Friday, January 15, 2010

Dealing with Pregnancy Toxemia and Ketosis

Emily - Very Pregnant!

Emily is my oldest Nubian doe.  She is a big sized Nubian.  She is 8 years old this spring.  She is also my heaviest milking doe ... giving me a little over 2 gallons a day for most of the milking season.  She is also the doe that gave me quads ... yes 4 kids ... 2 years ago. (See the earlier post on My First Kidding Season - Emily)  She is due to kid on the 24th of this month (January) and is as big as the year she delivered the quads!

Pregnant Emily

About 2 weeks ago, she was having a little trouble walking.  She acted like her feet or knees were hurting.  I trimmed her feet to see if that would help.  It didn't.  So, I figured it was just because she was getting so heavy with the kids.

Over the course of several days it became harder for her to get up and come into the milking parlor to eat grain with the other does at feeding time.  Even though none of them are in milk right now, I have continued having them come into the parlor for their grain.  It's easier that way to be sure each is getting their fair share of grain!

Watering Emily

I started bring water with molasses in it to Emily several times a day, because I didn't think she was getting up enough to drink enough water from the big trough.

Emily trying to get up

Then one day last week she refused to get up to come into the parlor to eat at all.  I eventually got her up, but she was weak and very wobbly on her legs ... that now look like tooth picks trying to hold up a watermelon!

I became very concerned that she was so weak and losing body weight.  You can feel her backbone.  So, I increased the frequency of bring feed, hay, and sweet water to her.  She seemed to be going down hill quickly.

I did some internet research on problems in pregnancy and found this article on Pregnancy Toxemia and Ketosis.  It described Emily's symptoms clearly!  I had to act quickly to save Emily and her unborn kids!

The description of Pregnancy Toxemia and Ketosis and some advice from the article is below:
Pregnancy toxemia and ketosis are the result of the high carbohydrate (energy) demand of multiple fetuses in late pregnancy. The kids require an increasing amount of carbohydrates the last trimester. Does bearing twins have a 180% higher energy requirement than those with just a single fetus. Does carrying triplets have a 240% greater energy requirement. When this demand exceeds the supply, fat is metabolized into glucose. The metabolic needs of the kids are met at the expense of the dam; this is what causes the ketotic condition. To complicate matters, multiple fetuses produce more waste products, which leads to the doe becoming toxic if she does not flush them from her system. 
When there is a decrease of glucose levels in the doe's brain, they tend to lay down, become sluggish, and show a loss of appetite. They may get stiff, and walk with a staggering gait. Swelling (edema) of the lower limbs is not uncommon.
Diet should include high quality roughage and increased concentrates. At fist sign of decreased appetite, or unwillingness to rise, managers need to be wary. Exercise should be offered and forced if necessary. Some type of high-energy supplement needs to be given to keep the doe from coming ketotic. The carbohydrate (energy) level of the diet needs to be increased. This can be accomplished by adding corn, fresh alfalfa hay, or a soybean supplement to the diet. Increasing the protein does not necessarily increase the energy level. 
The key to treating toxemia is catching the subtle symptoms promptly. Fist concern is to hydrate the doe and get enough sugars to the brain to get if functioning properly. We have been successful treating does with 50% Dextrose solution and Magic. We give 20cc magic two to four times daily at first signs of toxemia. If the doe is completely off feed or becoming lethargic we give 4 ounces 50% dextrose (1/2 dextrose, ½ water) with 3cc B Complex, 500mg thiamin, 50cc Calcium Glutamate (orally) and probiotics.
With this advice in hand, I immediately mixed a batch of Magic (1 part Molasses, 2 parts Corn syrup, 1 part Corn oil)  Since she was so close to her kidding date and the Calcium was recommended also, I also put some of the CalMagCo paste into the mixture that I give the does right after they deliver their kids.

"Magic" mixture


For the probiotics, I started giving her some of the homemade goat milk yogurt that I had in the freezer from last milking season.  She loves the yogurt and licks the cup clean!

 Emily eating yogurt!

With the help of Tonia and her daughters, we got Emily moved to one of the clean kidding pens last night.  Her legs are still very weak so we had to slip a tarp under her and carry her from the goat yard into the barn and around to the kidding area!

Emily in one of the clean kidding pens

Once again ... I am so thankful for Tonia's help and friendship!

Emily with her grain, hay, and water

Emily can now eat and drink without having to compete with any of the other does.  Her appetite is good and she's drinking lots of water.  Even though she can't get up, she is peeing and pooping just fine!  I'll have to clean up after her often to keep her comfortable.

As long as she is in good spirits and eating well, I'm going to keep giving her 50cc orally of the of the Magic mixture 4 times a day and keep an eye on her.  But, if she starts declining in condition, I am prepared to induce her labor with 1cc Dexamethazone. 


The article (and others) say that this is the best way to induce labor if necessary.

