Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats

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I'm not sure what to do. I'm going to call my vet first thing Monday, but wanted to post here to see if I could get any thoughts or advice in the meantime.

My 4 year old doe is due to kid 1/18/22. I noticed this past Wednesday that her breath had a sweet/acetone smell to it, like scented nail polish remover. So I used the Ketostix to test her urine and it showed she had a small amount of ketones. I had NutriDrench on hand so I've been giving her that. I also got Purina Goat Chow and started giving it to her yesterday, a little bit, like  1 1/2 Tbsp, then today I gave her 1 1/2 Tbsp am & pm along with Nutridrench through out the day. I'm not able to get 30-60cc of the drench in her at a time so I've been doing between 12cc-20cc a few times a day. I'm really confused on how much and how often I should be giving her this. But she has been consistently hovering between negative & trace on the ketostix tests. She's eating really well and hasn't gone off her feed or water at all yet. But she is extremely huge. From behind she literally looks like a small dogloo, or like she swallowed an exercise ball. She's having a really hard time getting around and she's been breathing very heavily for a while now.

She's freshened twice before with her previous owners. Triplets both times. I was expecting she would probably have triplets again. I was concerned that she would have large babies (I guess her babies averaged between 3-4 lbs) so I didn't give her grain through out her pregnancy, but at the beginning she was on grass hay and pasture. We had really nice green grasses and weeds, a lot of variety. Then I got what I thought was a better hay (grass/clover mix) and she was also still eating Timothy hay pellets free choice (once the pasture died back). About the middle of Dec I began switching her from Timothy hay pellets to Alfalfa/Timothy hay pellets along with her grass clover hay. About 2 weeks from her due date I began switching from Alfalfa/Timothy hay pellets to Alfalfa hay pellets along with the grass/clover hay. She would get Diamond V xp am & pm along with a couple Tbsp of Bioworma am & pm before it started getting cold, and then I took her off of it for the winter. She also has access to free choice Sweetlix Meat Maker mineral and baking soda. I copper bolus because of our well water and the minerals just don't seem to be enough without it. In between boluses I give Replamin gel plus occassionally because even with the boluses sometimes she has a rough, fading coat, but I ran out of that at the end of December. But that was her diet all this time. The reason I give hay pellets is because the grass hay available at our local feed store is light green, not a deep green color, and I thought by giving hay pellets it could supplement any deficiency that might be in the hay. But was that wrong to do? Was it too much? Or not enough? 

A lot of what I've read says poor management and not enough nutrition is the culprit of pregnancy toxemia so I'm feeling pretty bad about this. I did not think she was over or underconditioned when I bred her. She weighed 68 lbs and I tried my best to follow the BCS and I felt she was right where she needed to be at the time, but maybe I was wrong? I am concerned this is going to spiral before she kids. Today I came out to check on her and she was laying in her straw, but her head and neck were stretched out on the straw too, and I've never seen her do that before. I had a hard time getting her up. Once she was up she seemed fine. Other than looking extremely uncomfortable she has been eating, drinking, & chewing her cud.  She grinds her teeth, but she has always done that from the day I brought her home.

Should I continue the drench and grain? Should I keep increasing the grain? I'm having a hard time balancing giving enough and not too much with out actually seeing what is going on inside of her. On top of me being new to all this (the 18th will be my one year anniversary with goats) and this being my first kidding (which I'm very nervous about) I am very concerned about the outcome and still having at least 9 days to go. 

I've posted a picture of various times throughout her pregnancy. She is even bigger today than she was on Tuesday though when I took the most recent pictures. I will try to take another picture of her tomorrow and post it here. 


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I don’t think you did anything to cause any kind of problems. However I would not give her any more Nutri drench. That stuff is pure sugar, and it is only for goats that are not eating. Does her breath still smell weird? If her ketones are normal, she’s fine. if they’re at trace, and she’s still eating, she’s fine. The important thing is that she keep eating. The reason that goats get pregnancy toxemia is because they don’t get enough nutrients. That can happen because they don’t get enough feed, which can happen because they have bad owners or simply because they have so many kids that they have no room left in their stomach to eat enough. However we have had eight sets of quintuplets and I have never had a single case of toxemia, and we’ve had more quads than I can count. For the last 10 years or so the average number of kids per doe in our herd is more than three. I really don’t think pregnancy toxemia is that common, so don’t get yourself too worried. Just keep an ion her and make sure she keeps eating.
And just to help you relax a little more, she does not look that big. And the behavior you described sounds totally normal for a doe at the end of pregnancy.
Thank you Deborah, that does help me relax. She tested negative on the ketostix earlier this morning. No, she hasn't had the weird smelling breath since I noticed it that one time on Wednesday. Would this be considered pregnancy toxemia then, since she didn't go off her feed? I did give her a little grain this morning, she's drinking & eating her hay and pellets like normal.

