Sunday, May 1, 2011

Floppy Kid Syndrome

With goat kids still being born, this is the time of year that goat breeders may have to deal with Floppy Kid Syndrome (FKS). Here is an excerpt from page 85 of Goat Health Care that tells you how to recognize FKS and an easy, harmless treatment to reverse mild cases:

Floppy kid syndrome (FKS) is a sudden onset, in an otherwise healthy kid, of extreme weakness and inability to move the legs, associated with metabolic acidosis (increase in overall acid in the body) in which no specific organ systems are abnormally involved. No gastrointestinal or respiratory clinical signs, such as diarrhea, dehydration, or difficulty breathing, are seen. It usually occurs late in the kidding season, which is the time to be most alert to it.

FKS was first documented in 1987. Currently the cause is unknown and further research is needed. There is no difference in incidence between dam-raised and bottle-raised kids, or those given pasteurized or unpasteurized milk. It can spread rapidly among young kids. Unfortunately, in some cases, a number of kids die before the goat breeder determines what is going on.

Gastrointestinal disease is strongly suspected to be the cause for this syndrome since it is the most common cause of metabolic acidosis in goat kids. Early untreated cases, where death occurred, should be necropsied to help in determining the cause.

Affected kids are normal at birth and then develop sudden profound muscle weakness at 3 to 10 days of age. Kids are often reluctant to nurse, but can swallow. Biochemical findings include metabolic acidosis, decrease in bicarbonate, normal to increased chloride and occasional hypokalemia (low potassium). No gastrointestinal or respiratory dysfunction is apparent (i.e., diarrhea, dehydration, or breathing difficulties).

Diagnosis is made based on supportive clinical and laboratory findings. Any disease that can lead to a profoundly weak or acidotic kid, such as white muscle disease or enterotoxemia can be mistaken for this syndrome.

The best treatment depends on early detection of the problem. Less severe cases can be treated by giving the kid baking soda as soon as possible. The recommended dose is ½ tsp in cold water given orally. If a kid is unable to nurse or drink a bottle, he or she may have to be fed by stomach tube. You should see improvement within 2 hours, if the kid actually has FKS. In severe cases, intravenous fluid and bicarbonate administration will be required.

According to the literature, there is no association between treatment with antibiotics or vitamin/mineral supplements and recovery. In fact, in some cases kids recover with no treatment at all. In some cases kids may relapse or take up to a month to recover their neuromuscular function.

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