Goat Bloat
Written by Administrator-GL   
Sunday, 27 May 2007

EMERGENCY QUICK GUIDE TO TREATING BLOAT IN GOATS

Bloat - What IS Bloat and How to Treat Bloat

Med-A-Goat 911™Goat Care Article Bloat - Goatlady and her Goats - Goat-Link.com Goat Care Article

Untreated Bloat WILL Result in Death

There are 2 types of bloat and each has it's own treatment for release.

Quick Reference for Immediate Care

ALWAYS check first for any obstructions in the mouth or throat that can be causing the bloat!
  1. Massage Rumen (Upper left side) using kneading as if kneading bread and patting firmly as you would a baby
  2. Get goat on it's feet if down and start walking it around
  3. Elevate front end of goat if laying down
  4. Massage & Pat rumen (high on left side of goat behind last rib) to help release gas ( the same method as you would use to burp a baby)- you may also have to "knead" the air pocket to get the gas moving.
  5. If the goat starts to belch up gas, then give it a tablespoon some baking soda either dry or in a small amount of water, (if you add enough water to make it like toothpaste it is easier to get most of it into the goat) about a TBSP for an adult goat or a tsp for a younger goat
  6. If the gas does NOT come up with belching while massaging the rumen and the goat has had access to lush grass pasture all of a sudden (ie: let out to pasture after a long winter with just hay), and or has froth on it's mouth - Then administer either "Bloat Release" or "Therabloat" or REGULAR PLAIN powdered "Tide laundry detergent" Not the one with bleach, not the ultra, or any of the new varieties(one tablespoon of Tide powder mixed with 60cc of water) carefully via tubing - DiGel (4-6 TBSP) DO NOT Tube with OIL! (WHY?) Because oil is odorless, tasteless and has no temperature, can VERY easily go down the wrong way and into the lungs! INSTEAD- Administration of the anti foaming agent should reduce the bloat almost immediately. After the release of the gases, administer orally a probiotic to refresh rumen flora
  7. If you have a goat that has binged on grain, I use baking soda first - wet a TBSP full of baking soda with enough water to make a paste and into the mouth, massage the rumen afterwards up and forward to help the goat belch- afterwards, try giving a couple TBSPs of Milk of Magnesia. This helps stimulate the gut and lower the pH balance of the rumen be more alkaline.
  8. IF and I DO say IF.. all treatment is not working and the goat is in such distress as you feel it will die shortly and there is No time to call your vet,you will need to use a trocar to release the gas But this is a dire emergency situation ONLY (read more below:)

    If the bloat continues after either of these treatments CALL YOUR VET

     

This is the Normal Rumen function of moving gas around the rumen and finally toward the esophagus for removal via belching. When a goat Is bloated, it cannot bring up the gas and it continues to build in the rumen slowly pressing on the heart and lungs suffocating the goat from within.

Trocar
If all else fails.. and I do mean ALL ELSE and you have a goat who is going to die if nothing is done to relieve the bloat..nothing else you have tried to this point is working.. the animal is in extreme distress..perhaps has an obstruction in the mouth or throat whereas the gas CANNOT Escape, you do have one more option to try to save the life of the goat.. IF it can be saved..
The use of a Trocar.. which is an implement used to make a hole in the rumen wall and allow the gas to escape right through the animal's side.

trocar placement diagram for relieving gas from livestock-goats
Click image for larger view

The trocar is inserted behind the last rib into the bubble felt in the rumen high on the left side - shown here on a cow but placement is the same on a goat.
The cannula is left in place after the trocar is removed, allowing the opening made to remain open while the gas escapes. Gas should escape immediately,if it does not something else may be wrong with the goat or you could be dealing with a serious case of frothy bloat.
Get the goat to the vet immediately!

Most trocars come as a cannula and trocar.. (the trocar fits inside the cannula and once the implement is in the tissue.. the trocar is removed leaving the cannula in place to avoid collapse of the tissue- holding the opening open so to speak) -Do NOT remove the cannula- Allow the vet to do this!
trocar
This life-saving instrument can be bought for under $16.00 and while you may Never need it - it can save a life  for the one time you might need it

Once the goat has been stuck, DO NOT remove the cannula, go directly to the vet and have the incision sutured, as you have gone through the wall of the rumen as well as the muscle and fascia tissues.
Contents of rumen may spill into the peritoneum causing severe septicemia.
So while this is a life saver, it is also dangerously susceptible to infection and further damages if not treated properly afterwards.
trocar surgery repair
It is a difficult decision to have to make, since there are complications to deal with afterwards.. and now would not be the time to be squeamish..
I have had to perform technique only once. There will be no doubt in your mind when it is the right time to do it.

