Diarrhea In Goats: Causes, Treatment & Related Questions

Diarrhea In Goats - Causes, Treatment & Related Questions

Newborn goat diarrhea is a common cause that leads to death in kids of 1-30 days old. Even though it is not an illness itself, it is a symptom of a more serious health problem. Therefore, to cure diarrhea, you should know the reasons for diarrhea in goats. Look no further and read our article below.

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How to diagnose diarrhea in goats?

A loose stool develops in young goats that are affected. The texture might vary between pasty and watery. Kids get dehydrated and weaker as a result of the loss of their bodily fluid and electrolytes.

Young goats that are near death are suffering from severe dehydration, lying on their side, having cool limbs, and refusing to drink.

You can check this Baby Goat Poop Chart to know more.

diarrhea in goats

Causes of diarrhea in goats

An inappropriate diet, bacteria, viruses, worms, stress are some of the most common reasons that lead to diarrhea in goats.


Too much grain

Similar to grass, goats will consume grain as much as possible. They can’t get enough of the sweet oats and will devise ingenious ways to approach the grain container. Grain is an excellent way to entice goats to cooperate.

You can use it to keep them motionless while shearing or milking. It’ll also motivate your goats to go to you, which is beneficial if they are in an inconvenient location such as the garden.

But, too much grain will overburden the bacteria in the goats’ digestive tract, resulting in scours.

Too much lush grass

Fresh green grass may appear to be the ideal environment for hungry goats, but too much lush grass or grass that is too moist may induce scours. If the goats are given the opportunity, they’ll gorge themselves on lush grass non-stop.

But the goats’ digestive system isn’t intended to handle such as a moist meal. The quantity will frequently overwhelm the bacteria’s capability to digest the lush grass, resulting in scours in the goats.

A quick change in diet

A change in either feed, forage/browse, or hay too quickly can result in serious ruminal acidosis, which shuts down the goats’ digestive tract and leads to mortality.

Similar to adult goats, if you switch young goats from their mom’s milk to formula milk or cow’s milk, it might irritate their stomachs and cause scours.

Inappropriate food

There are certain types of foods bad for goats’ health. Scouring can be caused by almost anything that interferes with the correct functioning of goats’ rumen.

Sweet feed, mule feed, haylage, balayage, and moisture-laden alfalfa-based products should never be fed to goats. Any molasses-based diet can mold, resulting in catastrophic infections such as Listeriosis.

Other items that negatively affect goats’ health include chicken feed, alcohol, tobacco,  leaves, pits, bark, and stone fruits such as cherries, peaches, plums, etc., and meat.


Bacteria (E. coli, Salmonella, etc.), parasites (cryptosporidia, giardia, etc.), viruses (coronavirus, rotavirus), and noninfectious factors (milk replacer, antibiotics) are thought to be the major causes that lead to diarrhea in goats.

While E.Coli is frequently considered to be the reason, surveys on diarrhea in young goats have repeatedly shown no specific association between this type of bacteria and diarrhea in a majority of cases.

parasites in goat
Parasites in goat – Source: Slideshare.net


Coccidiosis is a diarrhea-producing protozoa. It’s very dangerous to young kids. If left untreated, the kid can be fatal.

If your goats get scours for no obvious reason such as a change in their feed, a stool test (microscopic fecal counts) for Cocciodosis should be performed. Humans are also susceptible to Cocciodosis, so you should take preventive sanitary measures.

Diarrhea in young goats of more than 1 month is frequently caused by coccidia and worms. Both conditions are spread through feces-to-oral contact and are particularly common in poorly managed environments where goats’ pens and troughs aren’t kept clean, dry, and overcrowded.


Many goat farmers may wonder: “Do worms cause diarrhea in goats?”. The answer is that worms are among the more frequent causes leading to diarrhea in your adult goats as well as kids.

Parasites are carried by goats. According to vets, a healthy parasite load should be less than 5%. Scours may occur if your goats’ worm load is higher than this level.

There are various over-the-counter oral worm treatments available, but they should only be used when essential to avoid goats’ dewormer resistance, just like antibiotics.


