Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats

for people who love the littlest dairy goats

So...I lost a perfectly healthy seeming doe today...

I'm absolutely stunned...I had what seemed to be a perfectly healthy doe at 5:00.  At 5:30 she was dead.  What the heck?????? Here's the story:  I'd had the goats out on pasture for about an hour and a half, two hours at the most.  Around 5:00 we took them back to the barn because it had started to rain.  Everyone appeared fine, and Francine was moving along with the herd normally.  When we got them inside, Francine was looking bloated and uncomfortable.  I watched her attempt to lie down, and then stand up.  I asked my daughter to bring out some baking soda and offer it to them all, making sure to especially try to get her to eat it.  She came back and said that they all ate a lot of it except Francine.  I mixed up some oil and baking soda and went back to find that she'd gone from bad to terrible in that short time.  She was breathing with her mouth open and foaming at the mouth a little bit.  I got one drenching syringe down her and she immediately flopped over, kicked a bit and died.  What the hell???  Did I kill her?  Did she inhale it all and drown?  Was she dying anyway?  I feel so awful.  Her two sweet littles were standing there bewildered and calling for her.  So very sad and also a bit angry at the moment.  What a day it's been.  I'm ready to go to bed and sleep away the rest of it. :(

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After some contemplation and research about types of bloat, I'm 99.9% sure I know what happened to Francine.  It's called choke bloat, which just means she sallowed someting that stuck in her esophagus and blocked the exit of gasses from her rumen causing her to bloat very quickly.  She was going into shock already when I got to her with the drench, and I effectively quickly put her out of her misery by drowning her. :(  I'm still feeling so bad about the whole situation.  I'm glad she stopped suffering more quickly than she would have, but I hate that I misdiagnosed her and wasn't doing something that had a chance of helping her when she died, but the opposite.  I was too focused on frothy bloat though I couldn't figure out how it could happen so quickly and so out of the clear blue.

Later I was reading about types of bloat, and the way she was acting and the way it happened matched up with choke bloat perfectly.  Then I remembered that she'd made a quick pass through the compost area on the way to the barn.  It was fenced in, but the chickens had found a way in and made a shambles of it, so I'm sure she managed to swallow something like an apple core or a large avacado pit.  

The compost had since been moved to the fenced in garden area, and inside another fence.  Too little too late. :(

Aw Patty, I'm so sorry to hear about your loss.  That is SO sudden, and a scary reminder of how fragile our goats can be.  I think you handled the situation as well as anyone could have in the moment.  I've never even heard of choke bloat, and I spend lots of time reading about potential disasters!  Don't be too hard on yourself for how things turned out.

Thank you, Kali. I really appreciate your kind words. :)


Kali Sink said:

Aw Patty, I'm so sorry to hear about your loss.  That is SO sudden, and a scary reminder of how fragile our goats can be.  I think you handled the situation as well as anyone could have in the moment.  I've never even heard of choke bloat, and I spend lots of time reading about potential disasters!  Don't be too hard on yourself for how things turned out.

I am so sorry to hear about your loss, but don't blame yourself. It can be tough to know what's happening and to do the perfect thing in the heat of the moment. I've never had this happen and can't say that I'd have done much better. We live and learn.

Thank you Deborah. :) I appreciate your encouraging words and perspective. I'm feeling quite a bit better about the situation, except for watching her poor kids get picked on by the whole herd. :( Hoping everyone quickly sorts out the new order.

I had something similar happen last year to a doe at the end of her pregnancy, she bloated with no change in her feed, and at that time i just chalked it up to something in the pregnancy, however a couple month later my buck did the same thing fine in the evening, checked on him in the morning he was bloated and died within an hour. I have now came to the conclusion that since this has happend only in one paddock that they ate some poisonous mint and i just didn't catch either in time. i have since removed goats from that paddock and have not had any other problems.

I'm glad it seems that you found the answer.  It's hard to loose them though.

James Tinker said:

I had something similar happen last year to a doe at the end of her pregnancy, she bloated with no change in her feed, and at that time i just chalked it up to something in the pregnancy, however a couple month later my buck did the same thing fine in the evening, checked on him in the morning he was bloated and died within an hour. I have now came to the conclusion that since this has happend only in one paddock that they ate some poisonous mint and i just didn't catch either in time. i have since removed goats from that paddock and have not had any other problems.

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