Coccidiosis in goats can be a serious problem, but it’s something that almost all goat owners have to deal with sooner or later. Our Vet identified that it’s a significant problem in our area, and many types of young livestock (sheep, cattle, etc.) get it from early spring on. Everyone dislikes dealing with it – young livestock with diarrhea are not fun.
What Coccidiosis Is
Coccidiosis is a disease of the intestinal tract caused by the parasite coccidia. Coccidia are almost always present in the goat’s environment, and goat’s are generally infected with small numbers of the parasites that do very little damage. Adult goats usually have sufficiently robust immune systems to resist the coccidia, but young or sick goats are susceptible to developing an overload and disease.
The disease is spread through contact with infected feces, and it takes from 5 – 13 days after contact for the goat to exhibit the illness. The main indicator is diarrhea, which is followed by dehydration, weakness, and death if not treated. So, it’s a very serious disease for young goats and needs to be dealt with immediately. Older goats can have a problem with coccidia too, and stressful situations will often cause an outbreak.
Treating Coccidia In Goats
A fecal sample taken to your Vet can be used to confirm coccidia, but after dealing with it a few times, it’s easy to recognize an outbreak. Our Vet suggested using Corid (amprolium) at 1 cc/20 lbs. for five days or alternatively Albon (sulfadimethoxine) also for five days to treat it.
We learned that Corid is a Vitamin B inhibitor, so when using Corid the goats should also be given Vitamin B. Also, Corid isn’t effective against all stages (there are two stages of life for the parasite) of coccidia, so five days of treatment may not be enough. That’s another reason everyone hates a coccidia outbreak – a minimum of five days of administering drugs to kids with diarrhea is not fun either.
As an alternative, many breeders are now using a drug that was developed to combat both stages of coccidia and that is given in just one dose (and in the case of an outbreak may be repeated in 10 days) called Baycox (toltrazuril coccidiocide). It can be found here. The dosage we were advised to use was 1 cc/5 lbs as a drench. It certainly is easier to give one dose of Baycox as opposed to Corid and Vitamin B to multiple goats every day.
In addition to administering the drugs above, it’s important to keep all the goats showing signs of coccidia hydrated. If the signs of an outbreak are caught quickly, the goats are treated promptly, and kept hydrated, then they usually recover fully within a few days.
Taking goats to shows can stress them, or can expose them to new strains of coccidia. This year, after showing the yearling boys (and Celtic Quinn winning Grand Champion Buck), all of the younger kids showed signs of coccidia within a few days. The older boys never did, but probably brought the coccidia back with them.