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Goats/Selenium/D/E for Pregnant Does & Worming while Pregnant


Hello!  We would like to know about using selenium/Vit D/Vit E on pregnant does? And kids?  Also, what do you recommend for worming and is it safe while pregnant?  I haven't checked their eyes recently.  They were checked in December and were a light pink, actually lighter than your chart shows.  I hesitate to worm them before they kid (due early April) because one of our local 4-H families wormed their does and they ALL aborted.  I don't know what they used but a bad situation. To add to that, another local says he never worms or gave selenium.  When his first set of twins were born the buckling had weak back legs.  He found an article on white muscle disease and did give selenium to the kids only.  We are new to goats and some information seems conflicted and overwhelming.  Thanks for your help.

HI Randy:
Are you in a selenium deficient area? I personally use Bo-Se which is an injected Rx  sel/VitE vitamin supplement - I use 1cc/40lbs for adults and just a slight 1/8 cc for newborns at birth -
I have not used the gel so I do not know if 1. it is effective  and 2. how well it is regulated as far as dosing amounts - if you are not in an area where selenium is deficient I see no reason to use it personally. YOu can check here for your area -

Selenium is an essential trace mineral present in the soil. In the United States, soil is generally selenium-deficient in parts of the Pacific Northwest, from the Great Lakes region to the New England states, and along the Eastern Seaboard into Florida. Local, state, and federal agricultural extension services usually maintain soil maps that indicate selenium levels. A Google search will also bring up maps of selenium-deficient areas in the USA. Because selenium levels can vary greatly within an area, testing the soil's selenium content is recommended. Soil is considered "selenium deficient" when there is less than 0.5mg of selenium per kg of soil. Because selenium is stored in the liver and kidneys and can be identified in blood, a complete blood count (CBC) test can be used to identify selenium levels in the goat's body.

Selenium in soil is absorbed by growing plants that are eaten by foraging/browsing goats. Proper selenium levels are necessary for goats to reproduce, lactate, give birth, urinate, and have properly functioning muscles. Selenium working with vitamin E helps develop and protect healthy brain cells, assists in thyroid function, helps the immune system function properly, and prevents cell wall damage. Symptoms of selenium deficiency are similar to those of Vitamin E deficiency. White Muscle Disease, also known as Nutritional Muscular Dystrophy, is a condition in which kids are too weak to stand or suckle at birth, they consistently cough, milk sometimes runs out of their nose after nursing, and they develop pneumonia because of muscle weakness in their lungs. In adults, abortions, stillbirths, retained placenta, or inability to conceive can be indicative of selenium deficiency.

Selenium has a very narrow margin of safety. Goats require 0.2 parts per million of selenium, and the toxic level is 3 ppm. Some symptoms of selenium deficiency are identical to those of selenium toxicity. A doe's failure to conceive can be the result of either selenium deficiency or toxicity. Kidney failure, stillbirth, and abortions also may be attributable to either end of this spectrum. By contrast, hair loss in the beard and flank regions and cracks and deformities in horns and hooves may indicate too much selenium in the goat's diet. Over-concentrations of selenium occur in parts of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nevada, Idaho, California, Arizona, New Mexico, and adjacent states. See your local agricultural extension agent for information on concentrations in your area. Alkali-based soils allow plants to absorb selenium to levels toxic to goats, causing "alkali disease." Certain "indicator" plants reveal a toxic level of selenium in the soil. Some species of Astragalus (locoweed) indicate the presence of high levels of soil-based selenium. Goats actually become addicted to these plants if they are not completely removed from this forage.

Symptoms of severe selenium toxicity include impaired vision and staggering ("blind staggers"), rear legs which won't support the body, then muscle weakness in the front legs, and progressive weight loss. Each of these symptoms can also be symptoms of other illnesses, so the producer should determine his area's selenium conditions in advance to avoid an incorrect diagnosis. Once a goat has severe selenium toxicity, there is no known effective treatment. Removing the affected animal from the area where the problem occurred and performing supportive therapy is the best chance of saving the goat. Goats affected by selenium toxicity remain bright, alert, and are eating well up to the time of death.

I suspect whoever aborted the kids used a dewormer that will cause abortions during pregnancy -either levamisole or  Valbazen can cause abortions as well as birth defects as well used in the first trimester of pregnancy - I have always used Ivomec PLUS  injected - safely in pregnant does and without issues.  - the only True way of knowing the  parasite situation is to have a fecal test done by your vet - using the famacha eye chart is good for checking individual or  herd wide situations  for parasites that routinely cause anemia - as it will show up in the color of the inner eyelid membrane.

Hope this helps answer your concerns -  


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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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