Bloat is the over-distension of the rumen with gases of fermentation. It can either occur as frothy bloat or free gas bloat. If foam is present, it is called frothy bloat; otherwise it is referred to as free gas bloat. While bloating is not common in goats as it in other ruminants like cattle, it can occur due to varied reasons. These include overeating and rapid change of diet. Although goats are known to be selective eaters, they may sometimes consume weeds which is one of the major causes of bloating. In young livestock, bloating can be a result of soy based milk replacements.

Symptoms of Bloat in Goats

Treatment of bloat in goats should be administered as soon as symptoms appear. The common ones being restlessness, abdominal discomfort, loss of appetite, and increased salivation. The stomach becomes progressively distended on the left side. Bloating is a life threatening condition for goats hence should be treated timeously. In fact, under severe circumstances, death can occur within hours. Bloat causes compression of the thorax which in turn causes respiratory distress and death from asphyxiation or heart failure. There are a range of remedies for treatment of bloat in goats which farmers can adopt. Note that sometimes there is not enough time to contact a veterinary professional hence the need for farmers to acquire the necessary treatment skills.

Stomach Tubing

This is an emergency procedure used as treatment of bloat in goats. Stomach tubing will not help with frothy bloat, as it does not eliminate froth that initially causes the problem. Frothy bloat is usually made up of stable form that can clog up in the tube rendering this method ineffective. As such stomach tubing is used as treatment of bloat in goats suffering from the free gas type. The required instruments for this procedure comprises a 6 to 10mm diameter and 1 to 12m long plastic hose rounded off at the end. Take care not to use a garden hose as it is too large therefore can possibly kill the goat. Note that the tube must be long enough to reach from the mouth to the distended flank, with some room to spare. A speculum is also needed so that the goat does not bite and sever the tube. Measure the length between the mouth and the middle of the abdomen; using a permanent marker, mark how far the tube must be inserted. Seek help from someone to keep the mouth open while inserting the tube through the speculum and gently into the back of the throat. The gas will begin to exit as soon as the tube reaches the stomach opening. Sometimes there is need to move the tube gently back and forth until locating the gas pocket. Once the deflation process is done, pinch the tube and remove it in one smooth, complete motion.

Incision or Piercing Method

The incision or piercing method is considered to be an emergency treatment of bloat in goats.  A goat that is down and in distress is in an emergency state; if not attended to quickly the animal can die within minutes. The pressure caused by the bloat in the abdomen can stop the lungs and heart from working. Under such circumstances, there may not be enough time to consult a veterinary medical professional as recommended. For this reason, farmers should have the necessary skills to perform this treatment.  Using a trocar or a knife, make an incision four fingers width behind the bottom of the ribs on the left side of the goat. If using a knife, make sure that it is sharp and well disinfected. The gas should exist as soon as the incision is made. Bandage the wound once bloat has been relieved. A trocar and cannula will usually have too small a bore to allow escape of the stable foam. As such, to relieve frothy bloat, make sure that the incision is extended to a minimum of 5cm and maximum 10cm length. Maintain and rotate the knife in the hole during decompression to help the foam escape the abdominal cavity. Clean the wound area, administer antibiotics (procaine penicillin, oxytetracycline) for three days, keeping flies away; the wound must heal in about 2 to 3 weeks. There may be need to consult a veterinarian after the operation to provide follow up care and advise. Note that this method must only be applied as a last resort when other treatments of bloat in goats have been exhausted.

Goat Bloat Home Remedy

There are a variety of home remedies used as treatment of bloat in goats. These make use readily available resources and are usually the easiest of all treatments. For goats that are still able to walk, farmers drench a quarter pint of mineral oil or cooking oil down the goat’s throat. After this procedure, there is need to exercise the goat through walking and massaging the stomach side. This usually causes the built up gas to escape through the mouth or rectum. An alternative method is to administer a small amount of sodium bicarbonate, approximately one tablespoon mixed with warm water. Some farmers prefer to offer this liquid treatment once in a while to prevent bloat. Other prescriptions recommend giving goats a tablespoon of lime (dolomite) and seaweed meal mixed in half pint of cider vinegar so as to replace the missing magnesium and potassium. Some home remedies for treatment of bloat in goats suggest use of lime or baking soda after the goat is relieved through administering oil. For frothy bloat, drenching with poloxalene or mineral oil (100-200 cc) may help. Take care not to drench mineral oil without a stomach tube as it might end up in the lungs. Powdered ginger may help in mild cases of bloat. Mix two tablespoons of ginger in a small amount of warm water and administer with a syringe. Ginger has traditionally been used for the treatment of gastro-intestinal ailments thus is sometimes an effective treatment of bloat in goats.

Farmers are advised to exercise animals after administering treatment of bloat in goats. They should be aware of various medicine that can be used to treat bloat. Consulting a veterinary medical professional is highly recommended to determine the suitable medication for the type of bloat prevalent. Administration of antibiotics and about 10ml of Bloat Guard are some of the common medicines. Note that if such a treatment of bloat in goats fails, stomach tubing and incision methods can be applied. These must be administered by a skilled professional as any errors during the operation can be detrimental to animal health.