a case of Acidosis. Your email mentioned that she raided the pellet bin and must have gorged herself. Acidosis occurs after accidentally taking in large quantities of concentrate feed. Stop access to food. Drench your goat with something alkaline such as bicarbonate of soda. 2-3 ounces will help neutralize acid. Try walking goat and contact your veterinarian as needed
The rumen micro flora can only handle gradual changes in forage to grain ratio if your proportion changes too quickly, then lactic acidosis will develop. Feeding grain before forage also can cause lactic acidosis. Forage should be fed before grain and the daily amount divided into at least 3 separate feedings. A total mixed ration (TMR) helps keep the rumen flora happy by not overwhelming them with carbohydrates at any one time. Feed changes need to be made gradually over several days so the flora have time to adapt. The type of rumen bacteria change to gram positive from gram negative and lactic acid is produced and this lowers the pH of the rumen. Once below 5.5, protozoa and bacteria start to die. The acid that gets absorbed creates general acidosis. If the pH is low enough, the rumen gets “burned” and even if the goat survives, it can get rumen and liver infections from bacteria or fungi. Fiber is important in the diet as well as it stimulates the goat to chew, which thus produces alkaline saliva which serves to buffer the rumen. Diets with little fiber or chopped too finely are more at risk of lactic acidosis. Remember, before anything else your goat should be fed (three times a day) before being offered any grain.