Goats can get bloated for a number of different reasons. Changes in feed or hay, stress, overeating, and more.
In this case, we had given the goats some timothy hay pellets as treats, and Freddie, a wether, just ate them way too fast, and so he did not digest them properly. Rumens are very sensitive, and bloat can happen very quickly.
We noticed that Freddie’s left side was unusually large, extremely hard, and he showed subtle signs of discomfort.
We didn’t feel that the situation was severe, as he was eating, playing, and drinking normally otherwise. His stomach height remained below his spine (when the rumen is elevated above the spine, that often means a severe/more common case of bloat). The fact that this was minor, gave us more time to decide on alternative treatment options.
I started by massaging Freddie’s sides, his stomach was very tight, but after an hour of massage he was passing gas and I heard some “gurgling” noises, and that is a very good sign. After starting to get things moving again in his rumen, I gave him some Probios (probiotic paste gel for ruminants), and let him lick some baking soda. I allowed him to choose how much baking soda he needed, so I refrained from drenching him with it.
When we left him for the night he was acting perfectly normal, no longer bloated… crisis averted! I followed up the next day with some of Fir Meadow LLC’s GI Soother to be sure the situation was taken care of.
There are often more extreme cases, so bloat is not something to be taken lightly, and each situation requires a different level of treatment. Baking soda, oil, probiotics, peppermint essential oil/tea, massage, herbs, and more should be used in cases of bloat. Be sure to determine the cause of the bloat–grain-related bloat can quickly turn into Enterotoxemia which a very serious situation.
DISCLAIMER: I am not a vet, nor am I a licensed professional. I am in no way a “goat expert” and my opinions are only that of personal experiences, and my insights shared are not medical treatment suggestions, care suggestions, or any directions for raising goats at all. I am simply sharing my own personal opinions. Any and all changes to your goats’ health regimen, care, etc. should be approved by a veterinary professional or licensed professional. I also believe that every goat owner has their own way of doing things, so just as my opinions are my own, and cannot apply to anyone else, your opinions are also regarding your individual goats, and I welcome you to share them in a kind, constructive manner.