Floppy Kid Syndrome

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.

#floppykidsyndrome #fks #babygoatcantstandup #babygoatproblems #babygoatfeelslikearagdoll

Medicine Cabinet

People are always asking me what I keep in my emergency medicine cabinet, so here is the list. But before I put the list up – the best thing to have in your cabinet is a good local goat vet, which I am not. In order to have a good local goat vet at 2 in the morning on Sunday, which is when you are going to need the good local vet, you have to go to the vet first and spend some money. Goat people are notorious tightwads and it never ceases to amaze me the kind of posts you will see on Facebook – my goat has a prolapsed rectum and is hemorrhaging from her eyeball, should I give her some penicillin? Or should I worm her?

And back come the answers from Internet experts around the world –

1.) why not worm her and give her penicillin?

2.) Could she have deerworm of the brain?

3) I treat all my goats for cocci when they are hemorrhaging from the eyeball. I have been raising billies and nannies for 47 years.

4) She may not need worming. If you Google “Famacha test” you will find a chart which will tell you. You just peel her eyelid back (not the one she is hemerhaging from) and check the color.

5) Yes it can’t hurt.

6) This sounds like goat polio. Is she a fainting goat?

7.) Diatomaceous Earth has always worked well for me.

The correct answer, in a perfect world, is CALL YOUR VET.

But of course we don’t live in a perfect world and on occasion, even when you have a good relationship with a good local vet, you will be on your own. For those occasions I always have on hand:

Banamine-medBanamine – for pain and swelling and fever reduction. Prescription.

Thiamine – by prescription, or, if not available, otc fortified B complex. For everything.

Lutalyse – for induction of labor and heat. Prescription.

Dexamethasone – for induction of labor when kids may be premature (used together with lutalyse.) Prescription.


Oxytocin – for milk letdown and retained placenta. Prescription.

Baycox. For cocci. Given to kids prophylactically. Pretty much a wonder drug.

Tube kit for tubing newborns.

Injectable calcium. For milk fever.

Bose. Injectable. By prescription. Selenium and Vitamin E. Selenium deficiency is a serious problem in many (not all) areas of the PNW. It may not be an issue where you are, check this map.

MFO. Milk fever oral – quick note here, don’t buy anything labeled ‘Goats Prefer.’ Goats do not prefer. For milk fever – don’t hassle with drenching, 9 times out of 10 if a doe needs this and you offer it to her, she will drink it willingly. Given at the very first sign – before the very first sign would actually be better – of milk fever.

A nice hoppy IPA. Nothing too fancy. Redhook Longhammer works well. Or Lucille from Georgetown Brewery. We can’t get Pliny the Elder around here any more. For relaxation.

The Wether Report

There is a strict rule against wethers here.

I was just telling Gilbert, my LaMancha wether, about it. “The problem with wethers is that they are the lilies of the valley. They toil not, and neither do they spin.”

Gilbert did not respond; his mouth was full.gilbert_post_1200w

“And they also eat a lot.”

Anyway no one offered to buy Gilbert except a guy named Jose in Burien whose only question was – how much does he weigh? Always a tipoff. Since Gilbert is friendly and handsome and likely to be enormous when grown, and since by this time he had ingratiated himself with me using his LaMancha personality, I did not want him to become the guest of honor at a cabrito party.

And in any case I had been thinking about getting back into goatpacking. So I dragged the old pack out of the hayloft where it had been sitting for years, covered with dust.

“You are going to have to do some toiling, Gilbert,” I told him. “And maybe some spinning.”

Gilbert did not respond; his mouth was full.

Packgoat club now forming. Inquire within.

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