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Why Goats Foaming at the Mouth

Goat is herbivore animal that feed on plants. Foaming at mouth is not common in goat but it could be because of many reasons but the most common reason is bloat that occurs due to overeating of lush green fodder, grains and leguminous folders. 

Bloat is an over-distention of the rumen (forestomach) with the gases of fermentation, in the form of a persistent foam mixed with the ruminal contents, called primary or frothy bloat. It mostly affects goats, sheep, and cattle.

Other reasons for foaming at the mouth are poisoning, excessive salivation, and uneven teeth. The death rate is about 5-10% in goats grazing on bloat prone pasture and in pastoral areas. Bloat can be a significant cause of mortality in feedlot goat.

Etiology:

A goat has 4 parts of the stomach. In the 1st part, fermentation occurs, as a result, gases produce. In frothy bloat, the cause is the entrapment of normal gases of fermentation in stable foam. Coalescence of the small gas bubbles is inhibited, and pressure inside rumen increases because eructation cannot occur.

Both animals and plants influence the formation of stable foam. Some plants have foaming agents like soluble leaf proteins, saponins, and hemicelluloses that are responsible to form a monomolecular layer around gas rumen bubbles that makes it more stable at specific pH. In saliva, mucin is present that is antifoaming, but saliva production is reduced with succulent forages.

Over a twenty-four hours period, the bloat causing forage and unknown factors within the animals combine to maintain an increased concentration of small feed particles and increase the susceptibility to bloat.

Bloat is most common in animals grazing legume or legume dominant pastures, mainly alfalfa (Medicago sativa), ladino, and clovers (red and white), but also is seen with the grazing of young green cereal crops, kale, rape, turnips, and legume vegetable crops.

Legume forages such as alfalfa and clover have a higher percentage of protein and digested more quickly. Other legumes, such as sainfoin, milk vetch, crown vetch, birdsfoot trefoil, and fenugreek are high in protein but do not cause bloat, probably because they contain condensed tannins, which precipitate protein and are digested comparatively slowly than alfalfa or clover.

Leguminous bloat is most common when ruminants are placed on lush pastures; particularly those dominated by rapidly growing leguminous plants in the vegetative and early bud stages, but can also be observed when high-quality hay is fed.

Frothy bloat also is seen in feedlot goats that are on high grain diets. The cause of the foam in feedlot bloat is uncertain but is thought to be either the production of insoluble slime by some species of rumen (forestomach) bacteria in cattle fed high carbohydrate content or the entrapment of the gases of fermentation by the fine particle size of ground feed.

Fine particulate matter, such as in finely ground grain; can significantly affect foam stability, as can low roughage consumption. Feedlot bloat is most common in goats that have been on a grain diet for 1 to 1.5 months. This timing may be due to the increase in the level of grain feeding or to the time it takes for the slime-producing rumen bacteria to multiply to large enough numbers.

Calf Bloated

Organophosphate Poisoning: 3 Types

Organophosphate poisoning can cause 3 syndromes.

  • Acute foam
  • Intermediate foam
  • Delayed foam

The acute foam is due to irreversible inhibition of acetylcholinesterase enzyme, resulting in increased acetylcholine(Ach) activation of the nicotinic and muscarinic receptors in the parasympathetic nervous system, nicotinic receptors at the neuromuscular junction, nicotinic receptors of the sympathetic nervous system, and cholinergic pathways within the central nervous system (CNS).

Clinical signs of acute toxicity contain muscarinic signs (e.g. vomiting, diarrhea, salivation, bronchoconstriction, increased bronchial secretions), nicotinic signs (e.g. muscle tremor and twitching), and CNS signs (e.g. behavioral change, seizures).

The intermediate foam is primarily manifest as generalized muscle weakness due to the accumulation of acetylcholine at the nicotinic neuromuscular junction, causing a depolarizing block. Cats are especially prone to this form of toxicity, m commonly due to chlorpyrifos.

Affected cats usually do not have clear signs of acute toxicity, instead of developing tetraparesis and retroflection of the neck some days after contact. Mydriasis is common. Diagnosis is constructed on a history of exposure and the presence of typical clinical signs.

Decreased cholinesterase activity in whole blood is supportive. Treatment of acute or subacute toxicity should include administration of atropine (0.2 mg/kg, IM) if dyspnea (difficulty in breathing) due to bronchial secretions and bronchoconstriction is present. Atropine will not cure the nicotinic signs of tremors and weakness, which should be treated with pralidoxime chloride (20 mg/kg, IM or SC, bid). Diphenhydramine (4 mg/kg, IM or PO, bid) may help alleviate muscle weakness. Treatment for several weeks may be necessary.

The delayed foam of toxicity is associated with the degeneration of distal axons in the peripheral and central nervous systems (CNS). It is unrelated to inhibition of acetylcholinesterase and is seen only with certain organophosphates. Signs develop several weeks after exposure and are characterized by weakness and ataxia of the pelvic limbs. In some animals, laryngeal paralysis has also been reported. There is no specific treatment.

