How to Treat Dehydration in a Goat
A dehydrated goat is a goat in serious danger. Dehydration can lead to death very quickly. Dehydration can be caused by several things including lack of water, scours (diarrhea), too much heat... Scours are probably the most common cause. If they have scours, you will need to clear this up as you attempt to fix the dehydration or all the fluids you give them will simply leave the body almost as quickly as you administer them.
Remove the cause of the dehydration. If your goat has scours, remove all milk, grain and other concentrates. Give them only hay to eat. Fresh grass can also cause scours if they are not accustomed to it. For scours, you will want to give them probios, yogurt or some other type of beneficial bacteria. Giving a kid black tea or charcoal tea with activated charcoal in it in place of their regular bottle of milk will also help remove toxins created by the scours.
Give the goat the following electrolyte solution:
2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
8 TBLS honey (or molasses, but NOT cane or beet sugar)
4 qt WARM water
Mix all above ingredients thoroughly, and feed instead of plain water. If the goat you are treating is a kid and does not drink water, or if the goat is so dehydrated that they no longer want water, you can offer it in a bottle or drench them with some of it.
If the goat does not improve quickly, you may need to contact your vet for lactated ringers, an injected electrolyte solution.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure - prevent dehydration by:
- Keeping fresh water available to the goats at all times
- Provide shelter for them to get out of the hot sun
- Prevent them from getting scours by limiting the amount of grain they get and don't let them gorge themselves on wet grass.
NOTE: As stated at the beginning of the article, if your goat has scours, make sure you identify and treat the cause of the scours as well as providing an electrolyte replacement. There can be many causes of scours - excess grain, wet pasture, too much grass when not accustomed to it, and, more seriously, parasite or bacterial infections.