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Coccidiosis

Coccidiosis

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Coccidia are a protozoan parasite that are almost always present in a goat's environment. When the goat is infected with these parasites in small numbers, the coccidia causes very little damage and no disease. When a goat is infected in large numbers, this disease is called Coccidiosis.

Almost all species of animals have their own strain of coccidia. The coccidia of other animals, for example, rabbits and chickens, do not infect goats. The coccidia of sheep may be responsible for some problems in goats.

Please be aware that all goats usually carry a few coccidia. Adult goats have them, but are usually strong enough to resist them. People think of Coccidiosis as a kid "disease" because kids have not built up a strong enough immune system to resist the coccidia yet, this is why kids show more problems with coccidia. If you take a stool sample from your adult goats to the vet and they show a coccidia or two, it is nothing to worry about, it is virtually impossible to eliminate ALL coccidia and worms for a goat (it is normal to have a few). It's an overload of coccidia or worms that you need to be concerned about and act upon.

 

Our original experience with coccidiosis:

When we first started out, we had just a few cases of coccidiosis here (that we knew of). When we diagnosed the problem, we treated the kids with Albon, which we got from the vet (a dog & cat version of Albon). The vet stuff is expensive- $15 for one 5 day treatment. It was yellow and smelled like bananas. After a few cases, this got very expensive.

I later heard about people treating preventively, but didn't personally agree with feeding medicated feed. This was because there is no way to guarantee how much medicine the kid is getting. I didn't see how it could be effective and thought it may help the cocci build immunity. But, I was still interested in the prevention treating.

Coccidiosis is always present. We have found that you should just assume that all kids have it. All adults have it as well, but have built an immunity. You need to treat is in the young until they also, build an immunity.

After some research, I found that, though many people use Corid (amprolium), but it dose not work as well as Sulmet (sodium sulfamethazine) or Albon (sulfadimethoxine). I decided to try Sulmet 12.5% Solution, a liquid, that is usually put in the drinking water (it was cheaper than Albon). It cost $8 a bottle (16 oz) at the Co-op. Instead of putting it in drinking water.  Starting at three weeks of age,, we gave this to our kids orally, with the proper dose per weight (scroll down for more details) every three weeks until they were 3 months old. We also treated them any time we saw runny poops. We were pleased to see the growth on our kids increase. They all around seemed healthier.

After a little more research and speaking with other breeders I decided to switch to Albon (sulfadimethoxine) because it works even better than Sulmet. The Albon 12.5% Solution does not come in a 16 oz. bottle and only comes in 1 gallon. The gallon cost $54, but when you take into account that you won't have vet bills and sick kids, for the amount of goats we have, it was worth getting (ordered for PBS Livestock or Jeffer's - see the suppliers page). I bought the gallon and then another goat friend bought half of it from me. The gallon I have now is the one I bought last year, and will last this whole year, so in the end, it will only have cost me about $15 to treat the whole kid crop this year; well worth this small expense. Di-Methoox Concentrated Solution 12.5% is exactly the same thing as Albon Concentrated Solution 12.5% but is cheaper.

Since writing this page, we started using a more holistic and natural approach to coccidiosis prevention that is working very well for us, scroll down this page for more details)

 

Interesting side note:

Not all cases of diarrhea in kids is caused by coccidiosis. Usually, when we see diarrhea in a kid, we treat right away for coccidiosis, but you should always keep your eyes on the kid and be prepared for the illness to be caused by something else.

Case in point:
We had a little doeling who had all the symptoms of coccidiosis. She have very bad diarrhea. I treated her for 7 days with Albon and also gave her Ivomec and she still had extremely liquid diarrhea. The poor doeling was starting to loose weight and it was obvious that the Albon and Ivomec was not going to do the trick. I quit the coccidiosis treatment and started her on double dose Wormwood Worm Formula made up into dosage balls. I also gave her Immune Support Tincture. Amazingly, in 3-4 days she was having a solid poops- the first in probably 2 weeks. I kept giving her treatment for 7 days. (It's always better to treat with herbs a couple of days or so after you think it is "all better"). The doeling made a full recovery and the best thing about this very shy doeling's illness is that she now is extremely friendly. She now comes up and says, "Can I have my tasty dosage balls please?"

 

We now follow a Holistic prevention schedule for Coccidiosis as well other parasites (worms). Please see below.

 

Clinical Signs of Coccidiosis:

Mild:
Kids off their food with symptoms of diarrhea.
The kid may stand by himself with his back hunched.

Acute:
Sick kids with blood in diarrhea.
The kid may be dehydrated and show straining in their attempt to pass feces.
The diarrhea smells really bad and may be green (not to be confused with green diarrhea from eating lots of fresh grass).

Very acute:
Death within 24 hours.

Not all cases of diarrhea in kids is caused by coccidiosis. Please see this side note.

Environmental Prevention:

Proper management is key.
Keep the kid's living area clean and dry.
Keep food and water dishes clean.
Make sure that food and water is supplied in such a way that the kids cannot step in and soil it.

