Chronic Wasting in Superb Milking Doe

Discussion in 'Health & Wellness' started by kornhypknotic, Aug 4, 2010.

  1. kornhypknotic

    kornhypknotic New Member

    273
    May 14, 2009
    Waco, TX
    Ok, long story I'll try to condense (apparently I will be wholly unsuccessful, lol):

    Phoebe is a ~5yr old Saanen doe. 1.5 years ago she had a false pregnancy that we treated with lutalyse. After she passed the fluid in her uterus she came into milk and we continued to milk her non-stop for 2 years. She was an outstanding milker and maintained what I thought to be great body condition except for one strange anomaly. In this time she became so bloated in her abdomen that some people thought she might be pregnant. Her belly and flank area was massive (3ft across at one point) and remained so until this past May. The rest of her body appeared normal and her appetite, attitude, and production were fantastic!

    Phoebe was bred, kidded twins (1 :kidblue: & 1 :kidred: ). and came back into milk in March of this year. Her production was very good at first, and then in May her production dropped to nothing in almost 2 weeks. I was no longer working at the farm, but the new intern called me to take a look at Phoebe. She had no lymph node swellings, no fever, her inappetance was only for grain and she browsed very well out in the pasture, her abdomen was still very bloated, but that was normal for Phoebe. The only truly alarming symptoms she possessed were her rapid drop in milk production and a moderate decrease in rumen noises I noted upon auscultation (my new favorite vocab word . . . it means listening :p ).

    Today I was called again to draw blood from Phoebe in order to run more tests. She is no better . . . in fact, she is tremendously worse. She has wasted away to skin and bones. Out of a body condition score of 0-5 (0 being death's door emaciated and 5 being obese) I would score her at 1. Her hair coat is terrible, she is covered in sucking lice, her eyes are sunken, and she displays moderate dehydration and weakness. I palpated her lymph nodes again and noticed no anomalies except very mild swelling in the right pre-scapular lymph node. She no apparent fever (her body temperature was 104.8F while the temperature outside was 106F :help: . . . they will take a more accurate temp in the morning when it's cooler outside). I listened to her lungs and they sounded clear, but her breathing was fast and shallow. She had absolutely no gut sounds whatsoever. She did burp 3-5 times as I palpated her stomach, but showed limited discomfort as I did so. Her abdomen was much smaller than what I consider normal for her. However, it was as tight as a snare drum, almost as if she were pregnant or very full (there is no possible chance of pregnancy at this point). Phoebe refused all food offered to her, she weakly licked a handful of free-choice minerals once, and she drank a moderate amount of water from a bucket offered to her. Her gums were somewhat pale, but not alarmingly at this point (probably from the lice :shrug: ).

    The treatments she has been given in the past have been completely unsuccessful. They have been: Vit. B complex, pro biotics, iron injections, deworming, etc. I tested her for parasites in May and found few barber pole-type ova, strongyloides sp., and some coccidia. None of these parasites were present in numbers that should cause any clinical symptoms in a healthy adult goat. They have seen a vet several times who has tried to figure out what is going on with her but has been unsuccessful so far.

    I will post the results of the blood work on Thursday. Does anyone see any red flags that this could be anything in particular? Things look pretty grim for poor Phoebe, but they want to exhaust every possible option before giving up. :tears:
     
  2. KW Farms

    KW Farms Moderator Supporting Member

    Jun 21, 2008
    Wapato, WA
    Johnnes Disease? I think that is a wasting disease. I would send blood work into WADDL. Sounds like you are already taking care of the blood work though. I hope that's not what it is, but if she's gotten all that done with her and still nothing I am stumped.
     

  3. RunAround

    RunAround New Member

    Feb 17, 2008
    Massachusetts
    Has she pooed at all? Rumen impaction? Recent fecal float?
     
  4. bheila

    bheila New Member

    644
    Jan 9, 2009
    Kent, Wa
    It really does sound like Johne's....I hope not though.
     
  5. toth boer goats

    toth boer goats Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2008
    Corning California
    I am praying for your doe....hoping you get an answer really soon.....and that she gets well... :( :hug:
     
  6. kornhypknotic

    kornhypknotic New Member

    273
    May 14, 2009
    Waco, TX
    I thought about Johne's Disease, but it seems like the only symptom consistent with her and that disease is the wasting (from what sources I could find). She's never had severe diarrhea in conjunction with her anorexia . . . and from what I hear, most goats with Johne's disease don't lose their appetites until they are close to the end. She's had inappetance from day 1. :shrug: It's definitely possible. I think Johne's is diagnosed by fecal culture, right?

    Isn't Johne's disease super contagious? None of the others are showing any symptoms at all and she has been separated from them for only a few weeks out of this nearly 4 month ordeal.