If your goats get stressed, they can also get scours. Factors that make your goats stress are:

  • Overcrowding living space
  • Dirty and wet kraals
  • Transfer from one farm or feedlot to another
  • Weaning

However, scours caused by these reasons are less worrying and easier to treat than other causes mentioned above.

Treatment for diarrhea in goats

One of the first things you should do is to quarantine the affected goats to keep unaffected goats staying in the clear and prevent the sickness from spreading.

Make sure their bedding is clean. If required, clean multiple times per day. Wash your goats to make the flies stay away. To avoid contracting Cocciodosis yourself, you should wash your hands thoroughly.

It’s not necessary to give your goats anti-diarrhea medication since it doesn’t help you find out the cause that leads to diarrhea in your goats. Additionally, you should add electrolytes to clean water for the affected goats to drink.

If your goats regain their health, observe them for an additional 12-24 hours. If they are still suffering from diarrhea and refusing to eat after this period, you should call your vet. They will do a fecal check to see whether coccidiosis or worms cause this condition, so the goats can be properly treated.

Keeping the goat bedding always clean
Keeping the goat bedding always clean

How to stop diarrhea in baby goats?

Scours should be treated with an oral electrolyte fluid. Firstly, discontinue all milk and milk substitute feedings. Replace them with an equivalent quantity of electrolyte fluids up until their diarrhea subsides, which should take 2 or 3 days.

You can either purchase electrolyte mixes for goats at a livestock store or make them at home in emergency cases. You can make an electrolyte fluid by boiling one quart of water and adding 2 tbsps of light corn syrup, ½ tsp of salt, as well as ¼ tsp of baking soda.

Prevention for goats diarrhea

There are multiple preventive measures that you can take to avoid diarrhea in goats:

  • Make your goats easily accessible to baking soda.
  • At all times, provide grass hay.
  • Create a good worming routine. We worm at least once a season and more frequently if the goats need it. Check their eyelids for anemia and switch wormers to avoid parasite resistance.
  • Consult your vet regularly to have your goats’ feces checked.
  • Limit their time in the pasture until your goats’ systems can acclimate.
  • Slowly introduce new diets and gradually raise grain rations.
  • If you’re switching feed brands, slowly introduce your goat into the grain you’re currently feeding.
  • To avoid parasites and sickness, keep your goats’ bedding clean.
  • New animals should be quarantined until they are declared healthy.

The key to maintaining your goats’ rumen healthy lies in consistency. Be alert of changes in your herd, notice what causes scours, and react accordingly.

Remember that each individual is unique: a measure that works for a goat may not have the same effect on another.

using electrolytes to prevent scours in goat
Using electrolytes to prevent scours in goat

Related Questions to Diarrhea in Goats

1. Can hay cause diarrhea in goats?

Hay is essential for rumen balance. It’s the most closely related “farm-raised” food to what a goat would discover in the wild.

A goat’s rumen will be irritated if the goat is quickly shifted from a browner to lush green hay. Too much alfalfa hay or a rapid addition of it might have similar effects. Therefore, you should introduce these foods slowly.

2. Does baking soda help with diarrhea in goats?

Providing baking soda for your goats daily can assist in balancing the levels of pH in their rumen. This helps improve diarrhea conditions in your goats.

You should put baking soda in its feeding dish and make it available to goats. Don’t mix baking soda with their feed as well as minerals.

3. Does bloat in goats cause diarrhea?

When a goat is fed the same food every day, the goat’s rumen adjusts to a specific range of optimal digestion. However, bloating and a change in its stool can occur when its diet is abruptly changed.

To avoid bloating and other issues that can harm a goat’s general health, its diet must be altered gradually over several days.

4. Is diarrhea a sign of labor in goats?

Diarrhea isn’t a sign that the female goats are about to give birth. It can be something they ate that caused diarrhea and their body is draining it out. You should give them some Probios and keep an eye on them for 1-2 days to see if it helped their stomach.

5. Can dewormers cause diarrhea in goats?

Dewormers cannot cause diarrhea in your goats. By contrast, worms are one reason that leads to diarrhea and dewormers only aim to kill these worms. If you use dewormers and then there’s diarrhea in goats after deworming, other causes result in scours.

Final words

With our detailed analysis, we hope that you have learned how to identify the causes of diarrhea in your goats and how to treat the symptoms as well as the root causes.

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