So Sorry for losses.. is this frequent?

Discussion in 'Kidding Koral' started by milk and honey, Dec 18, 2010.

  1. milk and honey

    milk and honey Senior Member

    Oct 30, 2010
    Everett, WA
    I just wanted to say that I'm so very sorry for all of the losses we have read about lately... there just seems to be so many little ones that just dont make it thru the first month or so! I am a newbie, so I am finding it
    sort of disconcerting and downright scary ... since one of my 2 goats is pregnant and due in Feb. I mean, when dogs are pregnant... I just don't expect any pups to die, and they usually don't.... Is the goat mortality rate
    so much higher... or do we just hear about the losses more... or is this just a tough season?
    Anyway, it must be a very difficult thing to go thru... and I admire all of the knowledge and stamina of you 'seasoned' goat owners, and your willingness to share the experience.
  2. toth boer goats

    toth boer goats Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2008
    Corning California
    Thank you milk and honey...that is what we are here for.... :hug:

    We have people from around the world... telling their experiences and losses with there goats..... so they will.. add up and...sometimes... we do have off seasons ...with more loss or illness..... Loss is not ever easy...I know..... As for.. being more does seem... to be a bad year..... for some reason.... :hug: :(

  3. liz

    liz Well-Known Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Shelocta PA
    Losses are few and far between when it comes to kids, sometimes things just aren't quite right with them and not knowing exactly what may be wrong is the hardest part next to losing them. I've had a few losses myself, the first and most devastating to me was losing my Beloved Dolly and her malpositioned twin doelings 3 years ago, knowing what I do now, it would have taken a c- section to get them out and maybe even save my Dolly.

    My Binkey delivered a stillborn buckling this past March, I'm thankful I was able to help her deliver him too because there was no way she could have done it on her own, 2 days later I found his mummified twin in the stall...the doeling had died 2 months prior and was likely the result of a hard hit from my herd queen.
    I think we all pray for text book kiddings and a healthy herd of kids each year, sometimes we still have losses to deal with though and even though we try to do all we can to ensure the health of our does and kids, some things happen without warning.
    The last time I had does bred for warmer weather was when I lost Dolly, she was trying to deliver on the 6th of May...Boots kidded a single a week earlier, In my experience with having kids born here the last 8 years, those born late winter, mid February to early March seem to be hardier and healthier....and my philosophy is that since they are born into the cold, they know what it is and when the next winter hits, they aren't "shocked" by what those winter temps bring. Never had any issues at all with having kids born in frigid February, I hand breed and I know my girls very well so I am able to be present for the births to help if needed and to dry those kids ASAP as well as make sure they get the colostrum needed to be healthy.
  4. firelight27

    firelight27 Hopelessly Addicted

    Apr 24, 2009
    Southern Oregon
    I think that kids born in the cold months have a harder time and you will hear about more losses when you have goats kidding during winter. That is why I personally will not breed a doe to be due before March in my area. Better safe than sorry, IMO. I just think that more viruses and illnesses are going around in the winter time, and there is an increased chance for pneumonia or loss of a proper temperature, etc. Also, having very young kids in extreme heat can lead to issues.

    Beyond that, you will tend to have more birthing problems with goats than puppies. Mostly because a goat is born fully developed, with longer spindly legs that can get tangled up when coming out (in the case of multiples mostly)...while in dogs they come out mostly under-developed squishy balls. So with a very hard birth, you are more likely to lose kids and/or the doe if you can't get the tangled babies out or something tears, etc.

    Generally, you don't have a ton of problems as long as you are properly prepared and supplied with medications, etc. for whatever may happen. It had been my experience and observation that the worst years are the first couple, when people run into things that they haven't seen and don't know how to take care of it in time. When they do get sick, they can go fast and it is easy to miss the early signs.

    I think a good portion of illnesses in goats can be chalked up to nutrion/feeding: Bloat, polio, listeriosis, white muscle disease, poisoning, etc. Also, cleanliness, dampness and warmth: Cocci, foot rot, pneumonia, etc.

    If you have the proper medications handy, you can treat and/or prevent most things. Because vets tend to be a little goat confused, it is worth it to learn all the symptoms of the most typical goat diseases and the treatments.

    If you feed a good, goat specific loose mineral you can avoid most deficiencies. In many areas you will need to give BoSe shots twice a year because a lot of areas tend to be deficient in selenium. I give does one in the fall (and everyone else) and then give pregnant does a shot at 5 and 2 weeks before kidding in the spring. (Everyone else gets a single shot in the spring.) You also need to copper bolus your goats. You can buy a tub of Copasure from Jeffers Livestock. The dosage of the pills will be too high for goats, so you will have to open the capsules, and then measure out the little copper rods inside on a gram scale, at 1 gram per 22 pounds. You have to make sure they don't bite down on the copper as they swallow it. You can mix them with squashed up bananas and put them in a syringe...or you can fold them into a big marshmallow and put that on the back of their tongues. That should be about it for keeping your goats free of deficiencies I believe.