    Yes, she does continue to pass feces (dry pellets) in small amounts. At this point she only eats a mouth-full or two of grain a day so the small amount of feces passed didn't raise too much of a red flag with me. I thought maybe rumen impaction, but could it have come on so gradually?

    Personally . . . my gut tells me this is some form of cancer. :tears: But we will see. I'm going to run her blood work first thing tomorrow morning. I'll post the results in sciencey terms as well as english, lol

    Thanks toth boer goats :hug: . . . prayer and TLC seems to be the only things keeping her around at this point.
     
  7. toth boer goats

    toth boer goats Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2008
    Corning California
    you are very welcome.... :hug: :pray:
     
  8. comingsummers

    comingsummers New Member

    335
    May 6, 2010
    Northern New Mexico
    I hope you are able to figure out what is up with her soon and get her fixed up. It's always so hard when an animal you care about is suffering. I'll keep my fingers crossed for her!
     
  9. cmjust0

    cmjust0 New Member

    237
    Oct 8, 2009
    Rule out Johne's first.. Scour isn't really a diagnostic symptom of Johne's in goats anyway, so the lack of scour doesn't mean much..

    If you rule out Johne's.......................here's what I'm thinking.

    Kids with worm problems -- barberpole problems, most specifically -- often get a 'potbellied' appearance, and their abdomens are usually very tight, just as you describe Phoebe's. Now, I don't know this to be definitively true, but I always took the potbelly to be a result of gut inflammation from the worms...gastritis, basically. Worms are, afterall, well known to prompt a TH1/cellular immune response in goats.. It's an assumption, of course, but it makes good sense to me, and there's little else to explain the potbellied appearance that often comes with worminess.. Holds up to the old "occam's razor" test, I think..

    Now, I'm not saying Phoebe has a worm problem per se, but I'd at least consider the possibility that the tightness may be indicative of some sort of gastritis....an inflammation of the GI tract.

    The fact that she's not anorexic, but has an inappetance for grain kinda makes me believe she's perhaps made a psychological connection between the grain and something unpleasant....pain, most likely. They're certainly not dumb when it comes to stuff like that.. In a world full of poisonous plants, making those kinds of associations is actually a survival skill. So, she may have simply realized that everytime she eats a big bunch of grain, she ends up with an upset stomach..

    Now.. Having said all that, I also recently heard of a goat dying of "acute rumenitis".. On necropsy, the goat was also discovered to have had a belly full of straight corn. The theory is that the corn led to acidosis, which led to rumenitis, which theoretically led to death.

    Anyhow, trying to put all these pieces together in my head looks a little something like....she's gotten LOTS of grain over the course of a few years to keep her milking well...grain overload often leads to acidosis...acidosis hurts...the goat now avoids grain, but still browses...acidosis can lead to rumenitis...possibly gastritis, I would think...gastritis seems to lead to a drum-tight potbelly......goat's abdomen is tight...acidosis also scars the GI, which leads to hard-keepers...goat's losing condition and looks poor...

    You can see where I'm going with this...my shot in the dark would be chronic, but subacute acidosis from several years of being grained heavily on a daily basis.

    Normally, for any kind of non-infectious inflammation, my first recommendation would be banamine with a round of dexamethasone. However, if I'm right, this goat may actually have gastric ulcers and all kinds of other badness going on. And, if so, banamine + dex could be REALLY BAD.. Dex alone might even be bad, as it's sometimes indicated as a cause of ulcers and has been shown to slow the healing of ulcers..

    There is apparently such a thing as a "non-ulceragenic dose" of corticosteroids like dexamethasone, but I would have no idea what that dosage might be in a goat -- especially one which may already be suffering gastric problems.

    There's also a newer NSAID for veterinary use called ketoprofen which works much the same as banamine (pain reliever, anti-inflammatory, fever reducer, etc), but apparently has less gastric side effects than banamine. I've used it -- A LOT OF IT -- in a goat before, with no ill effect to the GI. Had I given as much banamine as I gave ketofen -- especially considering I was also giving dex -- I've little doubt he would have had a hole in him big enough to drive a truck through. But, he didn't..

    Then again, that particular goat didn't start out with gastric problems, so NSAIDS + Dex probably still isn't a great recommendation.

    My vet did mention the possibility of giving this particular goat injectable famotidine -- aka, Pepcid A/C -- just in case my goat did start having GI issues. He said they use injectable famotidine sometimes in dogs who need simultaneous NSAIDs and corticosteroids.. Unfortunately, but we didn't know how famotidine would affect a goat, so we held off.. As such, unfortunately, I *still* don't know how famotidine would affect a goat.

    And, again...this is all just a shot in the dark. It makes sense to me, but...well...I'm not a vet, and I've never so much as seen a picture of this goat -- let alone having ever laid hands on it.

    If nothing else, I'd personally be content to dry her off, withhold grain, and leave out free-choice baking soda and good alfalfa hay at the very least.

