Coccidiosis is a major health problem, sometimes in adult goats, but primarily in kids under 4 months who still have immature immune systems. This species-specific (ie. NOT zoonotic) parasitic protozoa invades the body, damaging the intestinal wall, and causing watery bloody scours, dehydration, weight loss, stalled growth and often inflammation and secondary infections. Often coccidiosis will be accompanied by the ‘thousand yard stare’, where the goat stares listlessly and vacantly into the distance, barely responding to stimuli.
It is best diagnosed by a fecal test from your veterinarian. Only if a fecal sample shows more than 500 oocysts per gram of feces should it be considered coccidiosis. (Always request the oocysts count from your vet).
Coccidiosis is often caused by a compromised immune system in adults due to other health issues, or stress can bring on the problem. In kids it is usually caused by unclean or wet living conditions, overcrowding and/or contaminated water and food. One of coccidia’s life cycles is a thick-wall spore (oocyst) that can live in the manure of an infected goat for a very long time. As others pick up these oocysts when eating off the ground, they become infected. This is the best reason in the world to NEVER ever feed hay or grain off the ground. Always invest in proper bowls and hay feeders.
Treatment for adults is a daily ORAL dose of 1-1/2 Tablespoons of Dimethox 12.5% for 5-7 days. For kids, the ORAL dose is 1 teaspoon daily for 5-7 days. (CO-RID or Amprolium is a thiamine inhibitor and should never be used to treat goats of any age.) An anti-diarrhea medication may also be needed. As with all health problems, the immune system must be boosted. Bovi Sera or Goat Serum can be given to stimulate the immune system. Dosage is a once daily 10cc SubQ injection for 2 days for adults and a once daily 5cc SubQ injection for 2 days for kids.
Many people often put kids on a preventative medication starting at 3 weeks of age. Give a twice daily 1/2cc ORAL DOSE of 40% Dimethox or a twice daily 1-1/2cc ORAL DOSE of 12/5% Dimethox for 7 days. After that, repeat the dosage only once a week until weaned. Keep all areas, especially feed and water facilities as clean as possible. It may be necessary to separate kids from adults in severe cases.