Scours in sheep and goats
There are many conditions that cause diarrhoea. These include colibacillosis, paratyphoid, Johne’s disease, Rift Valley fever, coccidiosis, worms and poisonous plants.
This usually affects younger animals. The disease is most severe in lambs/kids 2-8weeks of age.
Predisposing factors
Sudden change of feed
Keeping animals on wet and dirty floors
Clinical Signs
The first sign is diarrhoea.
Sheep and goats are depressed and do not eat.
They become severely dehydrated and may die.
This condition is caused by a bacterium (Escherichia coli).
It usually affects lambs/kids under 2 weeks of age.
Predisposing factors
When lambs/kids do not drink enough colostrum (first milk) after they are born.
Dirty and wet pens.
Other diseases may make them more vulnerable to become infected
Overcrowding and stress.
Clinical Signs
They have a watery, whitish-yellow or greyish diarrhoea
Affected lambs salivate and have a cold mouth.
The animals are depressed and not eating.
The umbilical cord is sometimes inflamed and swollen.
Lambs/kids usually die as a result of dehydration.
This is caused by salmonella organism and occurs mostly in older animals
Change in environment, feed and stress and presence of the organism predisposes to the disease.
Clinical Signs
There is fever and the animals are off feed.
Watery green diarrhoea that is sometimes spotted with blood can be seen.
Animals usually die from dehydration or septicaemia.
Pregnant ewes may abort.
Treatment of diarrhea in small ruminants
In livestock, diarrhea is called scours. There can be many causes of diarrhea: bacterial, viral, parasites, and diet.
Treatment depends on the causative agent.
The first step would be to separate the affected animal. And then conduct some diagnosis to find out the cause of the diarrhea. Usually it is best to consult a trained personnel (veterinarian)
In a situation where diarrhea is caused by diet. Removing the particular ingredient is advised.
Change in feed should be done gradually over a period of time.
You must have to weed out poisonous plants from around your goat pens. This is very important during the dry season when animals are forced to graze on any available plant.
Antibiotics are used for both treatment and prevention of E. coli scours in lamb and kids.
Same applies for coccidiosis and salmonellosis.
Diarrhea caused by viral agents has to be managed with antibiotics and fluid and electrolyte therapy. Most times, if you are able to keep the animal alive until the disease runs its course, you may be able to save the animal.
Heavy worm burden can cause diarrhea in sheep and goats.
Control of gastro-intestinal parasites is best achieved via good pasture, grazing, and animal management, and strategic and/or selective deworming of affected individuals with effective anthelmintics (dewormer).
Treatment of diarrhea with antibiotics in goat is not usually effective without supportive fluid therapy. Usually the animals die due to fluid and electrolytes loss. Therefore fluid and electrolyte therapy is indicated to replenish lost fluid and mitigate dehydration.