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Goats/What could have caused this?


My pregnant goat Olie about 4 years old started showing signs of labor pawing ground, staring, head toward wall on the morning of the 19th. Later in the day a mucous string was showing and around MN had a bloody mucous string showing. Day 2 on and off signs of labor. No evidence of distress. Day 3 ate some feed and drinking water, moving around barn area. Day 4 still no change, eating grain and some hay. I was told by an experienced person I needed to check her and I did. I found a kid in her wound feet first and very difficult to remove and a the kid was dry but developed and dead. After letting her rest I removed another dead kid that was also developed and dry. I gave her some pain medicine and PCN as directed by my vet. She ate some grain and drank water. Checked on her in the night and she was quiet. At 0800 the next day I checked on her and she is restless and making noises and at first I thought it was because another of my goats was delivering near by. My husband suggested I check her one more time to see if I had missed feeling for another kid. I did and I removed a very small under-developed red-colored kid that just didn't look mature. After the removal of this kid I gave her some pain medication and another dose of PCN to prevent infection. She started to decline within the hour and died about 2 hours later. I forgot to mention that I checked her temperature on Day 3 and she was normal. I am heartbroken! What could have caused this?

HI Teresa,

I am SO Very Sorry you lost your doe and her kids  - just about anything could have caused the kids to die en-utero - most likely the front kid that was difficult to remove was  stopping up the works as she tried to  deliver  when she went into labor,  this in turn may have caused the kid behind to die - the undeveloped kid may have been the result of being bred  in 2 different  heats which can happen,  heat cycles every 21 days  and if a doe is bred  and conceives both times - there could be  2 sets of kids  with 2 different stages of development, typically what happens is  they are either delivered at the first stage where one will be under developed and  will not survive - or they could be delivered closer to the second kid's delivery date where the first kids are over developed and huge. This does not happen often but it does happen.

As far as your losing her, this also could be  the result of a couple different things - firstly I suspect she was toxic due to the dead kids inside her and this is difficult to treat successfully. Secondly, one of the times you "went in" to extract kids or just the attempt of delivering the first kid who was  mal-positioned, there could have been something that tore the uterine wall, your hand, one of the hooves, an elbow  or  something.. once there is a tear in the uterus, it is always fatal within 24 to 72 hours. And it happens..  to all of us at some time or another.  

Dead kids  decompose within just a few hours inside the warm uterus - and I suspect  since they were dry, her water broke  on the 19th and you just didn't see it.
Rule of thumb, when ever you see a doe in labor stages..  and nothing is produced (no kid coming out) after any pushing  has begun,  give it less than 30 minutes before you glove up and go in to see what the hold up is..  she may have been pushing  when you didn't see her or at night.. but  I suspect  with what you said happened   on the 19th she was already in distress with a kid mal-positioned and could not get him out - the blood may have been the result of a tear in the uterus even then.  
I'm  putting a couple links here for reading ..

Kidding :
Fetal Positions:

Again, I am So very sorry..  


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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.

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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

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