Floppy kid syndrome (FKS) affects goat kids in the first month of life and is associated with high morbidity and mortality rates. The condition is characterized by neurological signs that can be ascribed to increased plasma d-lactate concentrations. The source of d-lactate has not been identified conclusively, but d-lactate-producing bacteria in the large intestine are thought to be involved.
To determine the number of colony-forming unit (CFUs) of certain groups of bacteria in the feces of kids with and without FKS.
Nineteen goat kids with clinical signs of FKS, acidemia (pH ≤ 7.2), and plasma d-lactate concentration >7 mM and 15 healthy goat kids without acidemia (pH >7.2) and d-lactate concentration <1 mM.
In this case-control study, the goat kids were examined clinically and blood was collected to measure d-lactate concentration, blood gases, and acid–base parameters. Fecal samples were collected and the total aerobic bacterial count and CFU counts of coliforms, enterococci, staphylococci, streptococci, lactobacilli, and clostridia were determined using the surface plating method.
Goat kids with FKS had a mean plasma d-lactate concentration of 10.9 ± 3.7 mM compared with 0.3 ± 0.9 mM in healthy kids, and significantly greater CFU counts for enterococci, streptococci, staphylococci, and lactobacilli than healthy kids.
Conclusions and Clinical Importance
The groups of bacteria present in greater numbers in the feces of goat kids with FKS include several d-lactate-producing species, which makes dysbacteriosis a likely cause of the increased plasma d-lactate concentration in FKS.