Newborn goats have little or no immunity to disease.
- Antibiotics (disease protective particles) do not pass from the doe to the kid before birth. As a result, the doe builds a very high level of antibodies in the udder, primarily gamma globulin. The kid is capable of absorbing these protective bodies through the stomach and intestinal wall for a short time after birth, with peak absorption during its first 6 to 12 hours. This ability decreases rapidly over the next 12 hours; when 24 hours old, the kid can no longer absorb the antibodies.
- If a kid does not obtain enough colostrum, it will not have adequate disease protection. Such kids will probably be sick most of their lives.
- If they live through the first month or 6 weeks, they will probably survive because they can then build their own immunity.
- Many hypogammaglobinemic kids are stunted, however, and do not mature properly.
- Because the doe’s first milk, called colostrum, is high in antibody level, it is very important for the kid to nurse soon after birth. It should receive about 10% of its body weight in colostrum the first day of life. This would amount to nearly 236 ml (1/2 pint) for the average-sized kid.
- There is no effective treatment after condition occurs.
- Blood transfusions sometimes help but these should be done by a veterinarian.
- Be sure the kid has adequate colostrum before it is 6 hours old,
- If the kid is weak and cold, warm it gently by applying warm water or warm towels to its body.
- Tubing techniques using a small rubber catheter can and should be used to place warm colostrum into the stomach.
- Faerber, C.W., McNeal, L., Harding, R.L., Hill, K.L., Merriam, J. and Durrant, S.M., 2009.Small Ruminant Production Medicine and Management (Sheep and Goats). Animal Health Publications, Brigham City, UT.
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