What Are the Causes of Goat Bloat?
Did you know goats experience gas bloat just like humans? Goats are "ruminants," which are herbivore mammals who get their nutrients from plants through a unique fermentation process. Essentially, they regurgitate and chew again, resulting in goat bloat because this process produces a lot of gas. What you feed your goat matters, so New Heritage Feed Co. makes a 16% goat ration pellet animal food. This animal food has ingredients that include ground corn, oats, alfalfa, soybeans, and other natural ingredients goats love. It is possible that despite your greatest efforts, your goats experience bloat. This article will discuss the causes and treatment of goat bloat. If you know how it can happen, you will be better able to respond if it occurs.
What Contributes to Goat BloatWhen an animal cannot burp, goat bloat happens. First, let's look a bit at the anatomy of a goat's stomach. Goats have a rumen, which is the first part of the stomach where most of the food is collected. From the rumen, food returns to the mouth as "cud." The goat continues chewing cud to absorb more nutrients. The problem is the rumen produces a lot of gas. Now, when there's a blockage that prevents gas release, goat bloat occurs. You may even notice a bulge on the left side of the animal where gas accumulates. Two factors come into play that cause goat bloat.
Obstruction of the EsophagusSometimes the goat can swallow something too large, so it causes an obstruction. If this happens, you may be able to feel the blockage in the goat's throat. Veterinarians advise caution with trying to assist the block on your own manually. You can try to gently, manually move the obstruction down towards the stomach. Never push forcefully or use a physical object that may harm the goat. Seek veterinarian help if the goat shows signs of pain or distress.
Eating the Wrong FoodThe second cause of goat bloat is the food they are eating. If goats eat too heavy animal food made of carbohydrates or if their diet is changed too quickly, it may impact digestion. Even weeds and other plants they forage can contribute if they have a high starch level. The result of eating this type of animal food is a decrease of good microbes in the gut and an increase of harmful microbes. Eventually, the bad microbes can produce a "foam," which causes a block in the esophagus. Gas cannot escape through the block, so the goat experiences bloat symptoms. It is important to note that goats experience bloat less frequently than other farm animals. However, farmers must take it seriously if the goat is in distress.
What Are The Types of Goat BloatThere are three different types of bloat that occur:
- Frothy Bloat: Caused from overeating where foam forms in the rumen due to gas bubbles. The goat cannot emit the foam. It can be the most dangerous, leading to respiratory distress.
- Dry Bloat: Caused from indigestion after eating. Gas forms in pockets and gets trapped in the rumen. As it accumulates, it becomes difficult for the goat to belch.
- Choke: The result of something blocking the esophagus.