THE RUMEN GAS POOL :

Gas is in the rumen in two interchanging states, dissolved and free, which together make up the rumen gas pool. Bloat may be regarded as a major increase in the pool size due primarily to interference with gas outflow. Most of the gas in the rumen is formed there.

The main sources are microbial fermentation and acidification of bicarbonate; the major components are CO2 (45 to 70%) and CH4 (20 to 30%), with N2, 02, H2, and H2S as minor components. The daily total gas production is, theoretically at least, large, but in bloat the important factors are

  1. The rate of production during feeding, especially the peak rate
  2. The degree of gas accumulation.

If gas is already accumulating in the stomach, small amounts of additional gas may increase markedly the severity of bloating.

Understanding the Rumen

Clinical Signs:

Bloat is a common cause of sudden death. Ruminants not observed closely, such as pastured and feedlot goats, usually are found dead. Mostly bloat begins within 1 hr after being turned onto a bloat-producing pasture. Bloat may develop on the first day after being placed on the pasture but more commonly develops on the second or third day. In bloat

  • Rumen becomes obviously distended suddenly.
  • The entire abdomen is enlarged.
  • As the bloat progresses, the skin over the left flank becomes progressively tauter and in severe cases, cannot be “tented.”
  • Foaming at the mouth can be observed in severe cases.
  • Dyspnea and grunting are marked and are accompanied by
  • Mouth breathing.
  • Protrusion of the tongue.
  • Extension of the head.
  • Frequent urination.
  • Rumen motility does not reduce until bloat is severe.
  • If the problem continues to worsen, the animal will collapse and die.
  • Death may occur within 1 hr after grazing began but is more common 3 hours after onset of clinical signs. In a group of affected goats, there are usually several clinical bloats and some with mild to moderate abdominal distention.

Diagnosis:

 It is mostly based on clinical signs and symptoms. The treatment is usually symptomatic.

Recognizing and Detecting Bloat:

The cause of bloat is detected simply observing the bloat condition which could be frothy or gassy. A frothy type of bloat is more likely to be caused by weeds and grasses whereas gas-type bloat is more likely to be caused by grain.

Extreme Bloat is Goats

Treatment:

In these life-threatening cases, an emergency surgery called rumenotomy may be needed; it is accompanied by an explosive release of ruminal material and, thus, noticeable relief for the goat. Recovery is usually uneventful, with only occasional minor complications.

A trocar and cannula may be used for emergency relief in case of the extended rumen. Stable foam in acute cases relief quickly enough. If the cannula fails to decrease the bloat and the animal’s life is in danger, an emergency rumenotomy should be preferred. If the cannula offers some relief, an antifoaming agent can be administered through the cannula, which can remain in place until the animal becomes normal, usually within several hours.

A variety of antifoaming agents are effective, including vegetable oils (e.g. peanut, corn, soybean) and mineral oils (paraffin). A surfactant like Dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate is commonly incorporated into one of the above oils and sold as an exclusive anti-bloat remedy, which is effective if administered early.

Poloxalene is effective in treating legume bloat but not feedlot bloat.

Placement of a rumen fistula provides short-term relief for cases of free-gas bloat associated with external obstruction of the esophagus.

Gas Bloat in Your Goat

Control and Prevention:

The preclusion of pasture bloat can be difficult. Management practices used to decrease the risk of bloat include feeding hay, mainly orchard grass, before turning ruminants on pasture, maintaining grass dominance in the sward, or using strip grazing to limit intake, with the movement of animals to a new strip in the afternoon, not the early morning.

Hay must constitute at least one-third of the diet to efficiently lessen risk of bloat. Feeding hay or strip grazing may be reliable when the pasture is only moderately dangerous, but these approaches are less reliable when the pasture is in the pre-bloom phase and the bloat potential is high. Mature pastures are less likely to cause bloat than immature or rapidly growing pastures.

The only suitable method available to avoid pasture bloating is the continual administration of an antifoaming agent during the risk period. This is extensively practiced in grassland countries. Spraying the agent onto the pasture is equally effective if the animals have access only to treated pasture.

This method is ideal for strip grazing but not when grazing is uncontrolled. The antifoaming agent can be combined to the feed or water or incorporated into feed blocks, but achievement with this method depends on adequate individual intake.

Available antifoaming agents include oils and fats and synthetic nonionic surfactants. Oils and fats are given at 15-40 ml / head / day. Poloxalene, a synthetic polymer, is also very effective nonionic surfactant.

It is safe and cost-effective to use and is administered daily through the susceptible period by adding to water, feed grain mixtures, or molasses. Pluronic agents help the solubilization of water-insoluble factors that contribute to the formation of stable foam.

