In this complete guide to coccidiosis in goats, we answer the most common questions that farmers ask about coccidiosis, including what its, symptoms, the most popular medications for it, and natural treatments.
Coccidia in Goats – What Is It?
Coccidia is a disease that affects several types of animals, especially birds and livestock animals. The disease causing agent of coccidia is a tiny, spore-forming, single-cell organism known as coccidia. The coccida belong to the same class of organisms (Sporozoa) that causes malaria.
It is a disease that results from overcrowding, dirty, and wet pens and unclean water. It is a highly contagious disease, and it spread through a herd quickly
Coccidia is sub-classified into several sub-classes. In goats, coccidiosis is caused by the sub-class Eimeria. Within the genera Eimeria there are some species of coccidia that cause infection in sheep and goats. All species of coccidia are not disease causing. There are only some species that are responsible for the outbreak of the disease.
Coccidia is the host-specific, mean that the species of coccidia that affect the poultry will not have its influences on sheep and goats. Even the goats are affected by different species of coccidia. Attempt to cross-contaminate goats and sheep have failed.
The adult goats and kids between 1-6 months of age are mostly commonly get the infection by coccidia. Several surveys conducted that show that lambs of 4-8 weeks are most likely to get the infection and four weeks old lambs are most susceptible to the coccidian disease. Most of the disease occurs soon after the weaning, as parturition is a stressful time in the lambs or young life of the small goats.
Harsh weather may trigger the outbreaks of the disease. Almost all the goats are susceptible to the coccidia disease. Goats ingest the oocysts every day through faeces, contaminated water and feed, or by grooming themselves or the other animals. Adult goats are mostly resistant to the effect of the parasites. However, they can still serve as a carrier of the infection.
Coccidiosis mainly linked with concentrated production systems in which the house of goats are in shed. There will be more concentrated faecal material in these production system than if the goats kept on pasture.
What are the Symptoms of Coccidiosis in Goats?
There are clinical and subclinical types of coccidiosis like to several other diseases of goats. Goats with the subclinical illness don’t show any apparent signs and symptoms of the disease.
The goats with “subclinical signs” appear normal physically but may suffer from the reduction of feed intake, growth performance, and feed converation. Most of the coccidia cases are subclinical and economically subclinical coccidia is the most expensive disease.
The “clinical form” of coccidia is deadly and typically needs timely treatment. Initially, the lambs and kids may not flourish well as expected. The hair coat of kids becomes rough. The area around the tail will have dirt as a result of mild diarrhoea.
Soon, the kids and lambs begin to reduce the feed intake and turn out to be unthrifty and weak. The goats and their young ones will become anaemic and will strain while passing faeces. With the progression of the disease, affected goats and kids may experience severe loss motion that may contain blood. This severe diarrhea lead to extreme dehydration and finally result in the death of the goats.
Diagnosis of Coccidiosis in Goats
The diagnosis of coccidiosis depends on the record and observation of the signs and synmptoms that appear in the herd. The diagnositic value of fecal testing is limited. While oocyst counts of 5000 considered clinically significant.
It is important to note that not all coccidia are disease-causing. The goats will become clinically parasitised before shedding any oocytes. Therefore, a negative faecal test doesn’t rule out coccidiosis, any more than a positive test is indicative of disease.
Several other disease develop signs similar to the coccidia. These disease conditions include some worm’s infestation, overeating, salmonellosis, scours, viral infections, and cryptosporidium. The goats and their offspring may suffer from a mixed parasitic infection too.
Treating Coccidiosis in Goats – Popular Medications
For the goats exhibiting clinical signs, there are several medicines available including sulfa drugs, amprolium, and tetracyclines. There is no use of conventional anthelmintics (dewormers) on coccidiosis.
Amprolium can be used as both the treatment and preventative measures for coccidiosis. It is available in powder and liquid form. When coccidia ingests amprolium, they will experience a thiamine deficiency and die from malnourishment. There are many sulfa drugs available that can help to eliminate coccidia. Sulfa drugs are available in liquid or powder form.
These medicines are bitter so that products may come with flavouring. It is important to note that whenever the medicated water is in use, that should be the only source of water. The only issue with the water treatment is that there is no guarantee that every animal will receive the necessary amount of the medications.
This is particularly true for the animal that may already be feeling poor due to coccidia infection. Due to this reason, it is better to treat individual animal separately, drenched individually with the medications.
Two other medicines can be used to control coccidia in goats that are highly effective medicines for the outbreak of coccidia.
Toltrazuril for Goats – What is It?
Toltrazuril is one of the effective anti-coccidial that helps to manifest a variety of coccidiosis symptoms. This toltrazuril is suitable for both therapy and prevention, and it acts as a useful tool for controlling coccidia related disease. This medicine will damage the intracellular developmental stages of coccidia.
Toltrazuril is a highly effective medicine against coccidial disease.
The other benefits of these medicines include that it will stop the shedding of oocyst, improves the growth rate, improve the feed conversion ratio in goats, and reduce and prevent the severity of the lesions.
Dimethox for Goats – What is It?
Another effective medicine for coccidia is Dimethox oral solution. This dimethox is highly effective against other diseases as well like fowl cholera, infectious coryza, shipping fever, calf diphtheria, and foot rot. The dose for the adult goats is 1-1/2 tablespoons of dimethox 12.5% for 5-7 days and for young ones it is one teaspoon daily for 5-7 days.
Natural Treatment for Coccidiosis in Goats
The coccidiostats (medicine to stop coccidia) have no meat withdrawal period, and their usage is mostly permitted under most natural standards. There is some evidence for the product to have organic options for coccidiostats. The organic (natural) option includes the use of oregano oil to prevent and treat coccidiosis for goats.
Another option includes the use of “sericea lespedeza” has the potential for reducing the coccidia in goats and their young ones. The goats and kids fed on the sericea lespedeza pellets have lower oocyte counts and cut faecal scores as compared to the goats and kids fed on the control diet.
Advice and Caution
- 1Whether preventing goats against coccidia or treating them against the clinical symptoms of coccidia, always discuss with a veterinariy doctor, for particular instructions about which medicines, dosage, the course of administration, and withdrawal times.
- 2A vitamin B1 deficiency may develop by the usage of amprolium. Some veterinarian recommend giving animals injections of Vitamin B1 when using amprolium.