Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Goat Kidding - Problems

Possible problem signs:
  • doe repeatedly starts pushing hard but gets up and stops labor, then lies down and starts again
  • doe repeatedly stand up and then lies down and arches her back and elevates her rear end as though trying to line up the babies
  • discharge is rusty red and beginning to look septic
  • parts of a baby are visible but doe is unable to deliver in spite of straining very hard
  • doe is in hard grinding labor for more than 30 -45 minutes with no results

To determine the problem:
  • Place the doe in a stall or stanchion or have a helper restrain her
  • Wash the does vulva with mild soap and water
  • Scrub your hands and arms and fingernails well with betadine scrub
  • Place gloves on if you wish
  • Squeeze a generous portion of lube on your fingers
  • Gently enter the vagina
  • Feel and identify the parts of the kid that are in the birth canal, don't do anything until you're sure that the limbs being felt all belong to the same kid.
  • Determine the problem and the corrective action necessary to rectify

Abnormal presentations.
  • Head first with one foreleg: reach in and find the other leg and carefully pull it forward so the head is resting on both legs.
  • Head first with no legs: Similar to the previous case, but you will probably have to reach in and push the kids head back to make room for the legs. Slide your hand along the head and neck until you find the shoulders, then locate the feet and gently bring them forward with the head resting on the legs.
  • Breach position with hocks first: reach in and find the feet and carefully pull them forward so both rear feet are together and extended through the vulva.
  • Breach position with rump and tail: reach in and push the kids rump back to make room for the legs, slide your hand along the rump until you find the legs, then locate the feet and carefully bring them forward so both rear feet are together and extended through the vulva.
  • Front feet first with head upside down: rotate the entire kid so that the kid's back is upward toward the does back. Sometimes it is hard to turn the kid around if the feet and/or head are already visible. Try to turn the kid as much as possible even if it is only a bit. Be prepared to help pull gently.
  • Feet first with head thrown back: reach in and follow along the body and then along the neck until you locate the head. If the kid is weak the head may keep flopping back every time you withdraw your hand to pull on the legs. In this case you will need your OB puller or small chain. Make a noose in the end of the chain or use the OB pullers noose. spread the noose open with your hand and take it into the vagina. Slip it over the kids head or jaw. Position the head on the front legs and snug up the loop. Keep tension on the puller with your free hand and then withdraw your hand and grasp the feet. Pull on the feet and the loop at the same time and the kid should deliver just fine. Use plenty of lube as this is time consuming and things start to dry out. The kid may be weak and the doe tired.
  • Two heads with feet: match up the head and feet of the same goat. Usually one kid's head will be more advanced than the other so push the other back and feel along the neck to the chest and down each leg until you can locate the feet of the kid whose head is more advanced. You may have to push the other kid kid back quite a ways to make room to work. Then carefully bring the feet forward until the head is resting on the legs. The kid should deliver easily now.
  • Mismatched head and feet: push the farther back kid back into the doe and slide your hand along the advanced head and neck to the chest and then down each leg until you locate the feet. Then carefully bring the feet forward until the head is resting on the legs. The kid should deliver easily now. The second kid will normally straighten itself out.
  • No presentation, necessary to determine if the doe is sufficiently dilated and the cervix is open. The os, (opening to the cervix) should be dilated at least three fingers for normal birth. If not dilated then it may be too early. Wait a while and check the doe again. If the cervix is open and all you feel is a side or ribs the kid may be dead, but there could be live kids behind it: Push the kid back until you can turn it so that it is presented front feet/head first, or hind feet first Use plenty of lube. You will have to pull the kid since the doe will probably not push very hard.

Possible complications.
  • infection; if the birth process was complicated and invasive or took a prolonged amount of time the doe may need antibiotics
  • swelling, if excessive may need a painkiller
  • an exceptionally traumatic delivery may require several days of treatment including intrauterine infusion. May need to call your veterinarian

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Goat Kidding - Post Birth Kid Care

Supplies for caring for kid after:

  • Nipples and bottle and/or multi-kid feeder
  • Milk replacer
  • Bottle brush
  • Kid coats or blankets if needed
  • Dimethox - treating coccidiosis in kids
  • Dog house or kid hut
  • Mo'milk mix - may aid in improving lactaction of the doe

Normal things that happen after the birth:

  • The bottoms of the baby's hooves will "shed" their protective white coating right after birth.
  • The kid may poop and pee right after birth, even before he has his first meal.
  • The kid's first few poops will be soft sticky "black tar".
  • The kid will poop "yellow mustard poops" for at least a week after birth until he begins to eat solid food.
  • Some mothers are better than other at cleaning their babies. You may need to clean the kids butts off on occasion. Make sure no hardened poop plugs up their anus.
  • Sometimes it takes a couple days for the babies legs to straighten out completely and/or work properly if this seems to be the case you may want to give them a Selenium Supplement
  • There is usually one afterbirth per kid, but sometimes there is only one per kidding even if there are two kids. If you don't find the afterbirth, the mother probably ate it. Watch the doe for any signs of her not feeling well in case the afterbirth was retained.
  • Starting after the kidding, the mother will begin to "leak" blood and birthing products for about a couple of weeks.


Care of the kid.
  1. Clear the newborn kid's nose and mouth of any fluid . Then dry it off if the mother is not doing so. This is a critical bonding time for them if you are leaving the kids with the doe. If the kid seems weak or chilled use a blow dryer or rub vigorously with a dry towel. Place the baby in a box of clean straw and put a heat lamp on it until it is dry if seperating. Kids should be trying to stand up within 10-15 minutes.
  2. Dip the naval with 7% strong iodine. Use a little cup or film canister and keep it off your hands. It will dry them out. Repeat twice within the first hour to make sure the entire umbilical area is covered. If the umbilical cord is bleeding, tie it off with dental floss or navel clamp about 1 and 1/2 inches from the body. If the umbilical cord is too long, tear it off about 1 and 1/2 inches long. Use your fingers to tear it. Do Not Cut with scissors as it tends to bleed more. Redip with strong iodine.
  3. The newborn kid will need colostrum in the first 4 hours. Keep coaxing the newborn to nurse. They may do better if it is quiet and there are no distractions. Let the baby have all the colostrum it will drink. If it refuses or drinks very little, wait 1/2 hour or so and try again. In subsequent feedings continue to feed colostrum until the baby has consumed as much as it can, and then switch to regular milk. Newborn kids should be fed 4 times a day for the first couple of days and then you can cut back to 3 times a day until they are consuming a least a pint at a feeding. Then you can cut them down to 2 times a day if you need to, more feedings is still better on the kids digestive tract.

    Giving new babies their first bottle(s) is sometimes a trial. Just be patient and keep, trying until you get the baby to nurse. Most of them will start sucking right away but you may have to pry their mouth open to get the nipple in. Just remember, the baby is programmed to reach up to nurse its mother so you need to elevate the bottle and make the baby reach for it. Keep some tension on the nipple by pulling the bottle slightly away from the kid. Pulling away helps straighten the neck and allows the milk to flow into the proper area of the stomach. Do not push the nipple into the baby's mouth.

    After the babies are on regular milk, give them one to two pints of warm milk in the morning and one to two pints of warm milk in the evening. It is best to feed them at about the same time every day. DO NOT OVER FEED! The babies are greedy little pigs and will eagerly drink somebody else's bottle, so keep track of who has been fed. Too much milk will make them scour. Just be sure to keep everything clean. 16oz pop bottles work fine and are cheap. Pritchard nipples seem to work well for younger kids and then they can be graduated to another type of nipple as they get bigger.

  4. It may be important depending on your area to establish a regular prevention program to control coccidiosis in the baby kids.

  5. The babies acquire immunity to most diseases from their mother in utero and from the colostrum and are protected for the first 30 days their life. After that they need their own vaccinations to remain protected. Assuming the doe received the requisite vaccinations while pregnant the babies will need vaccinations/shots at 30 days. For vaccinations required please see here.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Goat Kidding - Preperation