A pluronic detergent (Alfasure) and a water-soluble solution of alcohol ethoxylate and pluronic detergents (Blocare 4511) also are effective. Ionophores effectively prevent bloat, and a sustained-release capsule administered into the rumen and releasing of monensin daily for a 100-day period protects against pasture bloat and improves milk production on bloat-prone pastures.

The ultimate aim in control is the formation of a pasture that permits high production while keeping the prevalence of bloat low. The use of pastures of clover and grasses in equal amounts comes closest to achieving this goal. Bloat potential differs between cultivars of alfalfa, and low-risk LIRD (low initial rate of digestion) cultivars are available commercially.

The addition of legumes with condensed tannins to the pasture seeding mixture (10% sainfoin) can reduce the risk of bloat where there is strip grazing, as can the feeding of sainfoin pellets.

To prevent feedlot bloat, rations should comprise of ≥ 5 to 10% cut or chopped roughage mixed into the complete feed. Preferably, the roughage should be cereal, grass hay, grain straw, or equivalent.

Grains should be rolled or cracked, not finely ground. Pelleted rations made from finely ground grain should be avoided. The addition of tallow (3%–5% of the total ration) may be successful occasionally, but it was not effective in controlled trials. The non-ionic surfactants, such as poloxalene, have been ineffective in preventing feedlot bloat, but the ionophore lasalocid is effective in control.

Antibacterial agents are also used to treat bloat. The use of penicillin could control bloat, but not now used extensively for legume bloat. Their fall from favor resulted mainly from the ready development of bacterial resistance after continuous use.

Antiprotozoal agents have not been satisfactory for controlling bloat .As bloat is a problem of foaming, it is logical to use antifoaming agents to prevent or treat it.  Adequate protection from bloat can be obtained only from an effective concentration of the bloat-preventing agent is in the rumen throughout the danger period.

Treatment through Baking Soda:

Baking soda may be useful in treating or may not treat the bloat. It all depends on the type of bloat.

Ruminant animal produces its own sodium bicarbonate in the saliva without being fed baking soda. During the act of cud chewing, copious amounts of bicarbonate are transferred into the rumen. Goats that are fed long-stem forages (grazing pastures or receiving hay) will produce more saliva (and thus bicarbonate) than goats fed grains or finely ground hay that don’t require cud chewing.

Baking soda raises the goat’s pH since goats rarely have an issue with rumen pH being too high; we will focus on the issues that occur when it drops too low. This condition is called acidosis. When rumen pH drops, a vicious cycle begins.

As the pH drops, the grain-digesting microbes thrive while the fibre-digesting microbes do poorly. One of the by-products of grain digestion is lactic acid. So the more grain these microbes digest, the more acid is produced and lower the pH goes. Eventually, the pH drops so low that the microbes die and the rumen stop contracting.

Rumen contractions normally move gas produced as a by-product of microbial fermentation toward the esophagus so that it can be belched out. When contractions stop, gases get stuck and can fill up the rumen quickly causing grain bloat.

To treat grain bloat, one has to treat the acidosis. Under this condition, releasing the gas through tubing or a trocar in addition to giving a drench of sodium bicarbonate is the correct course of action. Be sure you are actually dealing with bloat and not just a full rumen before initiating bloat treatment.

Conditions where supplementation with baking soda may be appropriate (i.e. conditions ideal for acidosis development): Feeding of high levels of grain (should only be doing for goats being fattened for slaughter).

Shifting from long-stem forages to a chopped forage (like silage or Chaffhaye). Feeding of finely ground feed (like hog feed). Pelleted or texturized feeds are best for goats. Drench in case of known acidosis. In severe scours where the animal is off feed, it will provide some electrolytes and help prevent a secondary case of acidosis.

Situations where feeding of baking soda provides no benefit: Goats on all-forage diets or those receiving very little supplemental grain. Goats that experience frothy bloat caused by the grazing of lush legumes like clover, alfalfa, small grains like wheat or rye. Baking soda will provide no relief at all for this type of bloat.

 Urinary stone prevention – first, baking soda doesn’t affect urinary pH. Second, the urine needs to actually become more acidic in order to decrease the formation of stones and baking soda neutralizes acidity.

Just pulling baking soda after offering it the free choice for a long time can cause severe bloat and overconsumption can cause Hypocalcemia, Paradoical CNS (Central Nervous System), intracellular acidosis, etc.

You should not offer baking soda to a goat who is suffering hypocalcemia. And you should also be aware of drug reactions, such as drugs that need an acidic medium for stability such as tetracyclines.

Goat Breeder Associations

Goat AssociationLocationLink
American Goat Breeders AssociationUnited StatesAGF
English Goat Breeders AssociationUKEGBA
Canadian Meat Goat AssociationCanadaCMG
Minature Goat Breeders AssociationAustraliaMGBA
Boer GoatsSouth AfricaBGSA
American Boer Goat AssociationUnited StatesABGA
World Goat Breeders AssociationsListWGBA

Reference:

Veterinary medicine D.C Blood

msd veterinary merck manual

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