Ketosis and Pregnancy Toxemia in Goats

What is Ketosis and Pregnancy Toxemia in goats?

According to Dr. Mikelle Roeder, Ph. D., Multi-species Nutritionist at Purina Mills, Inc:

Pregnancy toxemia and ketosis pose threats to goat health during late gestation and early lactation. These diseases are often seen in high milk producing animals. Proper Nutrition and management during and after gestation helps reduce the risk of these goat’s health challenges. 

Causes of pregnancy toxemia and ketosis

Pregnancy toxemia and ketosis typically occur during late-term pregnancy and at the onset of lactation. During this life stage, goats need considerable nutritional energy. Energy requirements are compounded in a doe carrying multiple fetuses because the kids compress the rumen and the doe simply cannot be physically easy enough to meet energy needs. Consequently, the doe must call on body fat reserves for energy. The breakdown of large amounts of fat can result in compounds called ketones in the blood. Ketones can have a toxic effect in large concentrations.

Early symptoms of pregnancy toxemia and ketosis in goats include apathy, poor appetite, a decrease in milk production (if the goat is milking), a rough hair coat and disorientation. 

How to manage ketosis and pregnancy toxemia in goats

Feed more energy to the late-term pregnant and early-lactation doe to help address ketosis and pregnancy toxemia. When fed in the right amount, grain is much higher in energy compared to forages and will take up less room in the rumen. Gradually increase the grain portion of the diet and reduce the hay portion. If this is done too quickly the rumen ph could change rapidly and lead to more problems. Feeding some of the forage in pelleted form and providing more frequent. Smaller meals will help maintain dietary fiber levels in a lower volume of goat feed.

A small amount of fat (such as corn oil) in the goat feed will also help increase energy intake. Some producers give their does a little honey or molasses right after they give birth to provide immediate carbohydrate energy. Remember to consult your veterinarian before administering this type of feeding program to ensure optimal goat nutrition.

Keep good records so you know which ones are prone to ketosis or pregnancy toxemia. Some does sail through pregnancy and lactation without problems and might put on unneeded fat if given extra energy in their feed. 

Burns Feed Store stocks several processed goat feeds, pelletized forage products and baled hay for all of you goats nutritional needs.