For frothy bloat this opening needs to be an inch or so in diameter - administer therabloat or TIDE directly into the opening. Take the goat to the emergency ER Vet clinic immediately. This is done for a do it or die situation ONLY.

Odds are pretty good, however, that you will not have a trocar at hand. In a Very Dire emergency, you "can" use your sterilized pocket knife to make a 1" to 2" cut into the rumen. Immediately insert a piece of sterilized tube (or 3inch long 3/4" diameter piece of PVC into the hole to help prevent peritonitis. The gas should escape immediately if you have entered the rumen correctly. DO NOT remove the PVC pipe - let the vet do this!Take the goat to the emergency ER Vet clinic immediately. This is done for a do it or die situation ONLY. I CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH

Review! Quick Reference for Immediate Care

ALWAYS check first for any obstructions in the mouth or throat that can be causing the bloat!
  1. Get goat on it's feet if down and start walking it around
  2. Elevate front end of goat if laying down
  3. Massage & Pat rumen (high on left side of goat behind last rib) to help release gas ( the same method as you would use to burp a baby)- you may also have to "knead" the air pocket to get the gas moving.
  4. If the goat starts to belch up gas, then give it a tablespoon some baking soda either dry or in a small amount of water, (if you add enough water to make it like toothpaste it is easier to get most of it into the goat) about a TBSP for an adult goat or a tsp for a younger goat
  5. If the gas does NOT come up with belching while massaging the rumen and the goat has had access to lush grass pasture all of a sudden (ie: let out to pasture after a long winter with just hay), and or has froth on it's mouth - Then administer either "Bloat Release" or "Therabloat" or REGULAR PLAIN powdered "Tide laundry detergent" Not the one with bleach, not the ultra, or any of the new varieties(one tablespoon of Tide powder mixed with 60cc of water) carefully via tubing
  6. If you have a goat that has binged on grain, try giving a couple TBSPs of Milk of Magnesia. This helps stimulate the gut and lower the pH balance of the rumen be more alkaline.
  7. If all other methods are not producing a relief from the excess gas, then is the time for the decision to use the trocar or call a vet if possible

Early Symptoms of Bloat

  1. Goat shows signs of tight rumen area- left side being much fuller than the right side- air pocket  can be heard when tapped on the left side upper left quadrant.
  2. Off feed
  3. Hanging head or holding neck straight out
  4. Grinding teeth
  5. Moaning or groaning
  6. Crying out while kicking at belly (if this is a wether make sure to determine that this is Not urinary calculi)
  7. Goat not chewing cud
  8. Goat not belching (goats belch many times an hour typically)
  9. No rumen sounds when you put your ear to left side (normally should sound like a "gurgling stomach")

Late Stages Of Bloat

  1. Goat crying out in pain
  2. Obvious extreme distress
  3. Gasping for air
  4. Tongue and lips turning blue
  5. Goat down and unable to rise
  6. Eyes starting to "roll" back in head
  7. Goat lays down on it's side with legs stretched out straight

What causes Bloat in Goats?

  1. Too much gas forming in the rumen and not being expelled by belching
  2. Obstruction in mouth or throat not allowing gas to come up and out
  3. Eating too much grain or rich hay - causing an imbalance in the rumen flora
  4. Any illness or medications (antibiotics) that may inhibit the natural flora from breaking down the ruminal contents
  5. Being let out to eat lush pasture after a long winter of hay only
  6. Laying in a manner where the head is downhill making the rumen lay in a more forward direction and placement thus not allowing the gas to come out


Ruminants being "cud chewing" animals digest their food in a fairly complex manner. One important role of the digestion is fermentation of the food in the largest stomach, the rumen. While this fermentation takes place, gas bubbles occur and typically the goat will belch quite often releasing this gas.. which is perfectly normal (and at times can smell really good but this is my opinion *S*).. When the gases cannot escape for various reasons or too much fermentation is taking place at once..the bubbles get trapped and cause bloat.

