You are here:

Goats/what's wong with my goat


Saphire (dairy goat) was bred in Dec 2012, and never kidded.  Now Aug 2013 she is getting fat and her utter is expanding and lopsided.  Not sure what is wrong any ideas?a

HI Glen,
It IS possible for a doe to come into a false pregnancy but is there ANY chance she was bred  sometime in late Feb or early March? Goats can be bred through a fence - I know.. I have had it happen.. ALSO, A lopsided udder can be caused by kids nursing off one side only in the past or an injury at some point - could also be  due to mastitis - Can you feel any baby movement  when you feel her underbelly in front of the udder?  I think for now I would treat the situation as a pregnant doe and keep an eye on her.. is her udder  hot at all? if so you could do a CMT mastitis test at home..  These are mad e for cows but work for goats - make sure you follow directions closely and clean the udder before as well as your hands and make sure you use a teat spray after to close the teat openings  to reduce the chance of infection.

Here is a bit of info on false pregnancy -
False pregnancy is a condition that is almost impossible to determine without an ultrasound.

A false pregnancy or pseudopregnancy can occur when a doe's reproductive hormone system gets "short circuited." A brief description of ovulation may be helpful. A follicle on the doe's ovary starts developing and producing estrogen. Increased estrogen triggers the release of follicle-stimulating hormones (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) which matures the follicle. The follicle, similar in appearance to a water blister, grows until it finally ruptures and releases the egg. The egg then floats toward the oviduct. After ovulation, the collapsed follicle becomes a new endocrine structure called the corpus luteum (CL), or yellow body, which produces progesterone to prepare the uterus for pregnancy and to maintain the pregnancy. If the egg meets healthy sperm in the oviduct/fallopian tube and is fertilized, it then travels down the fallopian tube to the uterus where it implants itself. If this [conception] occurs, the corpus luteum will remain throughout the pregnancy, secreting both estrogenic and progestational steroids. If the doe does not conceive, the uterus produces prostaglandin that dissolves the CL, leaving a small scar where the follicle was, and a new cycle begins.

Once in a while things get a little confused and the CL does not dissolve and continues to produce progesterone hormone for a pregnancy that does not exist. This can happen whether or not a doe was bred. A urine pregnancy test would be positive and the doe no longer comes into heat. Her hormones say she's pregnant, so the typical signs occur: mammary gland enlargement, milk production, mothering instinct, and  even uterine cramps.

Some does may correct a pseudopregnancy early and show a bloody discharge, but the majority go to term. At term, the doe usually goes through the labor process and delivers a "cloudburst", a cloudy fluid but no placenta or fetus. At the end of this "pregnancy," the CL dissolves and a new cycle begins.

There is no known predisposition to false pregnancy and no way to predict it. It can be diagnosed with an ultrasound test. A prostaglandin injection will end a false pregnancy or a real one.

False pregnancy is not uncommon in goats, dogs and other livestock. It is a seemingly harmless, self-correcting problem but carries a little risk. You can waste 5 months waiting for kids from your favorite doe. Under the influence of progesterone the uterus is susceptible to infection, and this may occur during the false pregnancy. Watch for vaginal discharge, a high fever or general depression to help avoid a toxic situation.

After terminating a false pregnancy, the doe should come back into estrus and can be bred within a month or two. False pregnancies rarely occur back-to-back. Maybe they are a doe's way of resting her body, particularly after a fairly stressful time. It can happen to any doe. The law of averages says that if you raise goats long enough, you'll get to see this phenomena first-hand.



All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts




Specializing in New Goat Owner understanding of goat physiology, goat anatomy, goat care and herd management. *I am not a veterinarian, any advice and information should be verified by your veterinarian before administering to your goats. (! During times of severe weather in the Midwest, I may experience a delay in internet service due to the interference of the satellite reception - but will answer your questions as soon as service is restored. !) Note: Keep in mind, the goat expert is volunteering her time to help other goat owners, she also runs her farm with her own herd of 100 goats and may not be at her computer at all hours. Questions are answered as soon as she can possibly read and answer them, usually within 24 hours.


23 years experience of raising goats and herd management. Active hands on experience with goat herd and research with various Caprine University Research and Extension Centers nationwide. 15 years dedicated to helping other goat breeders/owners with goat anatomy, goat disease and goat health care issues via phone, published goat care articles and internet interaction. The information I have to offer is not only from personal experience and years of research updated often as new information is made available to me, but supported by many Veterinary Research colleges and all medications and information I have to offer on how the medications work and what dosages "I" use, is information I have acquired by discussing directly with the company's veterinarians and staff research experts.

12 year active member of International Veterinary Information Service

United Caprine News, Homesteaders Magazine, Columnist for Goat Magazine, Owner and Author of GoatPedia™

Graduate Programs in Medicine, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Stanford University

©2017 All rights reserved.