Thank you for all your help

I noticed her sides look a bit sunken in today, her udder is fuller, and when she was laying down I noticed a bubble looking thing coming out of her vaginal area. It wasn't fluid though, it looked like a hard ball of flesh. It went back in when she stood up. I'm guessing that is considered a prolapse. I can't imagine this is going to be good when she's trying to give birth :( 

I've just been reading older posts on here about prolapses, so I understand more now just how badly this might turn out. I'm still calling my vet tomorrow morning, and I think it might be best, if she makes it through this, that I will not be breeding her again. 

Thanks again for your input Deborah. I'm really grateful for your books, courses, and this forum. 

Hi Dacia,

  I can't help you with your situation, but just want to let you know I and others are thinking of you. I recently went through a completely different disturbing situation with one of mine and feel the level of anxiety you are experiencing. Just want you to know you are not alone, even though it likely feels like it.


Thank you so much Ann, that really means a lot.

Let us know what you find out tomorrow!

Dacia said:

Thank you so much Ann, that really means a lot.

I certainly will!

Ann Bodling said:

Let us know what you find out tomorrow!

Dacia said:

Thank you so much Ann, that really means a lot.

If she is testing negative for ketones and is still eating, she doesn't have toxemia -- at least not now. 

What you are describing is not bad at all. Sounds like it's no bigger than a thumb? I've had a doe do that, and she gave birth totally fine, and it never repeated. As long as it goes back in when she stands up, that's good. It's when you see something much larger and it does not go back in that you need to start worrying. But even then it's possible to have a good outcome.

I know when you're new that it's easy to think of everything that can go wrong, but with 700 kids born here, we have not had a single case of toxemia or a prolapse, and I almost never have anyone contact me with those problems. They do happen, but they are not that common. Whenever something falls into the <1% column, I try not to lose sleep any sleep over it.

It sounds like you're very well informed, but don't let yourself get the goat owner's equivalent of "medical school syndrome" where you start to worry about everything that could possibly go wrong. (Med school students sometimes start to worry that they have all the diseases.)

And as Ann said, DO let us know when she kids! We want to see baby pictures! 

But of course, feel free to ask any other questions that pop up!

Just a quick FYI ... Here is my kidding course, in case you're interested.

Thank you so much for your words. I know I worry too much.  I do go back & forth between calm & panic when it's new and I don't know what to expect for my specific situation...but it helps speaking with you and others here on this forum. I will keep your words in my mind. I guess I'm not going to change anything just imagining worst case scenarios.

What I saw sticking out of her was actually more like the size of maybe a plum or a small lemon? It almost appeared like the sac that starts popping out when a kid is born, so I kind of freaked...then realized it had no fluid in it, it was fleshy/ solid. I didn't touch it, but she didn't like me messing with her tail so she stood up and it went back inside. 

If I sound even the least bit informed it is truly thanks to you. I'm still trying to grasp all of the information and keep it organized in my brain...and then try to apply it... but we are all very fortunate that you have researched, written, and shared so extensively with the world about goats. There is truly no one else out there in the goat world like you. And I mean that sincerely. I am on this forum searching keywords all the time, reading and re-reading questions and information, as well as your books, podcasts & YouTube videos. Hopefully one day it all will stick and I can move more easily through these situations. I actually do have your Just Kidding course bookmarked and up on my desktop tabs. I really need it for disbudding time. I just have let it get away from me to sign up since I've been ordering what I need here for kidding. 

I will certainly update when she kids!

I'm glad to hear you're feeling better! Just keep reminding yourself that the textbook, Goat Medicine, says that 95% of births go fine and need no assistance. So the odds are in your favor! 

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