Floppy Kid Syndrome, also known as FKS is a disease or toxicity characterized by metabolic acidosis and may be coupled with microorganisms in the gut. Rather than having a neutral pH in the bloodstream, it becomes acidic due to undigested milk in the stomach, caused by overfeeding. As a reminder, this can happen in dam-raised kids & bottle-fed babies. With dam-raised kids, it is often seen when the dam & kid are kept in a small area where the dam is unable to get far enough away from the baby to stop it from suckling. In bottle-fed kids, it is often due to forcing larger amounts of milk that the kid can handle, or when using a Lumbar, the kid is overconsuming.
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Experiencing Floppy Kid Syndrome
This year during kidding season we experienced Floppy Kid Syndrome. Since spending 5 days a week with the kids for 3 months, we quickly learned each kids’ personality and behaviors. Therefore, anything abnormal was addressed immediately.
Floppy Baby Syndrome can happen overnight! We experienced a perfectly happy, healthy baby in the morning and by the evening the kid was lethargic and weak. Showing signs of paralysis, losing balance, ears had fallen low, tail drooping, attempting to play yet unsuccessful. The kid wanted attention and love yet was not responding in a normal way. These were clear signs that something was wrong.
It has appeared in both dam-raised and bottle-fed baby goats. At this time, not much additional research has been put into the causes and solutions to this syndrome, as it is generally treatable in a fairly short amount of time. The key is to recognize it as soon as possible.
Treatment for floppy kid syndrome is immediately STOP feeding MILK. The correction occurs with baking soda (bicarbonate), water, and electrolytes. The success of using a bottle, however, depending on how your goat responds to suckling at this time (because their tongues become weak as well), a stomach tube may be used. We have found the following procedure effective in correcting Floppy Baby Syndrome (this also seems to be the general consensus within the goat community):
*Stop feeding milk for 12-36 hours depending upon the severity of symptoms.
*Mix ½ – 1 tsp of Baking Soda into 1 cup (8 oz) of water. Administer 10-20 mL of solution orally, three (3) times per day.
Kids are typically affected between 3-10 days of age. This syndrome occurs from too much-undigested milk in the stomach before the next feeding. With a backup of undigested milk, the pH changes and becomes toxic. Correction of the acid/base status in the stomach must be addressed immediately, if not this can be fatal to the baby goat.
Floppy Kid Syndrome *Bounce Back Electrolytes https://www.mannapro.com/cattle-swine-more/supplements-care/bounce-back. Mix 1 scoop (included) into 2 cups (16 oz) water. This information is found in the package’s directions for use. Administer 6-8 oz, three (3) times per day. Pedialyte has also been suggested for use.
*Electrolytes + Baking Soda in one bottle.
After 12-36 hours, we averaged 24 hours, we began feeding milk in small amounts starting with 6-8 oz three times per day. You may also continue to use small amounts of electrolytes in the milk if needed based upon symptoms, diarrhea, and fecal status. The electrolytes will assist in maintaining hydration in the baby goat should light diarrhea occur. And always contact your veterinarian with concerns or questions.
Recover From Floppy Kid Syndrome
Watch the kids as often as possible during the 12-36 hour period for changes in their behavior. They seem to respond quickly to treatment, however, kids do have an opportunity to take a negative turn. They can move into a coma state. Should this occur, see your veterinarian immediately.
A few other things to look for are diarrhea and distended abdomens. Diarrhea on the mild side is a good sign. It is an indicator of the undigested milk leaving the stomach. As the kid responds to the baking soda and electrolyte treatment, the feces should begin to return to a more normal state and the abdomen should become less distended. If diarrhea becomes watery, the use of Pepto Bismol has been effective. Only administer 3 mL for NO MORE THAN 3 days. The idea IS to move the undigested milk out of the system, too much Pepto Bismol could cause the milk to remain in the stomach for a longer period of time, reducing the turnaround time of the toxicity.
Need More Resources?
Know what floppy kid syndrome is and the importance of overfeeding baby goats. Monitor their behaviors every day and throughout each day, especially in the first few weeks. Above all, we strive for healthy, happy goats for each of you! Hope this provides some assistance and insight.
At Packgoats.com, we are here to help you solve your goat problems every step of the way. To learn more, read this article about understanding goat digestive systems. Check out these helpful Youtube videos to help make the most convenient and comprehensive care solutions for any goat owner. Check out this article on packgoats.com goat course bundles to find out which course best fits your needs.