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Goats/weak kids twice now


My doe 3 years old has delivered 4 kids. 2 stillborn and 2 very weak kids. This is her second delivery. First delivery had 3 stillborn. We gave her a selenium block this time and watched her carefully because of the cold so we know the kids weren't weak because of the cold. Is there something we can help her with next time or is she never having alive kids. She has a beautiful udder and we enjoy the milk. How would I know if the kids were premature. The buck was with her all fall so I have no due date.

Hi Tina,
Awe, I am very sorry..
I have never heard of a selenium block -  but typically yes selenium is  the first  thing to look at with weak kids at birth - Toxoplasmosis is another cause.. comes from cat poop - if the feed  has been contaminated with cat poop  either at your place or at the hay dealer's place.

Toxoplasmosis is a disease that causes abortions, weak kids, stillbirths, birth defects, and mummification of fetuses in pregnant does. Cats are the carriers of this protozoan known as Toxoplasma gondii. Cats, especially kittens under six months of age, pass the oocysts in their feces when they eat infected rodents, raw meat, or placentas of toxoplasmosis-infected animals.

Goats become infected with this parasite when they eat grain, grass, or hay that has been contaminated by cat feces. The infection enters the body through the small intestine and nearby lymph nodes, then spreads throughout the goat's system via the blood stream. Toxoplasma gondii can be encysted for years in the goat's brain, muscles, liver, or other vital organs. Some resistance to future infection (immunity) is usually acquired by previously-infected does. Male goats can be carriers. Weak kids born of Toxoplasmosis-positive does require extensive supportive care in order to survive.

Toxoplasmosis-caused abortions usually (but not always) occur during the first half of gestation. Once the pregnant doe has been infected, it takes about two weeks for the parasite to infiltrate the placenta and kill the fetuses. Blood tests can be done on does immediately after they have aborted, but because a doe can test 'positive' for Toxoplasmosis for years after becoming infected, it is easier to prove that the cause was not this protozoan by obtaining a 'negative' serological (blood) reading. It is reasonable to conclude that any doe testing positive for Toxoplasmosis as long as six months after she has aborted is still highly infected with the disease and therefore is a threat to the other animals in the herd.

At the present time in the United States of America, there is neither a vaccine nor a cure for this disease, and there is no regimen of medication effective against Toxoplasmosis

Prevention involves keeping feed (grain and hay) away from cat feces. Clean bedding and pen areas are essential. Barn cats are useful, but the population must be kept under control. Kittens are more likely to be carriers than adult cats, and it is possible that only one cat is the host. Neuter/spay all adult cats, and do not feed them raw meat. A blood test is available for cats to determine if they carry Toxoplasmosis antibodies.

So to know for sure and  deal with this a vet call is in order.
In addition, I would opt for giving her a BO-SE injection (vet  Rx required) rather than relying on the selenium block - I use 1cc/40lbs.

As far as knowing  if they were preemies,  only a week early they would look off - not as much hair,  eyes closed, softer than normal hooves. Here is a fetal chart of development for you to look at:

How are the surviving kids doing now?  Are you using the same buck each time?  Maybe a different buck?  


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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.


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