I am a very firm believer in the wonderful benefits of probiotics for animal healthcare.
I’m going to share the story of Goliath’s illness because I’m hoping someone might learn. Goliath was born here on the farm, and he was always a snuggler and a hugger. He was so sweet! I decided to keep him. I even went out and bought three lovely boer nannies so he would have some girls of his own.
When he was a year or so old, we had a very horrible winter. Off and on all winter long, Goliath would struggle with a couple days of fever and diarrhea. Then he would get better. All winter it went on. Finally, in April he got sick and wasn’t doing better. He had antibiotics, wormer, herbal wormer, Pepto-bismol, and I don’t know how many other things. Thank goodness, he was so easy to give medicine. Just put it in a syringe and stick it in his mouth. He’d eat it. The only hard part was getting the syringe back out of his mouth.
He improved, but then he got the diarrhea back. I couldn’t get him to clear up. I had him confined to a small area so he wasn’t using lots of energy, and I was feeding him more food than any one goat should have ever been able to consume. I would cut grass out of the ditches every day so he always had fresh green food. He got hay. He had grain. This goat ate more food than I would have thought possible, and it just went straight through him.
Now the vets always say worms. He was on herbal wormer. If it’s in his system, it has to work. I watched him eat it. There is no way he could have worms. Finally, I gave in and they did a fecal sample, and he was filled with worms. I was floored. It wasn’t possible if it was in his system.
We treated him for worms, and the vets felt that was the full diagnosis. I knew that the worms had to simply be a symptom of something larger.
Finally, I had an epiphany! The wormer wasn’t getting in his system. That meant he had a digestive problem. His rumen was not working. I realized that I couldn’t remember the last time I saw him chewing his cud. He was either eating or looking for something to eat. I called the vet to discuss my billy goat that was starving to death. Of course, he didn’t believe me that the goat’s rumen wasn’t working at all. He said if that were the case he would…
Nope, he didn’t finish the sentence. He would starve to death. After all, that’s why I had called to start with. I gave Goliath about two doses of probiotics, and it was a miracle. His diarrhea ended. All that food that was pouring through him started sticking. He gained weight. He grew. He became huge!
Lessons to be learned.
1. Don’t be stubborn. Just have the vets do the fecal test so you can eliminate it or see that it is a symptom.
2. Always make sure that your goat’s rumen is working. You should see them chewing their cud pretty much all the time except when eating and sleeping.
3. Always keep probiotics on hand and use them whenever you give antibiotics, someone is run down, before or after kidding, or whenever you feel like it. You can’t give too many probiotics.