The last couple of days have been pretty intense around here. I got 4 1/2 hours of sleep last night with all that has been going on. Friday night, Trixie Belle had her triplets and seemed to be doing well. She let the babies nurse and headed over to the feeder for some food herself. Saturday morning, she was letting the babies nurse and eating herself. I figured all was well. Saturday night, we went to a meeting so Heather could meet John Phillips, the astronaut. When we got back, I checked on Trixie Belle, and she was laying down. Two of the babies had full tummies, but one was still hungry. Kind of the way it goes with three babies and two teats. Trixie Belle didn’t want to stand for the baby to nurse, but I just figured she was tired since it was about 10:30 pm and it had only been 24 hours since she had the kids. I figured out a way for the baby to nurse while she was laying down.
But then Sunday morning, Trixie Belle wouldn’t stand at all. Her eyes were glazed over and she wasn’t herself at all. The kids were all starving. She wasn’t eating, nor drinking. Something was seriously wrong. I didn’t know if she still had a kid in her, or retained placenta, since her stomach was still pretty good sized. I called five veterinarians. Two of the numbers had been disconnected, and three had answering machines referring me on to some emergency place in Spokane. If I couldn’t get her to stand, how was I to get her in the car and 40+ miles down the road??? I contacted two local goat breeders. One said they had lost two goats earlier this year to similar symptoms. The other gave me the number of the veterinarian that he uses. I contacted that vet and got their answering service. Not knowing what else to do, I gave Trixie Belle 3 cc of penicillin, 30 mL of Goat NutriDrench and some ProBios.
After a bit, the on-call veterinarian from the last number I had contacted, called me. I explained to her what was going on. She asked about her temperature. I didn’t know what it was, but she didn’t feel hot to me. The vet asked about her eyes. Her pupils were dilated, but she was in a dark shed, so didn’t think too much. But when I passed a flashlight over her eyes, her pupils didn’t contract like they should have. She also had a sweet-sour rotten smell to her. The vet figured Trixie has Milk Fever, with possible complications of Ketosis. Apparently, it happens in high producers that are a bit hefty or too thin. When they kid, there is a huge drain of minerals on their system.
The goats/sheep have access ad lib to kelp, loose minerals, baking soda, and a goat/sheep block. For the last month I have been giving them molasses water and apple cider vinegar water, of which they have been drinking 5 gallons each, every day. I couldn’t figure how she could possibly be short on minerals.
Nonetheless, since I couldn’t get Trixie to stand, and the on-call vet didn’t really want to drive 30+ miles, I drove 28 miles in the opposite direction to go to a health foods store. I got some raw cow’s milk for the kids to drink, and some calcium gelcaps, magnesium gelcaps, some multi-vitamin gelcaps that had the selenium, copper, zinc, Vit D, and a myriad of other things, some chewable Vit C tablets, some chewable Calcium/Magnesium/Vit D tablets, and these chewable tablets that were made of greens like alfalfa, chlorophyll, barley, etc. There had to be a dark chocolate bar involved for me, too Then I went to Big R and got some Mineral Max Ultra Paste, some electrolytes to put in her drinking water, and some more NutriDrench. So four times on Sunday, she got the NutriDrench and ProBios paste. Twice on Sunday, after I got back, she got one each of the calcium gelcaps, magnesium gelcaps, multi-vitamin gelcaps, chewable Vit C, Chewable Calcium/Magnesium/Vit D, and Greens tablets. Twice on Sunday (once in the morning, once at night) she got 3 cc’s of penicillin. The babies are on bottles.
By yesterday morning, she was standing. Her eyes were still glazed, and she wasn’t eating nor drinking. But she was standing The tears were rolling down my cheeks I was so happy The on-call vet said since she was standing, to continue with the regimen and keep an eye on her. The only thing that they could do differently in the vet’s office is give her injectable calcium, Calcium Borogluconate. By yesterday afternoon, she was picking at her hay and grain. Not really eating, but interested in it. By last night, she was noticing her babies, which she hadn’t been able to do on Sunday.
This morning, she was laying down when I found her. She was sniffing her hay and grain. I realized that she probably had a sour stomach from all the stuff I had been pushing down her. So all I gave her this morning was the ProBios. By late morning she was eating a little bit of hay. Not chowing down, but not picking at it, either. After she has something in her stomach, I will give her some more of the vitamins. She has enough strength now that she rejects the gelcaps. So I empty the contents into a bowl, along with the chewable Vit C and chewable Calcium/Magnesium/Vit D tablets. I add some water to make a liquid, and then give them to her in a syringe.
She still isn’t out of the woods, but she is alert, her eyes are bright and she is paying attention to her babies.
From what I can ascertain on this, it usually happens to high producers who do have enough calcium and other minerals in their system. There is just such a huge drain at kidding time that their body can’t keep up, and so the blood becomes calcium deficient.
This diagram tells how the body processes calcium.
What I have learned is that because Trixie is a dark skinned goat (even under her white hair is dark skin), she actually requires 6 times the amount of Vit D as a light skinned goat.
Taken from The Goatkeeper’s Veterinary Book by Peter Dunn.
Madeline is brown, but her skin is pink, so she is probably able to draw most of her Vit D requirements from sunlight. Trixie probably should have had a Vit D shot administered prior to kidding.
Yesterday morning. You can see she is still spotting and has diarrhea.
But she walked out of her shed over here and laid down.
Yesterday late morning/early afternoon. She made her way over to the feeder and then laid down.
Yesterday morning her pupils were almost normal sized. I was comparing them with Madeline’s pupils.
This afternoon, her pupils are back to being dilated
Ingredient list of multi vitamin.
More of her pharmacy. I keep these out in her shed for easy use.
The ProBios and Mineral Paste.
She is to get 5 cc of each. She gets them 3-4 times a day, depending on how much she fights me
Crushed chewable Vit C and chewable Vit D/Magnesium/Calcium. I add in some Jello to help with the flavor. Then I open one each of the Calcium Citrate, the Magnesium, and the multi-vitamin, and pour the powder into the crushed tablets. Then I add enough hot water to make a liquid to be able to draw it up through a syringe.
This afternoon she is picking at her hay.
She is drinking molasses water. She doesn’t seem to care for the electrolyte water, so isn’t drinking as much as I would like to see. But she does seem to like the molasses water, which should help correct any ketosis issues.
But you can see her eyes are back to being dilated and she doesn’t want to stand.
But she is paying attention to her kids, and alert enough to fight with me on taking her pills We’re taking one day at a time around here…
The kids are doing fine so far, but are starting to want to get out and play. They don’t understand why Mom doesn’t want to go outside with them.
Milo out exploring
Twickle trying to jump and play
Now I lay me down to sleep...