If the kids are within 7 days of due date, and the doe does not respond immediately to treatment, giving 1cc per 100 pounds of dexamethasone can induce labor. Labor will begin within 48 hours. Dexamethasone is preferred over hormonal induction of parturition because of its beneficial stimulus to appetite. Also, dexamethasone may also prepare the lungs of marginally immature kids increasing their chances of survival during labor.
I'm keeping a close watch on Emily and will post updates .... I want everyone to be aware of the symptoms of pregnancy toxemia and ketosis just in case!  I'm SO glad I caught it in time with Emily.  I think she's going to be fine.


Leslie said...

I hope Emily gets better. She looks so miserable. I'm sure she's ready for those kids to be born. Hope all goes well!!

taylorgirl6 said...

This was a great post, full of information and great pictures. I'm rooting for all of you, but mostly for Emily!! I can imagine that everyone's anxiety is at full right now, so rest while you can, eat healthy, and lean on friends.

Brenda said...

Thank you both so much. I appreciate the kind word and advice! Emily is still doing good this afternoon. She LOVES the Magic mixture. She's eating grain and hay and drinking lots of clean water. I sat with her for a while and she gave me kisses. =)

Rebecca of Sunny Morning Farm said...

Oh Brenda You are a Goddess!! I am so in awe of you and your fight for these goats! I have had a terrible time here for several years losing a couple goats a year to a quick acting disease. Diarrhea today dead tomorrow. Finally found out last summer what the culprit was... Coccidia! (finally found a good vet)Lost 3 then, one a first freshener doe that I had such high hopes for. Her buckling and another buckling. I am on top of it now I hope and I know what to do as soon as the symptoms arise. It's so heartbreaking to lose one of these animals that you care so much about. Keep us posted! Emily is precious!!

Brenda said...

Rebecca, I'm sorry to hear that you've had a hard time with losing your goats to Coccidia. I lost one to it a couple of years ago. It's not a pleasant thing at all ... I felt so bad for her. You're right ... it is quick killer.

One thing you can do for a goat (or calf) with diarrhea is to give them a drench syringe full of liquid pectin ... the kind you would make jelly out of. It is a natural food product and will not harm them. You can't overdose on it. What it does is jell their poop ... stopping the diarrhea so it is not the cause of death. This allows you to treat the cause of the diarrhea. I give it to them once a day until the diarrhea is gone, but it usually only takes one dose.

Yes ... I love my goats ... and it is truly heartbreaking to lose any of them.

Spring Lake Farm said...

Sending all my good thoughts and prayers your way for Emily!


Linda said...

Poor Emily! Give Emily a hug... she needs one!

I already emailed you, but I had to tell you about our cheese tasting after dinner... my husband was WILD about you cheese. He even liked the pepper one. The blue cheese was awesome and I don't normally like blue cheese... it was all very good. Well, except the cheddar... Jim loved it, but it was a bit tangy for me.


Brenda said...

Thank you, Sandy and Linda. I think Emily is going to be okay now that she's getting enough to eat and drink and the extra carbs in the Magic mixture. I'm hoping labor and delivery goes smoothly with her ... and after the kids are born that she can get up and walk normally again. I'm headed back out to the barn to check on her.

from our front porch... said...

Thank you for coming by and leaving sweet comments :)
Isn't it scary when our animal children cannot tell us what is going on and how they feel?!
I will be keeping tabs on you and Emily! Blessings for a healthy, safe delivery!
xo, misha

H Diamond Farms said...

Good save, and thanks for the info! Definitely something to keep a watch out for right now. GOod luck with her, and praying for a safe delivery!

Feral Female said...

I hope she pulls through for you Brenda. Quick save on your part! And lots of good information for all who are now coming into kidding season.=)

Dalyn (AKA The Queen of Quite Alot) said...

so sorry about that...I'll be watching for updates. Thank you for posting all about it and educating the rest of us. We had this happen once, and my husband pulled her through.

Brenda said...

My Thanks to you all for your good thoughts and prayers.

Emily is doing fine this morning - except for not geting up - she's eating and drinking well ... as well as emilninating well! I had to roll her from side to side to clean the wet poopy bedding out from under her back end and replace it with clean dry bedding. She really seemed to appreciate that.

As I sat with her for a little while this morning... I could see and feel the babies moving along her sides! I'm very glad they're okay too!

Deborah said...

Glad to read that Emily is doing better. Being new to the goat world, I am trying not to panic when one of mine starts something new. Thanks for sharing the information and details about toxemia. One question though, do you have to refrigerate the Magic? How long will a mixture keep before loosing it's punch?

Brenda said...

Deborah, I haven't refrigerated the Magic, but I'm using it pretty quickly and it is out in the cool barn. I don't think any of the ingredients in the mixture would need refrigeration though. I found that if I use a wire whisk to mix it when I make it ... that it stays mixed up good too. But, I give it a good stir each time I get some out of it just to be sure it's mixed good.

What you might consider is to keep the ingredients on hand and only mix the amount that you'll use over the course of a few days. That way you will know it's fresh.

Farmer Bradley said...

Gosh- I so wish I had read this article earlier. I have a severly ketotic doe that was one of our first herd does. 99.9% sure that we are going to lose her simply because I didn't recognize the warning signs... Very sad day on our farm. The take away from this article for me is to watch for the subtle signs late in pregnancy. It can be managed if diagnosed early!!! :(