Treatment / Prevention Recommendations: Natural / Holistic / Herbal Method

(This is what we use now; we find it works even better than the chemical prevention)

PREVENTION TREATMENT (before you see signs of disease):

In 2004-2006 I experimented with using my Herbal Worm Formulas to prevent coccidiosis and it turned out to work even betterfor our herd than treating with chemicals.  We were extremely pleased with the results. Diarrhea, which was almost a given with kids at some point, is no more. The kids put on size much faster and are all in all much healthier:

  • 2 weeks of age: Start when the kid is 2 weeks old, with a 1/4 adult dose (5 ml) of Formula 2#.
  • 3 weeks of age you start the 4 week "cycle" with Formula 1#. CLICK HERE for exacting details of the schedule.  You continue the cycle, giving the kids the Formulas every week.

To administer the herbs:

  • You just mix them with enough water so that you can suck the herb slurry up into the drenching syringe.  You then give the amount recommended in ml to each kid.  If the kid is really bigger than "normal" you can give him a bit more.  If he is smaller than "normal" you can give him the stated dose or a bit less. Click here for information on the oral dosing syringe that I use.
    or
  • Make into dosage balls. Divide the balls accordingly to correspond to the liquid amounts given on the chart below .
    1 ball = 10 ml

  CLICK HERE for my Cocidiosis Prevention & Worming Schedule.

 

TREATMENT (after you see signs of disease)

If the kid is effected, don't waste time- treat them ASAP. I like using herbal treatment whenever possible, but it is your choice whether to use herbs or the chemical treatments listed below. Remember, the life of a kid is at stake. Wormwood Herbal Worm Formula & Immune Support Tincture are safe to give at the same time as chemical treatments so you can always use both natural and "traditional" treatments to cover all bases.

Give this kid a good, solid, three day dose, according to his weight, of Wormwood Herbal Worm Formula and Immune Support Tincture (give the tincture, twice a day).

 

Treatment Recommendations "Traditional Chemical Method"

PREVENTION TREATMENT (before you see signs of disease):

Treat ALL kids, whether they show signs or not, at 3, 6, 9 weeks of age.
We do not recommend using a feed that contains a coccidiostat: there is no way that you can be sure how much medicine the kid is receiving. If he is underdosed, the coccidia will just build resistance (which is not good). If the kid is overdosed, you are overmedicating, and we don't feel that is good either. Dosing each individual kid, by weight, is the most accurate way to treat him.

Use either one of the chemical drugs listed below.

 

TREATMENT (after you see signs of disease)

If the kid is effected, don't waste time- treat them ASAP. Use either one of the chemical drugs listed below.

I also recommend adding Immune Support Tincture to the medicine. Not only may it help the kids' systems fight the disease, it also make the medicine taste better.

If any or our kids under 10 months gets runny diarrhea, we treat him for Coccidiosis/Worms as stated above.

NOTE: If you do not see improvement with whatever chemical treatment you are using in three days (you should see an improvement sooner than this), what you are using is not helping, and is not going to work, and you may consider switching to something else.

 

My first "chemical" choice for prevention is:

Sulfadimethoxine

Brand Names:

  • Albon Concentrated Solution 12.5%
  • Albon Soluble Powder 107 gm pkg
  • Di-Methoox Concentrated Solution 12.5%
  • Di-Methoox Soluble Powder 107 gm pkg
  • Concentrated Solution 12.5% - Straight from the bottle; do not mix with water. Administer/Drench directly into mouth
  • Soluble Powder mixed as follows: dissolve one package (107 gms) in three cups of water. Keep refrigerated. Administer/Drench directly into mouth

Dose:

Give Orally - Administer straight into the mouth using a syringe (remove the needle). Do not just add it to the kid's water because you will not know if he receives the correct dose. Do not add it to his milk because the milk effects the potency of the drug.

Five day treatment- you must treat the full five days. (we have begun experimenting with only treating three days for the prevention treatment.)
Day one: 1 ml per 5 pounds- given orally.
Days 2-5: 1 ml per 10 pounds- given orally.

Note: We sweeten the drench with a little Stevia; our kids no longer stand around gagging after their treatment and some even seem to like it. (a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down...)

My second "chemical" choice is:

Sodium Sulfamethazine brands:
Sulmet Drinking Water Solution 12.5%

Straight from the bottle; do not mix with water.

Dose:

Give Orally - Administer straight into the mouth using a syringe (remove the needle). Do not just add it to the kid's water because you will not know if he receives the correct dose. Do not add it to his milk because the milk effects the potency of the drug.

Five day treatment- you must treat the full five days.
Day one: 1 ml per 5 pounds- given orally.
Days 2-5: 1 ml per 10 pounds- given orally.

Note: I would sweeten this drench a little Stevia to make it a bit more pleasant to take for the kids (a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down...)

 

Corid - I do not recommend using Corid. I have not found it to be effective.

 

 

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