POLIOENCEPHALOMALACIA...If you haven't had a case yet, it's just a matter of time. Goat polio is a potentially deadly malady that every goat breeder will encounter sooner or later - one of many reasons to keep Vitamin B on hand. Always.
Thiaminases are enzymes that split thiamine (vitamin B1, a crucial metabolic compound), and render it inactive. Some plants – the chief culprit is usually bracken fern – contain thiaminases and overconsumption can lead to goat polio.
More frequently, though, thiaminase poisoning in ruminants is caused by grain overload – eating too much grain, or a new kind of grain, which can alter the pH of the rumen and cause certain bacteria to grow out of balance. These bacteria, including Clostridium sporogenes and some species of Bascillus, can produce enough thiaminases to cause ‘goat polio’ with its characteristic symptoms of blindness and disorientation.