Before Kidding (2-3 days) :
  • Clip around the goats udder, tail and anus, down the back legs to the hocks with a number 10 blade. You may also use a number 40 on the udder.
  • Prepare Kidding Pen
  • Trim your nails
Supplies to have on hand for kidding:
  • Phone Number of an experienced helper - we recommend the phone number of a vet but realize that isn't always possible
  • Garbage bag for disposing of afterbirth and any paper items
  • Flashlight - can shine through bubble if needed to ensure kid in correct position, also depending on the doe, may make the doe less anxious than a light.
  • Clean towels, burlap sacks, paper towels, puppy pads, or other item for drying kid off
  • Bucket for warm water
  • Betadine or Provodone scrub
  • Quiet Hairdryer - not Necessary but can jump start weaker kids
  • 7% (if possible) iodine and small cup - for dipping the umbilical cord
  • OB loop or small chain
  • Newspaper - may be handy for cleaning area if spread before hand
  • Scissors
  • Molasses or dark Karo - mix with wrm water to prevent ketosis after kidding
  • Goat Serum concentrate - not necessary unless the kid is born immuno-compromised or does not receive good colostrum but a good item to have on hand
  • Needles and syringes for administering serum
  • A Save-a-kid syringe - This is a large syringe and a feeding tube for administering milk into the stomach of a weak kid
  • Colostrum replacer - Keep on hand to administer to a kid that is not receiving enough colostrum or no colostrum
  • Kid Kare concentrate - vitamin, protein supplement
  • Nutri-drench or probious Gel - supplemental bacteria and nutrition
  • Navel cord clamps - not required but may be nice (dental floss may also be used)
  • Long disposable Gloves and Lube - Hopefully you will not need these but have on hand anyways
  • Kid I.D. bands - may be wanted
  • Udder wash - cleaning up doe if needed, prewash vaginal area if doe will allow
Signs of pending Kidding:

Ligaments dissapear - Feel the ligaments right on either side of the tail head. They should feel like two pencils, one on either side of the tail. If they dissapear then kidding is likely to happen in the next 24 hours. They have been known to be hard to find and appear gone and then reappear.

The doe's tail head may be noticeably raised. If you can almost put your fingers all the way around the spine in front of the tail head and her spine appears to be more level towards the butt then kidding may happen sometime within the next 24 hours.Her vulva may get "flabby"

"Far away" look in the doe's eyes. Space case, her eyes are wide. The whites of eye may get slightly bloodshot.She may continually look behind her.

Pawing at the ground (making a nest). They may start to do this a long time before kidding so this is not as reliable of a sign. Keep checking on her and looking for the other signs

Shifting positions often, getting up and then laying down.

Long string of mucous may be hanging from the doe's vagina. If it is amber colored, not clear or opaque white, it is part of the amniotic fluid and kidding should happen very soon.

The doe's udder in full and tight. This is also called bagging up, it is also an unreliable sign because not all does will "bag up" before they kid. The udder may also become shiny or glossy

The doe wants to be alone The doe may go off to be alone to have a kid, keep a close eye on her so that she doesn't wander to a bad location for kidding, it is probably a good idea to put her in the kidding stall at this point

The doe may becomes more vocal. If a normally quiet doe suddenly starts making a big fuss put her in the kidding stall.

The doe may do a lot of stretching and/or yawning. This can be done to help arrange the kids in the correct positions for labor

The doe may become more affectionate toward you. Or she may start acting aggresive, every doe is different and will have her own signs

A doe doing anything abnormal around her due date should result in her being watched more carefully.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Freckles and her bad neighbors

Working in the vet clinic one day we all were shocked when this couple brought in a dog that they'd found wandering around loose. The animal had no hair and was covered in scabs. Upon inspection the animal was found to be female and very malnourished and infected with Sarcoptic mange.

This isn't "Freckles" but unfortunately this is what she looked like when we first saw her. Scabies dog

The Dr.s recommendation was turpentine dips, one every week until better. The people who found her didn't want another dog but they didn't want to leave her like that so they took her in and agreed to pay for the treatment of the dog (who was extremely shy and cowardly)until she was better and then she would be placed up for adoption. They named the dog, Freckles.

So the treatment began, every week Freckles had to be loaded into the car, drove to the clinic, stay for a few hours while she was bathed and dipped and placed in a kennel to dry (can't use blow dryers with turpentine dips), then drug out to the car for the ride home. This went on for months. Eventually Freckles got to the point where she didn't have to be dragged, then soon she walked instead of slinked, after a few months she even wagged her tail and looked delighted when patted. With the change in attitude can a change in her body. She had turpentine dips for about 6 months. At the end of the 6 months the only scabs that remained were a few small ones on her head. All her fur was growing back nicely too. She looked like a new dog. It was decided by the new "owners" that after spending hundreds of their own money to fix this dog that she would be going up for adoption the following week.

The day after Freckles left the hospital with the adoption pending declaration the owners rushed in. They were carrying a limp Freckles. The top of her scalp was sliced open and she was unconscious. The story was that she had been found on the other side of a hole under the fence laying in the neighbors yard. We rushed her into the treatment area and gave her what treatment we could, which included several stitches to the top part of her head and supportive therapy among other things. The "owners" left that night not knowing if she'd survive.

