There was a published article in Countryside magazine that referenced treating White Muscle Disease in sheep. The article details a shepherd's journey to treat one of her beloved sheep for White Muscle Disease which is typically from a lack of selenium, vitamin E deficiency or both in the diet of goats, sheep, cows and horses. The author treated her beloved sheep with ACV otherwise known as Apple Cider Vinegar. This article peaked my interest prompted me to further investigate prevention as well as treatments for White Muscle Disease for goats and kids.
Being that I prefer to look at papers and studies performed by Universities, Extension Services and veterinarians, I also like to research and learn about more natural, old time remedies that are tried and true. ACV was used by my grandparents so I was familiar with using it with animals beforehand.
In my Dairy Goat Handbook, the White Muscle disease is described as a common problem in areas that have selenium deficient soils. (You can check your state's Selenium Levels by clicking HERE.) A selenium or vitamin E deficiency often manifests as White Muscle Disease where white streaks are oftentimes found in the heart and skeletal muscles upon autopsy.
In kids, a selenium or vitamin e deficiency may result in them becoming too weak to suckle, develop inhalation pneumonia or suddenly die. Prevention for white muscle disease is to feed a mineral that contains an appropriate level of selenium and vitamin e. Many folks that raise goats give BOSE injections under the skin but that generally only elevates blood levels of selenium for 2 or 3 days.
In one of the published papers I read on ACV and animals written by an animal nutritionist, it was noted that in order for animals to get good results from adding/feeding ACV to animals, they found it was essential to provide a good free-choice mineral, good forage and care of the animals.
In that article, the following applications were noted:
* Dosages for a water tank were listed as 1/2 cup of ACV to 20 gallons of water.
* It was recommended at 1 ounce per 100 pounds of body weight.
* Fed free choice for therapeutic conditions, feed 50/50 ACV to water mix.
* For increased palatability, mix 30% ACV to 70% molasses as an energy booster and to slow winter freezing.
Before supplementation of ACV for your goats and other animals, you should check with your veterinarian for guidance and review of your feeding and supplementation program.
We have added ACV to our chickens water for years. My grandmother "dosed" her chickens with the tonic for years and oftentimes stated that "it was good for what ailed ya". I gave ACV to my horses water and periodically, we add ACV to our goat's water as well. I've always loved the ideas of our predecessors providing us with their knowledge and the more natural treatments although we most often turn to our veterinarian for treatments.
I will be adding more on this subject in a future post.