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Goats/Just went through a difficult delivery


HellO;  We own pigmy goats and sheep.  We have had several birthing experiences, most positive.  Our goat Callie , I felt was having trouble.  It seemed to me like she had been contracting , the stall had holes dug all over, but nothing was going on.  She was fully bagged up.  I called  the vet and brought her in.  he ultra sounded her, babies looked good, her blood work was good.  He agreed she was ready to go, but wasn't convinced what I saw was contractions.  He had us bring her home.  I watched her all day and she had contractions on and off, lost her plug around 8pm and by 9 had some blood stringy mucus coming out.  I called doc, he told me it all sounds normal and watch her.  by 11 she was contracting a lot, I was starting to see a sac,  I Called vet he again told me it was normal and she could go like that all night.  As long as she was pushing it was fine.  Everything I had read was telling me that if she was pushing for more than an hour, we were in trouble.  I called back again after the sack was hanging for an hour with nothing happening.  Doctor was annoyed and reiterated she's fine, I asked if I should go in and feel where the baby was, he said no.  I was ready I had everything I needed to help, I had pictures, I had my birthing kit I was ready.  He again told me no, get some sleep and give it the night.  Like and idiot I did.  I left the bard around 2 came back at 430 AM and found a dead baby.  I called doctor as soon as the sun came up and he told me as long as she's pushing she'll push them out.  We knew there was at least 1 more up there.  I wanted again to bring her in, knew it may be a C section but that didnt matter, I would have dome what I had to. He told me to wait he'd call after an emergency he had.   Long story short about two hours later a head was delivered,  I didnt listen this time, I went ahead and helped her to get it out.  I tried ,but could nt resuscitate, about an hour after that I had to help her with another one out, again gone.   The good news is Callie seems ok, I am giving her penicillin as I saw recommended.  It kills me she went through all that, and I need to know if I should not have listened to that vet. I felt helpless, he was the expert and I figured he knew she was a pet , just from the conversations at his office the day before.  We rushed her to his office almost an hour away .    I have more goats and sheep coming and  am  trying to look at this as a lesson learned.  I need to know if  what I wanted to do was right, so if this happens again, I am confident to go ahead and help.  There are very few sheep, goat vets in my area.  Yes I am trying to find one ahead just in case.  If anyone knows a livestock vet in the Trenton NJ area I would appreciate it.   Our goats are more than live stock to us.  Thank you and I apologize this is so sad.  I just need to  know so I am confident if there is a next time

I am sorry for the loss.  Unfortunately there just are not enough competent goat veterinarians around - that is a reason that 28 years ago my daughter and I began learning everything we could about goats and then started helping others.  The main key to knowing if the goat is ready to kid is if her pelvic ligaments have "disappeared" - once they have gone then she is within 36 to 48 hours of kidding.  Another item is that anytime a goat is pushing, you give her 20 minutes and if no progress you go in and help out.  I am glad you gave Callie the penicillin.  During the time a goat is on antibiotics it also needs to be on probiotics.  

So, anytime more than 20 minutes of pushing with no progress, wash up with antibiotic soap, put a little KY jelly on a hand and gently go in - you may have to go in all the way up to your elbow depending on the size of the goat.  There are two horns to the uterus and so once in along the cervix you will feel two channels - one on the left and one on the right - follow each down to its end and if you feel anything hard/like a kid then you should gently pull it out.  If you are helping a kid out that is at the vaginal exit - always pull down as you pull out, and it's easier when the doe is pushing, but can be done without the doe's help - but usually once you start pulling she will have the urge.  

First time kidders tend to have more difficulty, or doe goats fed too much toward the end of pregnancy and the kids are too large for the doe, or there is malposition of the kids, such as a breach kid.

So, in answer to your question, you did the right thing by going in - for goats, don't wait, go in and at least check to see what's going on inside, and if you want to help go ahead.  

And, I totally agree with your statement that the goats are more than just livestock to you - my exact thoughts too.

If you are in a situation as this again, please feel free to call me directly at 360-742-8310 - it's my cel phone - call any time, really - I'm used to getting phone calls all times of the day and many of these during kidding season are talking people through how to help kid.  

Hope this helps - let me know - Donna  


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Donna Ruelas-Semasko/Edelweiss Acres


All goat health care, nutrition, judging questions about all goats - packgoats, dairy goats, pygmy goats, meat goats, fleece goats.


27 years health care/nutrition of all types of goats, 17 years experience in packgoats, 20 years experience in 4H goat projects as leader, superintendent and judge. 20 years experience in putting on goat care/nutrition seminars.

NAPgA, The Evergreen Packgoat Club, 4H, ADGA.

Hobby Farm, many newspapers, 4H newsletters, Packgoat Manuals (youth and general), judging information pamphlets, seminar handouts about health care and nutrition.

4 years of college, ongoing education in goats.

Awards and Honors
Small Farm Award of Thurston County

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