Freckles had come around by morning but was showing slight signs of brain damage. She was disoriented, couldn't see or walk straight, couldn't stand without support, couldn't even hardly eat or drink. The "owners" were back that day with more of what had happened. The neighbor said that he had seen his horse kick Freckles while she was chasing it. Of course the "owners" were very upset, the neighbor had openly admitted to seeing her get "kicked" so why had he just left her lie there? How had a horse's hoof sliced Freckles head open so cleanly?? They left that day with more questions than answers and it was still not sure that Freckles would survive. She was having to be force fed every meal and have regular doses of IV fluids and meds.

We treated Freckles for several days and the "owners" were back every day still searching for answers and still finding none. It finally got to a point where we were able to tell them that she would survive but we weren't sure what kind of dog she would be now and what she would be able to do. Would she ever run again? She was starting to be able to stagger out to the bathroom on her own. Would she ever gulp down her food and look greedily for more?? She was licking some water. This treatment went on for weeks and hundreds more were spent.

Then, at last, it was decided that Freckles was ready to leave the hospital, she had treatments to do at home still but intense therapy was no longer necessary she would fully recover and be a normal dog again. The day before Freckles was discharged from the hospital the owners came into the clinic to visit, as they always did. They finally had a few answers, and new questions. The neighbor, after having a police call threatened, admitted that his horse hadn't kicked Freckles. The neighbor said that she had been chasing his chickens happily around the yard and he had gone out with a shovel and hit her on the head. That horrifying revelation led to more questions, why hadn't he simply taken her home, she hadn't hurt anything? Freckles was still a timid dog, why hadn't he yelled at her, she would have lit for home? Why was she standing close enough to be hit, did he call her over? We had noticed a regression in her behavior and attitude at the hospital but had assumed that it was because of the injury, not because of what lead up to the injury.

The story does have a good ending though, although a bit sad. The owners had decided that this was the final straw, Freckles was theirs for good and had her home. They also decided that they couldn't live next to someone like their neighbor and were searching for a new location to live. Freckles went home the next day to a permanent home with people that loved her but not a permanent location. She would never walk through our clinic doors again.

Copper in sheep and goats


Copper deficiency and Toxicity in goats

copper supplement capsules, not sure how good these are since the site says for sheep as well

copper supplements and info

Goat and sheep housed together

I found one site that suggested placing a mineral feeder with copper in it higher up on a wall where sheep can't get to it.


Copper toxicity in Sheep

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

How to draw your own blood

First of all you will need an appropriate blood tube or clot tube for the test you will be performing or taking the blood in for (will cover blood tubes and tests more extensively another post). Some tests will need the blood seperated and should not be drawn without a vet unless you have a centrifuge to seperate at the appropriate time, contact vet or lab to ensure that whole, non-seperated, blood may be sent) You will also need a needle (20-22 ga. X 1") or vacutainer (large amounts of blood) and sterile syringe (Size depends on amount needed, most only need 3 cc, call vet or lab and ask amount when in doubt). You may also need a clipper for shaving the hair off close if not experienced (I would advise having someone show you in person how to do this at least once). You should have an alcohol swab (or chlorahexidine, or Iodine) and cotton balls as well. You should also have a black pen available and should write the animal's ID on the blood tube as soon as possible, especially when doing more than one animal. Most often at least two people are needed for blood draws, one for restraint and one for drawing the blood. It is also advised to wear gloves.

You will need to restrain the animal properly. For a milking goat this may be as simple as the milking stand with head secured and eating. For a cow it can be done in a stanchion. Some dogs will need fully restrained some will just need securely held. (will also cover proper restraining methods in future posts) Please stay tuned and learn more about performing these holds BEFORE attempting.

The site for the blood collection depends on the species of animal. Most large animals and small ruminants (cows, horses, sheep, goats) are drawn from the neck. Dogs can be drawn from the neck or foreleg. Cats can be drawn from the neck, foreleg, or interior hind but are difficult to do. I would recommend a large animal for your first veinupuncture as they are the easiest to restrain and the easiest to draw from.

