Diarrhea can be a symptom of several underlying problems including stress, disease, internal parasites and diet mismanagement.

Believe it or not, goats are very sensitive to sudden changes in diet. Rations containing a high level of grain and/or insufficient levels of fiber can also cause diarrhea, along with feed that has become spoiled or moldy. In addition, supplemental feeding too much corn or oats without the proper balance of fiber can lead to diarrhea. In some cases diarrhea can be a sign of disease. For example, diarrhea is a primary symptom of thiamine deficiency. Internal parasite infestation can also lead to diarrhea and result in weight loss.

You know it when you see it — unusually soft or watery, foul smelling feces.

Any changes in diet should take place gradually over 7-10 days to give the population of microbes in the rumen time to adjust to the new feed without causing digestive problems. Water should always be available since persistent diarrhea can lead to dehydration. Persistent diarrhea in young kids may lead to death if left untreated. If symptoms do not improve, consult with your veterinarian.

If internal parasites are suspected, a fecal sample can be examined by your vet who can properly treat the infestation. If diarrhea is tinged with blood or if your goat has a fever, contact your vet immediately.

Basic good feeding management will help prevent diarrhea. Purina Mills’ scientists recommend a good quality, balanced ration such as Purina Goat Chow.