    Has a vet been involved yet? If not...it's definitely time for that. I'd be curious to see what someone qualified thinks of my theory anyway. :laugh:

    Good luck with her...keep us posted.
     
  10. sweetgoats

    sweetgoats Moderator

    Oct 18, 2007
    Peyton CO.
    I really hate to say it but it does sound so much like Johnes.

    I have a fried that has been dealing with this. It has been three years now. She finally turned all her goats over to CSU Vet school to see if maybe just maybe they will live long enough to get a treatment or vaccine for it.

    She started out with a doe just like you said. Her ate and ate like crazy, ate grain and all. Finally had the vet out and drew blood. YEP that is what it was. They were put under quarantine and the only way they could leave her property was if they went straight to the butcher.

    She went I believe almost 6 months before the next came down with it. Finally after putting so many down that came positive that is why she turned the herd to the vet school.

    Get a blood sample to the vet and hope that is NOT it.
     
  11. kornhypknotic

    kornhypknotic New Member

    273
    May 14, 2009
    Waco, TX
    Ok, the blood test results were frustratingly inconclusive. :hair:

    All her values were normal except for 2.

    Her GGT (Gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase) and her CK (Creatine Kinase) values were extremely elevated! All other values were within normal limits. For those of you who are interested these other values included CBC, PCV, RBC, WBC, PLT, ALB, ALP, AST, CA++, TP, GLOB, BUN, PHOS, MG, HEM, LIP, ICT, RETIC, and I did a red blood cell morphology screen, manual white blood cell differential, and platelet count which were also normal.

    In my research I found that cases with elevated GGT values in ruminants often represent some liver or bile duct obstruction such as abscesses in the liver, liver fluke infestation, or neoplasia (cancer of the liver). CK are kidney values and are often elevated due to muscle metabolism caused by severe prolonged anorexia, which Phoebe obviously has. Her other liver values and both kidney values were normal and not indicative of liver or kidney failure.

    The vet's only recommendation was that she be tested for CAE and CL. He said that classic Johne's Disease presents with acute watery diarrhea and thought that probably was not the cause of her wasting. CAE or CL is not what this case looks like to me and I told the people who own her that. Their vet told them that it would be a process of elimination. After CAE and CL are eliminated, if Phoebe is still alive and if they are still willing and able to spend money on her, then they can test for other things. :GAAH: I faxed him the results of the blood work that I ran . . . unfortunately I doubt that will give him any more information than he already knows.

    I suggested that they keep treating her with propylene glycol supplements to counteract her muscle digestion, keep her on probiotics, and give her B-complex injections. Hopefully a little extra sugar along with some B12 and other B vitamins will perk her up and keep her a little more comfortable. What worries me the most is when I saw her this past time I heard absolutely no gut sounds and I fear that her rumen has shut down for good. I suggested probios in hopes of starting her appetite back up a little. At least get her more comfortable. I also offered the services of my school, if they lose all hope of Phoebe's recovery, to do a free euthanasia and necropsy in hopes of determining the true cause of her suffering.

    As I said before, my gut feeling tells me this is some form of cancer or horrible condition isolated to Phoebe herself. Poor Phoebe is suffering a great deal both physically and mentally. She wasn't herself at all when I saw her last week. Normally she was extremely social and always wants to be the first to greet people. Last week she didn't want to be touched at all let alone spend any time with people. It was obvious that she is in extreme pain :tears:. I hope she can find peace soon . . . one way or the other. :pray: :angelgoat:
     
  12. myfainters

    myfainters New Member

    Oct 29, 2009
    Lancaster, CA
    Johnes in goats does not present itself with diarrhea... your vet is thinking of cattle.
     
  13. kornhypknotic

    kornhypknotic New Member

    273
    May 14, 2009
    Waco, TX
    Thanks all for your responses!!! :hug: Just to go over a few things that were asked or mentioned.

    Phoebe initially presented with inappetance for grain only, but now (4 months later) she is extremely anorexic and hardly eats at all. When this whole thing started I believed that she may have developed a psychological connection with the grain and a minor bloat incident she had in the spring. They witheld her grain for a short time and dried her up. When they reintroduced the grain she still refused it and slowly refused to eat even her browse and hay. Now she eats just a mouthful of food or two every day and she is anorexic to the point where you can almost see every bone in her body. :tears: On a body condition scoring system of 0 to 10 (0 being skinny to the point of death and 10 being morbidly obese) i would score her at 1.

    I agree with rumen acidosis or gastritis as possibly being the initial cause of her inappetance. . . however goats that are being milked on this farm get only 2 cups of grain per day. The rest of their diet comes from browsing. This leads me to think that her gastritis or acidosis could be a symptom rather than the underlying cause of her anorexia.