To locate the vein in the neck you can imagine a line directly down from the center of thier eye down their neck. Have the restraint person tip the animals muzzle upwards and away from you and hold it securely there. There should be a valley or furrow in the neck. The vein is located within this furrow. Apply pressure about 3/4 of the way down the neck where the furrow is the deepest. You should see the vein bulge outwards above your hand within the furrow. Congratulations you found your vein. It can be found on either side of the neck. If needed shave the area to be able to visualize the vein better, if you don't want to shave wetting down the area with alcohol may also help. Animals that are overweight may have veins that are harder to locate due to excess fat.The restraint person does not hold pressure for you.

The other main vein that is used is the cephalic. It is in the forearm. Restrain the animal by holding one arm under the neck and the other arm over the body. The arm that is held over the body also will be used to put pressure on the vein. The restraint person holds the pressure (you may also use a tourniquet). To hold pressure on the vein place hand over arm of animal with thumb pointing towards the inside and belly and fingers pointing outwards and down. Grasp top of leg firmly and roll outward.This will make the vein bulge slightly lower down the arm.This bulge is the location for the blood draw.

Syringe and Needle Method: Remove the cap from the needle. The plunger of the syringe can be operated by using the thumb, forefinger and the middle of the hand. Before inserting the needle, pull the plunger back to break the seal on the syringe, and then depress completely to remove the air. Use the thumb of one hand to place pressure on the vein as described above. Hold the syringe in the other hand and guide the needle towards the bulging vein. Insert slightly and gently pull back on the plunger using the ring and pinky fingers of the hand holding the syringe. If blood appears in the syringe, continue filling the syringe until the desired amount is obtained. If no blood is seen, the needle may be parallel to the vein or it may have gone through the vein. Light movements of the syringe can be used to try to locate the vein. If the vein cannot be found withdraw the needle and start again on the other side or slightly above the first puncture after applying pressure to first side with a cotton ball soaked in alcohol for several minutes. Once the sample has been taken, remove the pressure from your thumb on the vein, withdraw the needle and apply pressure to the site until all bleeding stops.

Vacutainer Method: With the thumb of one hand hold off the vein which should be easy to see and feel. Aim for the center of the vessel. Inserting the needle does not require a lot of force- apply just enough pressure to break through the skin and enter the vessel. Once the needle is in place, apply pressure to the tube so it is pushed up onto the vacutainer needle. If the needle is in the vein, blood should flow into the tube. If this does not happen, gently move the needle out of the vessel (while still on the tube), but not out of the skin (or the vacuum will be lost) and redirect the needle until blood enters the tube. When the tube has filled with the desired amount, release the pressure from your thumb on the vein, remove the tube from the needle and then remove the needle from the skin. Apply pressure until all bleeding has stopped.

Insert needle directly into top of blood tube and allow vacuum to suck blood from syringe into tube (do not forcefully depress plunger, if blood tube was not opened prior to this there should be a vacuum within it) Never handle blood roughly, do not shake, inject forcefully, or anything else that could damage blood cells. This will cause your results to be skewed or unusable.

CAUTION: Never allow air to be injected into a vein, always ensure that the syringe is empty of air before beginning. When needle is under the skin of the animal and no blood comes out there should always be pressure pulling on the syringe plunger if plunger is pulled on. If there is no pressure on the plunger and plunger is not flush with the front of syringe there is air in the syringe and the needle should be withdrawn from the animal immediately without depressing the plunger.

It is always a good idea to contact vet or testing lab before starting for blood handling instructions. Place blood tube carefully into the refrigerator if required. After 5 hours or so you can send it to the lab for testing. If it is warm outside you may need to put a small cold pack in with it when you mail it.

Some animals should only be done with experience. Below are a few odds and ends animals.
Swine Blood Draws
Alpaca Blood Draws
Rabbit Blood Draws

Here are a few laboratories that may be able to process your blood sample. If there is not one listed in your area, try calling the one that is nearest to you. They probably know of another lab that is closer.

California Veterinary Diagnostic Lab System
West Health Sciences Drive
University of California - Davis
Davis, Calif. 95616

National Animal Disease Center
PO Box 70
Ames, Iowa 50010

Pan American Veterinary Laboratories
3921 Steck Ave
Austin, Texas 78759
(512)794-9657 Fax

Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratories
University of Minnesota
College of Veterinary Medicine
Carter and Gortner Aves.
St Paul, Minnesota 55108

Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory
College of Veterinary Medicine
Washington State University
PO Box 2037
College Station/Bustad Hall, Rm 155-N
Pullman, Washington 99165-2037
(509)335-7424 Fax

Diagnostic Laboratory
Cornell University
College of Veterinary Medicine
Ithaca, New York 14853