shows gas in ruminant stomach
Click on image for larger view

Bloat is one of the easiest situations to recognize IF you know what you are looking for..( I can't tell you how many phone calls I have had in the past from distraught goat owners, scared to death their pygmy goat is bloated.. ) Like I said.. it is easy to recognize if you know what to look for:
Notice if the goat is feeling obviously uncomfortable, is hanging her head or holding her neck stretched out..she may be moaning, (grinding the teeth is a sign of discomfort..)she may grind her teeth, she may grunt or kick at her sides..she may just lay without any of these signs and the only thing you notice is she seems to be trying to breath out her mouth..

The best way for ANY physiological distress to be noticed is to KNOW each one of your goats and what they do when they are NOT sick; each goat is different.. so while Mary Lou may typically lay and moan and groan after she eats or while basking in the sun.. doesn't mean Sally Mae will do the same.. Know each goat's personality and make note, so when one Does get ill you will know what that particular goats does normally.

*Grinding teeth is not normal under any circumstances unless there is a discomfort somewhere..
Stand the goat up and take a look from the rear..Is the left side higher and fuller than the right side?.. when you tap the left side with your fingers is it tight like a drum?.. if so Most likely she is bloated..
This is a picture of a goat with the typical text book signs of bloat..Use this photo for reference.. Note the left side is higher and larger than the right- this is where the rumen is and where the gas is trapped.
typical bloat in a goat
Click image for larger view

This is my goat, Fancheon, who is really not a goat at all ..she is a pot bellied pig..*LOL*
They got especially rich alfalfa and she ate herself delirious in it.. She was fine after a few hours of massage and a handful of baking soda..and yes you do recognize her name from the Poem "Spring's First Kids" written when she was just a baby.

 This Diagram shows the rumen displacement when the goat is bloated- and where to massage for aid in releasing the air pocket:

Showing the displacment of the rumen and increased size due to excess gas

 

 

 

Bloat Release for treating frothy bloat in goats

Powdered Tide Detergent for treating frothy bloat in goats

TheraBloat for treatment of frothy bloat in goats
  Read More..... 
For a more in depth article on treating goats for bloat, what it is, how goats get bloated, please  visit this in depth article on bloat in goats - In Depth Article - Goats with Bloat You may also find this article on Tubing an Adult Goat Helpful.

Bloat article from Colorado State

Ruminal Tympany (Bloat, Hoven)


Prodigious volumes of gas are continually generated in the rumen through the process of Certainly, anything that interferes with eructation will cause major problems for a ruminant. The problem, of course, is called ruminal tympany or, simply, bloat.

Pathogenesis

Bloat is the overdistension of the rumen and reticulum with gases derived from fermentation. The disorder is perhaps most commonly seen in cattle, but certainly is not uncommon in sheep and goats.

Two types of bloat are observed, corresponding to different mechanisms which prevent normal eructation of gas:

1. Frothy bloat (primary tympany) results when fermentation gases are trapped in a stable, persistent foam which is not readily eructated. As quantities of this foam build up, the rumen becomes progressively distended and bloat occurs. This type of bloat occurs most commonly in two settings:

  • Animals on pasture, particularly those containing alfalfa or clover (pasture bloat). These legumes are rapidly digested in the rumen, which seems to results in a high concentration of fine particles that trap gas bubbles. Additionally, some of the soluble proteins from such plants may serve as foaming agents.
  • Animals feed high levels of grain, especially when it is finely ground (feedlot bloat). Again, rapid digestion and an abundance of small particles appear to trap gas in bubbles. Additionally, some species of bacteria that are abundant in animals on high concentrate rations produce an insoluble slime that promotes formation of a stable foam.

Bloat on pasture is frequently associated with "interrupted feeding" - animals that are taken off pasture, then put back on, or turned out on pasture for the first time in the spring.

2. Free gas bloat (secondary tympany) occurs when the animal is unable to eructate free gas in the rumen. The cause of this problem is often not discovered, but conditions that partially obstruct the esophagus (foreign bodies, abscesses, tumors) or interfere with rumenoreticular motility (i.e. reticular adhesions, damage to innervation of the rumen) clearly can be involved.

