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Bloody Scours or Black Scours


  • Various types of the Salmonella bacteria cause salmonellosis in several species of animals.

Symptoms: Salmonellosis

  • A symptom of salmonellosis is blood-streaked or black tar-like diarrhea in young kids. The kids will have a high fever and may pass a material with the diarrhea that looks like the stringy lining of the gut. In Europe, one type of salmonella causes abortions in goats.
  • Diagnosis is best made from growing the bacteria in the laboratory. However, fairly reliable diagnosis can be made in a field situation. A postmortem examination done by a veterinarian is very helpful and highly recommended.


  • These bacteria are very common in the environment and are spread by carrier animals that usually show no symptoms of the disease. They can be passed from animal to animal by contact when goats eat feed contaminated by the bacteria.


  • Treatment with neomycin, tetracycline, chloramphenicol or sulfas by mouth will be useful most of the time.
  • Encourage the goat to eat and drink by offering fresh, clean water and good fresh deed.
  • Keep the sick goat as comfortable as possible and avoid chilling.


  • To prevent salmonellosis, isolate infected animals, clean up the area carefully, including changing soil in small enclosures, and be careful not to buy aniamls from heards with a history of bloody scours. Keep the healthy kids away from sick goats after their recovery and clean the premises well. There are vaccines available for specific types of salmonella. They are helpful if the type is known.


  • Thedford, Thomas R. Goat Health Handbook: A Field Guide for Producers with Limited Veterinary Services. Morrilton, AR: Winrock International, 1983.

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