On this page:
- Explanation of Coccidiosis
- My original experience with coccidiosis
- Clinical Signs of Coccidiosis
- Environmental Prevention
- Prevention Recommendations
- Treatment Recommendations
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.
When I first started out, I had just a few cases of coccidiosis here (that I knew of). When I diagnosed the problem, I treated the kids with Albon, which I 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. I 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,, I 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. I also treated them any time I saw runny poops. I 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 I have, it was worth getting. I bought the gallon and then another goat friend bought half of it from me. Di-Methoox Concentrated Solution 12.5% is exactly the same thing as Albon Concentrated Solution 12.5% but is cheaper.
Interesting side note:
Since writing this page, I started using a holistic and natural approach to coccidiosis prevention that is working very well for me. I now follow a Holistic prevention schedule for Coccidiosis as well other parasites (worms).
Clinical Signs of Coccidiosis:
- Kids off their food with symptoms of diarrhea.
- The kid may stand by himself with his back hunched.
- 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).
Death within 24 hours.
Not all cases of diarrhea in kids is caused by coccidiosis.
- 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.
NATURAL PREVENTION TREATMENT (before you see signs of disease):
This is what I use now; I find it works even better than the chemical prevention
In 2004-2006 I experimented with using my Herbal Worm Formulas to prevent coccidiosis and it turned out to work even better for my herd than treating with chemicals. I was 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 Molly's Worm Formula 2#.
- 3 weeks of age: Start the 4 week "cycle" with Molly's Worm 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 the herb powder with enough water so that you can suck the herb slurry up into the drenching syringe. Measure how much liquid you need for how much herb powder and calculate how many ml of the slury contains the correct amount of herb you want to administer. Make a note of how much total slury you should give to each kid so they are getting the correct amount of herb. 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. Click here for information on the oral dosing syringe that I use.
- Make into dosage balls. Divide the balls accordingly to correspond to the liquid amounts given on the chart below .
- or give the herb in any way that works for you to get the kid to eat them.
Treat ALL kids, whether they show signs or not, at 3, 6, 9 weeks of age.
I 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 the chemical drugs of your choice.
Natural Treament: 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 chemical treatments. Remember, the life of a kid is at stake. Molly's Worm Formula 1# & 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.
Traditional Treatment: If the kid is effected, don't waste time- treat them ASAP. Use the chemical of your coice. 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 kid under 10 months gets runny diarrhea, Treat him for Coccidiosis/Worms.
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.