Another cause of free gas bloat that should be mentioned involves posture. A ruminant cannot eructate when lying on its back, and if a cow falls into a ditch and is unable to right itself, she will bloat rapidly. Ruminants that are to undergo surgery in dorsal recumbancy should be starved for 12 to 24 hours prior to surgery, or by the time the surgeon is ready to make the incision, the abdomen will already be distended.

Regardless of whether bloat is of the flothy or free gas type, distention of the rumen compresses thoracic and abdominal organs. Blood flow in abdominal organs is compromised, and pressure on the diaphragm interferes with lung function. The cause of death is usually hypoxia due to pulmonary failure.

Clinical Signs

In animals that are not observed frequently, bloat is commonly manifest as sudden death, reinforcing the concept that this is an acute disease with a short course.

Diagnosis of bloat is typically straightforward, and the clinical picture largely reflects how long the condition has existed. Signs include:

  • abdominal distension: the rumen is on the left side, and hence, distention is typically most prominent on that side. As distention continues, the entire abdomen may become distended.
  • reluctance to move and cessation of feeding
  • signs of distress: anxiety and vocalization
  • respiratory distress: rapid breathing, neck extended with protruding tongue
  • staggering and recumbancy: once a animal with bloat is recumbant, death occurs rapidly.

Although bloat is primarily an acute disorder, chronic, recurrent forms are recognized in calves.

Pathology

Animals that die from bloat have rather characteristic lesions, including congestion and hemorrhages in the cranial thorax, neck and head, and compression of the lungs. Pressure from the distended rumen leads to congestion and hemorrhage of the esophagus in the region of the neck, while the esophagus in the thorax is pale. This demarcation between congestion and pallor seen in the region of the thoracic inlet is called the "bloat line". Usually, the liver is also pale because of displaced blood and interruption of blood supply.

Obvious distension of the rumen is certainly observed in animals that die of bloat, but also occurs rapidly after death from almost any cause in ruminants, and is not a useful diagnostic lesion.

Treatment and Control

Bloat is a life threatening condition and must be relieved with haste. For animals in severe distress, rumen gas should be released immediately by emergency rumenotomy. Insertion of a rumen trochar through the left flank into rumen is sometimes advocated, but usually not very effective unless it has a large bore (i.e. 1 inch), and is often followed by complications such as peritonitis.

In less severe cases, a large bore stomach tube should be passed down the esophagus into the rumen. Free gas will readily flow out the tube, although it may need to be repositioned repeatedly to effectively relieve the pressure. In the case of frothy bloat, antifoaming medications can be delivered directly into the rumen through the tube; the animal should then be closely observed to insure that the treatment is effective and the animal begins to belch gas, otherwise a rumenotomy may be indicated.

A variety of antifoaming agents have been used to relieve frothy bloat. These include common items such as vegetable oils (corn, peanut) or mineral oil, which are administered in 100-300 ml volumes to cattle. A number of effective commercial products are available that include such agents as polaxalene (a surfactant) or alcohol ethoxylate (a detergent).

Control of bloat relies on management coupled sometimes with medications, but despite best efforts, is rarely totally effective. Also, some of the techniques advocated may be applicable to small herds, but are too labor intensive to use with large herds. Many of the techniques used are based on reducing the rate of fermentation that occurs in the rumen. Examples of control strategies include:

  • maintain pastures that have grasses mixed with legumes such as alfalfa
  • feed animals hay before turning out on bloat-inducing pastures
  • in feedlots, feed roughage such as straw or grass hay in addition to concentrate
  • for animals on high grain rations, the grain should be cracked or rolled rather than finely ground
  • apply antifoaming agents prophylactically, either by drenching individual animals, incorporating into feed, or spraying on small pastures

Although not well defined, a genetic component to susceptibility to bloat has been identified, which might be exploited to some extent in reducing herd prevalence of this condition.



http://www.vivo.colostate.edu/hbooks/pathphys/digestion/herbivores/tympany.html Bloat is the overdistension of the rumen and reticulum with gases derived from fermentation. The disorder is perhaps most commonly seen in cattle, but certainly is not uncommon in sheep and goats.
http://www.vivo.colostate.edu/hbooks/pathphys/digestion/herbivores/tympany.html
Last Updated ( Sunday, 14 June 2015 )