In this complete guide to Floppy Kid Syndrome, we answer the most common questions that farmers ask about this serious condition, including what it is, symptoms, treatments, and more.
What is Floppy Kid Syndrome?
It is a syndrome in which the newborn kid of the goat appears healthy at birth, but unable to stand or nurse or even wrap the tongue around the nipples of the female goat. There is no dehydration or appear of diarrhoea in the kid.
The kid may go to coma if it remained untreated and dies within 24-36 hours. There are only a few incidences where the kid recovered without any treatment; however, such cases are very rare.
Floppy kid syndrome usually happens to due overfeeding of milk, generally in bottle feeding, or in a condition where the female goat cannot nurse the kid too often due to the confined area. This syndrome usually not appears until the baby goat becomes 7-10 days old.
The newborn kids typically don’t have floppy kid syndrome until they are on bottle feeding. The kids are unable to digest the milk content quickly; therefore, will more milk quantity the stomach of the kids becomes upset, and it leads to toxicity and from toxicity of milk leads to poisoning from the milk content.
It is therefore essential to know about the quantity of milk required by the kids depending on their age, weight, time interval and level of activity of kids to avoid the development of floppy kid syndrome.
What Causes Floppy Kid Syndrome in Goats?
The leading cause of floppy kid syndrome is the confined area where both female goats and kids are placed. Due to the enclosed space, the kids will demand and receive more milk from their mothers, and the female goats will generally allow them to get the milk.
The female goats in the unconfined area will permit their kids to nurse more frequent but for a shorter time interval. This unconfined area will prevent floppy kid syndrome from developing. This syndrome usually doesn’t occur until the kid becomes 7-10 days old, as it takes some days for the undigested milk to remain in the kid’s stomach and then produce life-threatening toxicity.
However, kids on bottle-feeding are more prone to this syndrome, and this ailment occurs more often in them due to feeding on a repeated basis. This repeat feeding of milk is difficult for the kids to digest entirely and thus create a condition like enterotoxemia (a disease in which goat suddenly dies). The kids may die rapidly and without any signs, if remaining untreated.
Symptoms of Floppy Kid Syndrome in Goats
- Kids will have an unsteady gait.
- Kids may consume dirt, or their mouth or faces have dirty around it
- The female goats have strutted udders as the kids don’t feed on them
- Affected kids are easy to catch as they will not run away
- The kids raised on bottle-feeding have more apparent fully belly due to the stay of the milk in the gut and doesn’t digest.
- Kids become lethargic
- Kids become unable to nurture; however, they can swallow
- Kids will be unable to keep the head up
- Kids become unable to stand
- No control of any muscles in kids
- High fever in some kids
- Some kids develop respiratory disorders, and some don’t show such signs
Floppy Kid Syndrome Treatment
The best solution is taking the kids off milk totally for a minimum of 36 hours. Addition of baking soda or other electrolytes will help to neutralize the kid’s stomach conditions. The milk of magnesia or mineral oil will help to push the half-digested milk out of the kid’s body. A pain killer will aid in calming the pain of the gut.
Tube feeding is essential for kids suffering from floppy kid syndrome. Add a teaspoon of baking soda with eight ounces of electrolytes and adequately mix it to make a solution. The stomach tube will help to administer 30-60 ml of this solution into the kid’s stomach. Repeat the disease after a couple of hours. However, avoid bloating the kid by overfeeding the solution.
An injection of clostridium type C and D antitoxin under the skin over the ribs will help to counteract the toxic effects produced by the milk present in the stomach of the kid and repeat after twelve hours. Usually, the antibiotics from mother will help the kids to fight against different diseases and boost kid’s immunity. Though, with the administration of excessive milk, no antibiotics from the mother will help to stop floppy kid syndrome.
It is always better to administer some antibacterial medications to prevent any bacterial infection in the gut of the kids. A combination of Sulfamethoxazine with TMP (Trimethoprim) is useful when provided for five successive days.
The dose of mineral oil or milk of magnesia is 5ml/20lbs of body weight. This dose of milk of magnesia will help to eradicate the undigested milk from the kid’s body. The administration of milk magnesia is useful when administered through the stomach tube. As milk of magnesia doesn’t have any taste, therefore it may enter the lungs and cause pneumonia in goats.
Another vital therapy is to perform an enema with warm soapy water. This enema will help to remove hard faeces from the lower gastrointestinal tract through the anus. However, the enema may not eradicate the undigested milk from the stomach. Special care must follow during inserting tip of the syringe into the rectum of the kid while doing medicine. Repeat enema many times to provide some relief to the kids. Make sure to take special care while doing enema as the area is full of delicate tissues.
There may be the appearance of the diarrhoea and this is a good sign that shows that the kid is removing the toxic elements from the body. Avoid the usage of any anti-diarrheal medicines unless the diarrhoea is watery or bloody.
Providing baking soda will help to rehydrate and soothe the stomach of the kid. The kids can survive on baking soda for three days if that much time required clearing the digestive system of the kid. Avoid feeding milk again to the kid until the faeces of the kid become normal, and the kid becomes rehydrated again.
The kids on bottle-feeding are in particular conditions. During the initial 2-4 weeks of life, there should be individual bottles for the kids so that it becomes easy to control the quantity of the milk kids receive. Once the kid begins to ingest the solid food like leaves, goat, pellets, and hay etc. then the chances of floppy kid syndrome reduces.