    Polio is also due to a deficiency, in thiamine. It is usually caused by feeding too much grain and too little roughage. Polio and listeriosis are the two most common diseases that are going to have neurological symptoms. They look so similar that you should treat for both at the same time if your goat is circling, star gazing, paralyzed or overly weak or stiff on one side, eyes or body parts are twitching, etc. Therefore, it is always a good idea to have thiamine on hand. You can't over-dose it so it doesn't hurt to give if you misdiagnose. It is dosed by weight, but I'm not sure what the dosage is.

    Listeriosis is caused by a bacteria, so should be treated with antibiotics. It is usually caused by sudden diet change or extreme weather change and can happen in late stages of pregnancy in does. It is generally treat with Procain Penicillin (can get this at a feed store), give it every 6 hours for 3-5 days.

    Poisoning. I lost a goat to poisoning when she got loose and into the neighbor's yard. I had no idea what she poisoned herself on and didn't even know she was poisoned until it was too late. She was scouring like mad, explosive scours but I didn't know it was poison and tried some normal scour treatments. Now I know the symptoms and would treat for poisoning if your goats suddenly start scouring like crazy and haven't had any feed changes. Give them activated charcoal if you suspect poisoning. You can get activated charcoal paste with dosing instructions from Jeffers Livestock. It shouldn't hurt the goat if you are wrong and they weren't poisoned. It will NOT work well against arsenic or mercury. Dunno how your goat would eat those things, but know charcoal isn't gonna help with those.

    Bloat. I have never had a problem with bloat, and it doesn't seem to be a common cause of death. If your goat bloats, you can feed it balls of baking powder, and rub its tummy until it starts belching. Or drench it with mineral oil. If it is really bad you can make a small incision behind its ribs, but I wouldn't do it myself but take it to the vet. I leave baking soda out free choice so my goats have a reduced risk of bloat.

    Oh, also there is Enterotoxemia (C/D)...but as long as you properly vaccinate you shouldn't have a problem with it. The vaccine is NOT 100% effective, so there is still a risk but it does very well towards prevention. Also, C/D tends to follow bloat so it is a great idea to give a shot of C/D anti-toxin if your goat bloats to prevent any potential cases of C/D (EVEN if your goat is vaccinated. The anti-toxin is harmless to the goat.) I also recommend boosters before the lush spring grasses, because that lush grass can easily bring on C/D.

    Scours: Usually brought on by overly lush feed, feed changes, etc. Tends to be seen more often in kids, especially if they are getting too much overly rich milk from their dam's. A lot of scours in goats, babies or adults, can be fixed with diet change. IE, reducing any access to potentially rich feeds (lush pasture, rich alfalfa, etc.) The other common causes of scours is E.Coli and Salmonella. I keep some Scour Halt for pigs handy and it treats for E.Coli. I swore the label said it treated for Salmonella too, but I think I am wrong. I also keep Sulmet handy, which you can get at most feed stores to put in drinking water. I just syringe it a 1cc per 5 pounds the first day, and 1cc per 10 pounds the remaining days and treat 5-7 days. Sulmet is supposed to treat at least one type of Salmonella. It also is a great treatment for Cocci (most often seen in kids, characterized by scours which can sometimes be bloody.) Albon will also treat cocci and salmonella. So basically, if my goats are scouring I will treat with Sulmet for 5 days and then give ScourHalt a couple of days in if the Sulmet isn't improving things.

    You can also treat kids preventatively for cocci. I do this, but there is some debate on whether or not it is a good thing. I just give them a full course of treatment at 3,6, and 9 weeks. If you under-does you will build up a resistance in the cocci, so make sure you does the full five days at the correct weight.

    Pneumonia can be a silent killer, so if the goat seems off, taking its temperature can offer a clue. Usually goats with pneumonia will cough or have nasal discharge, but sometimes they can just seem a little depressed or off feed. If the goat has a fever, it is a good idea to treat it for pneumonia. If it has a fever, it will need to be brought down ASAP, and banamine is the best thing to use. If you give it too often it can cause stomach ulcers, however. If the goat has pnuemonia, even if there is no fever (it has a cough and nasal discharge), then antibiotics should be used. (LA200)

    So I keep these meds on hand:
    Procain Penecillin
    C/D Anti-toxin
    Activated Charcoal Gel
    Thiamine (need to pick some up.)
    Banamine (need to pick some up.)
    Baking Soda

    I'm probably missing stuff..and I am no vet. Just sharing my methods.
  5. firelight27

    firelight27 Hopelessly Addicted

    Apr 24, 2009
    Southern Oregon
    I also will give sick goats Probios to help with their stomachs regardless of the issue at hand.
  6. milk and honey

    milk and honey Senior Member

    Oct 30, 2010
    Everett, WA
    Thanks for all the info. I am currently working on building up my 'supplies' for sick goats, but it will take a little while to be able to get all of it. I am hoping that the grain,alfalfa, minerals, baking soda, BOSS, and herbal wormer and supplements, and a dash of Apple cider vinegar in the water...will be adequate in the meanwhile to keep the girls healthy... (oh, and all the hugs and kisses from me)
  7. toth boer goats

    toth boer goats Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2008
    Corning California
    wow...everyone...has great answers..... and you are very welcome.... :thumb: :hug: