Floppy Kid Syndrome
By Dr Mackie Hobson BSc(Agric),BVSc

Wednesday, 15th November 2017


The ‘Floppy kid syndrome’ in Angora goats can occur when kids are raised under intensive conditions.

In cases that I have come across the in Angora goats the kids have been between 2-3 months old that have been fed concentrate feed under drought or intensive conditions. You may recognise the symptoms in the 3 videos below?

The syndrome has however been reported in other goat breeds in very young suckling kids in lambing pens or when kids are raised as ‘hansies’..

This syndrome must not be confused with:

  • weak or hypothermic kids -see our website


  • Polioencephalomalacia (Thiamine, Vit B1 defficiency) – see our website



‘Floppy kid syndrome’ occurring in 2-3 month old kids fed concentrate diet.

The first symptoms seen in a ‘Floppy kid’ are :

  • The kid seems wobbly (ataxia).
  • The kid may stumble and its legs cross over.
  • If you lift a floppy kid off the ground about 30 cm and drop it down it will drop down onto its knees/belly while a healthy kid will remain standing.
  • It is important to note NO tail twitching and NO short choppy hind quarter gait occurs as may be seen in some neurological cases effecting kids of similar age and feeding conditions such as Poloioencephalomalcia (Thiamine Vit B1 defficiency).
  • Blood glucose levels were low normal 4mmol/l in this case.

The symptoms progress to:

  • The kids become lethargic and can’t stand
  • The head may flop to one side and the kid may fall onto its side
  • Some of the kids may breath with increased effort and appear as if having pneumonia


Videos of 3 stages of the ‘Floppy’ Kid syndrome

  1. Floppy Kid Early

  2. Floppy Kid Mid

  3. Floppy Kid Terminal

Post Mortem (PM) findings:

The main PM lesion found in cases are localised to the liver.

  • Tan coloured swollen liver below (tan coloured)
  • Liver becomes friable and may even rupture resulting in abdominal bleeding. Below is the abdominal cavity of a kid opened to show the haemorrhage occurring from the split in a friable fatty liver.

Histopathology results on Post Mortem samples

  • No brain or other pathology lesions were detected apart from the liver
  • Liver: centrilobular hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver)


If a vet is unavailable and on farm treatment is carried out where a vet has not diagnosed the syndrome then a blanket approach is taken to cover conditions of similar clinical appearance.

  • Keep hydrated and remove concentrate feeding (feed long a stem fibre such as lucerne hay)
  • Inject Vit B1 (Thiamine)

Make sure the concentration is high at least 100mg/ml.

Intramuscular injection i/m (10 – 20 mg/kg body weight)

Every 3 hours for a total of 5 doses.

  • Inject 2ml Vit B Co so as to cover the other Vit B’s.
  • Inject Penicillin: (example Peni LA 1ml/10 kg i/m)
  • Dose calcium carbonate (Bicarb) About 15mg (3 tea spoons mixed with water)
  • Dose or tube a probiotic (example protexin)

Floppy Kid syndrome in young sucking kids with excess milk intake

This syndrome can potentially occur in angora goats in conditions such as:

  • in kidding pens where mother can’t get away
  • ‘hansies’ fed excess milk.

The excess intake of this milk prevents proper digestion resulting in a toxic bacterial overgrowth in the stomach.

Diarrhoea can be seen in these cases and sometimes excess gas formation by the bacterial overgrowth

This usually leads to the death of the kid

How to treat the suckling kids

  1. Stop the milk for about 2days
  2. Dose/tube:
    • bicarb (about a teaspoon) mixed with the electrolytes
    • Probiotic (example protexin) with above
    • If bloating vegetable oil with activated charcoal can be tubed or dosed
  1. Inject a penicillin antibiotic (example Peni LA 1ml/10 kg i/m)

Also see articles on Feeding Hansies



Dr Mackie Hobson


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