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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I'm curious about something and I'm not sure Google has the answer: is Rh testing a thing in goats?

Just for background, if a human mother's blood is Rh negative but her husband's blood is Rh positive, then her unborn child has a chance of having Rh positive blood as well. If this does occurs (and it is not the mother's first pregnancy) then the mother's immune system is likely to attack the unborn child and kill him. Human couples get tested, and then the woman takes medication to prevent this from happening.

I've never heard this discussed in relation to goats, and I never even considered it until this year - one of my does had a stillborn kid whose body tissues were filled with fluid. The kid's abdomen was dissented, there was squishy fluid under his skin everywhere; he was fully formed, but filled up like a water balloon.

I am now taking embryology, and in humans this condition is called Fetal Hydrops - it is caused by an immune response from the mother, in most severe cases an immune response from an Rh negative mother against an Rh positive fetus.

So, is the buck Rh positive and the doe Rh negative? (Two other kids were born with this one and they are perfectly fine. Maybe they were also Rh negative?) Anyway, just very curious about all this now and thought maybe someone knows about this in goats.
 

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I don't think goats even have different blood types like humans do. If I remember correctly, you can give a goat a blood transfusion from another goat without worrying if they will accept the blood or not.
 

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I had a doe that kid the same thing. My vet told me it was likely that the mother was hit and that broke the kid's inner sack allowing the kid to drown in the amniotic fluid and absorb a lot of it too. Or something else similar happened.
 

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Fetal Hydrops
It's called the same for goats. Some also call it water baby.
As for the RH Neg. blood. That is me. I had to have shots and carry a card with me. I have never thought about it in animals. I see possible Neonatal isoerythrolysis, but not Hydrops. Here is a bit of reading on that..

Ruminant blood types
  • Cattle: There are 11 major blood group systems in cattle, A, B, C, F, J, L, M, R, S, T and Z. The B group has over 60 different antigens, making it difficult to closely match donor and recipient. The J antigen is a lipid that is found in body fluids and is adsorbed onto erythrocytes (therefore, it is not a "true" antigen). Newborn calves lack this antigen, acquiring it in the first 6 months of life. Some animals have only a small amount of J antigen on erythrocytes and none in serum; these so-called "J-negative" animals can develop antibodies against the J-antigen and develop transfusion reactions if transfused with J-positive blood. Neonatal isoerythrolysis is not a naturally occurring phenomenon in cattle. Bouts of NI have occurred secondary to blood-derived vaccines (e.g. against anaplasmosis, babesiosis). The most common antigens that cattle were sensitized to were the A and F systems.
  • Sheep: Seven blood group systems have been identified in sheep (A, B, C, D, M, R and X). Similar to cattle, the B system is highly polymorphic. The R system is similar to the J system in cattle, in that the antigen is soluble. The M-L system is involved in active red cell potassium transport and polymorphisms in this system result in breeds of sheep with varying erythrocyte potassium content. Neonatal isoerythrolysis has been reported in lambs administered bovine colostrum. This is due to the presence of antibodies to sheep erythrocytes in bovine colostrum (called "heterophile" antibodies), which is a common occurrence. They are antibodies produced to common cross-reactive antigens present on the surface of bacteria and protozoa that are identical to epitopes on blood group antigens.
  • Goats: Blood group antigens in goats are similar to those in sheep and the same reagents are used to type both species. Five major systems have been identified in goats; A, B, C, M and J (the latter is also a soluble antigen like in cattle).
  • http://eclinpath.com/hemostasis/transfusion-medicine/blood-types/
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I had a doe that kid the same thing. My vet told me it was likely that the mother was hit and that broke the kid's inner sack allowing the kid to drown in the amniotic fluid and absorb a lot of it too. Or something else similar happened.
That's interesting! On the one hand it sounds reasonable enough, and my doe in particular is pretty low in the herd hierarchy so she could have been pushed around. But, a healthy fetus both breathes and swallows amniotic fluid before birth, and I've never heard (at least in humans) of them drowning in it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Neonatal isoerythrolysis
Thanks happybleats! That does sound very similar, although wikipedia says it begins after birth and the kid I had was completely still born. Neonatal isoerythrolysis, though, appears to be a disorder where the mother has antibodies against her offspring (same as the whole Rh thing) which makes me think what happened to my kid is at least somewhat related.

My medical genetics textbook also mentions fetal hydrops as a symptom of alpha-thalassemia anemia, where all four alpha-globin genes for hemoglobin are deleted, which happens most often in southeast Asian populations. I seriously doubt that can be applied to goats :p , but it makes me wonder how anemia, generally, could be applied to this. Fetal Hydrops from Rh in humans causes anemia as it progresses because it destroys red blood cells. (Anemia is the common factor.)

This particular doe is typically lower on her FAMACHA score, and of the two live kids born one was very small at birth - possibly indicating a lack of nutrients, possibly due to anemia. Both have grown up fine, but also grown slower than the other kids on the farm. I blamed their mom for that (I don't think she is feeding them as much milk at each feeding as most goats do) but they want nothing to do with a bottle and are perfectly healthy.
 
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