It’s a cute name.
But not so cute when it happens. Every three or four years we will get a floppy kid. When we do, it almost always means that there will be another that season. It almost always happens later in the season when it is warmer – winter-born kids don’t get it – and almost always happens when a kid is 7-10 days old.
While there is no real known cause of FKS, it is, in theory anyway, linked to eating (drinking, actually) large amounts in a short time. This can happen on a lambar, or it can happen if a kid has a very productive and indulgent mother, the kind who doesn’t walk off in mid-guzzle. Or it can just happen. We have never had a LaMancha kid with FKS, but every few years one or two or three Nigerian kids will get it. Once you have seen it, you know right away what it is.
The candidates for Floppy Kid are generally the most rubust, the ones that drink the most milk – either from their dams, or by bulldozing their way to a primo spot at the feeder where they post up and box out other less aggressive milk lovers.
In the early stages of Floppy Kid, the kid will just be off. If you haven’t seen it before, you may think the kid is sleepy: he/she doesn’t get up right away, or wobbles a little, or just some tiny thing that you notice but then put aside. Try not to put those things aside in your mind. If you pick the kid up, the stomach is characteristically sloshy: you can feel the milk in it but there is also a flaccid feel to it. It feels like the milk isn’t going anywhere, and that’s exactly what’s (not) happening. Intestinal atonia (gut not moving) and systemic acidosis have set in.
The cure is simple. The thing to do right away is to take the kid off milk for the next two days. Immediately give it a half teaspoon of baking soda. This should start to correct the acidosis and allow the system to start functioning again. But don’t just pour a bunch more milk in there when things get moving again and you can feel that little stomach losing its sloshiness – let everything clear out. Give the kid only water at first. Then you can switch to electrolytes, and eventually add a little dextrose in. Put a pinch of baking soda in every bottle.
If you catch it early – before the kid is completely immobolized – chances for a full recovery are very good. And while kids can recover spontaneously on their own, if you don’t do anything they kid can also become completely unable to move. And die.
If your kid is a month old, it is not impossible but HIGHLY unlikely that it has FKS. It is too old.
If your kid is two days old, it is not impossible but HIGHLY unlikely that your kid has FKS. It is too young.
But a usually energetic week-old kid who is wobbling or stumbling or doesn’t get up as expected is a prime candidate. As with almost everything, if you act quickly things almost always end well.
I am just a grumpy old breeder. Consult your veterinarian for veterinary advice.
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