    I guess the only problem with using injectable drugs is that they have to be FDA approved for food animal use with reasonable milk withdrawal times. Famotidine works wonders on pets, but if it's not approved for food animal then it's of no use to this farm, I'm afraid :( . Same with Ketoprofen. I know that banamine has a 2 week withdrawal time on meat animals, but I had to get special dispensation for use in our dairy animals since it has not strictly been tested on goats. So much red tape! :angry:

    :sigh: omg that's terrifying . . . . . . . .

    She does defecate, but small amounts since she takes in only a mouthfull or two of food a day. Never any diarrhea. Recent fecals have all shown very small amounts of barber pole worm, coccidia, and strongyloides. Nothing to the extent that would worry anyone and she shows no signs of ventral edema (bottle jaw), icterus, or anemia. And actually her most recent fecal showed no ova at all. She has been dewormed using many products when this whole issue started.

    I was considering rumen impaction and possibly Hardware Disease as the cause of all her suffering too. Definitely possible, but I would have expected to see more septicemia and white blood cells in her blood work. Her heart sounded normal to me too, so I ruled out hardware disease for now . . . :shrug:

    I'm not so sure that I trust this vet anyway . . . he's had some pretty poor advise for me in the past . . . guess we have to wait and see. :(
     
  14. kornhypknotic

    kornhypknotic New Member

    273
    May 14, 2009
    Waco, TX
    I was afraid of that . . . can't say I trust this vet too much after working with him for a year or so on the same goats. Not as though there's much choice . . . no other vets in the area deal with goats at all. If the CAE and CL test comes back negative (which I think it probably will) then I will recommend that they test for Johne's Disease. :sigh: I can't promise that they will though. It's a lot of money they don't have
     
  15. bheila

    bheila New Member

    644
    Jan 9, 2009
    Kent, Wa
    I personally wouldn't waste my time with CAE/CL testing. I had a doe test positive for johne's last year. She showed no signs of being sick, testing is just one of the things I do when I get new goats. At the last second I couldn't let my husband euthanize her until I had at least two tests say she was positive. The first test was by blood and the second was a fecal. The fecal takes about 8 weeks but it was worth it in my opinion. She came back positive on the fecal so we culled her.
     
  16. keren

    keren owned by goats

    Oct 26, 2008
    Australia
    Get this goat tested for CAE and Johnes. I've seen cases EXACTLY like this that were CAE +ve. We dont understand this disease fully and there are many ways that it manifests itself other than the classical 'big knees' and 'hard udder'

    Scours is very very rare in Johnes infected small ruminants (sheep and goats). Most Johnes +ve small ruminants will show NO signs whatsoever. Get the test done. Scouring is only a clinical sign in cattle affected by BJD. In any case where an animal is failing to thrive, or is actively wasting, a JD test should be done.

    Good luck and keep us posted.
     
  17. myfainters

    myfainters New Member

    Oct 29, 2009
    Lancaster, CA
    You know... I still don't understand why dairy's aren't REQUIRED to test for Johnes, the disease is zoonotic most easily transferred through milk or contact with feces. People can get it.... Crohn's disease.... and some other diseases of the intestinal tract have all been linked to Johnes exposure. :shocked: Why it isn't law to make sure these animals are disease free in dairys providing milk for human consumption is beyond me. :(
     
  18. kornhypknotic

    kornhypknotic New Member

    273
    May 14, 2009
    Waco, TX
    I just got an email from another friend who raises goats and he said that it sounds like Johne's too. :(

    So . . . I did a little more reading (more on the cause of JD rather than the symptoms). I read that Johne's Disease is caused by a Mycobacterium species . . . and my heart immediately sank. I remembered that at least 2 of our does last year died from a virulent incurable form of mastitis diagnosed by milk culture to be "acid-fast" positive. The "acid-fast" test looks for all species of Mycobacterium. Both of the goats that tested "acid-fast" positive were culled due to their incurable infection.

    The species of Mycobacterium was not identified so it wasn't necessarily the same species that causes Johne's Disease . . . but it's definitely enough for me to recommend testing. The test looks cheap enough . . . hopefully they will decide to do it. I pray to God that's not what's causing this! :tear:
     
  19. keren

    keren owned by goats

    Oct 26, 2008
    Australia
    sorry, but while there is some suspicion that Johnes may be linked to Crohns in humans, there is no substantial scientific evidence to prove this, and Johnes is NOT classified as a zoonotic disease.

    having said that, it is virtually impossible to eradicate. I've been there, done that, worked with a couple infected herds. Its a heartbreaking disease to encounter

    praying for you jess ... hope that its not it ... but if it is, I'd suggest having a whole herd test and if +ve, look into vaccinating maybe. Depop is the main method but I'm thinking the farm wouldnt want to go that way
     
  20. sweetgoats

    sweetgoats Moderator

    Oct 18, 2007
    Peyton CO.