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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Large Animal Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16303
Experience:  As a veterinarian, I have been educated to treat all animals, big and small.
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My baby goats are dying one at a time, they are 1 week old,

Customer Question

my baby goats are dying one at a time, they are 1 week old
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about goats?
Customer: we are in upstate NY so the weather is cold. 2 goats gave birth. one had baby a week ago and all 3 was fine until today. the other had 2 kids and the both died the next morning.
Submitted: 18 days ago.
Category: Large Animal Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 18 days ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

What type of shelter do they have access to? What heat source?

Are they feeding and getting colostrum?

Are their gums pale/white or pink?

Have any of these had scours/diarrhea?

What are their mothers vaccinated against?

Customer: replied 18 days ago.
Its an enclosed barn with hay bales around their particular enclosure. The ones that were born last week were feeding fine. didn't notice any diary and the mothers weren't vaccinated. I don't want them vaccinated.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 18 days ago.

Thank you,

Now when we see sudden death in kids this age, we have a few concerns and the initial focus needs to be on narrowing down potential differentials. To start, since multiple non-related kids were affected, we’d exclude birth defects. Also at their age toxicities would be less likely. Furthermore, as there was no mention of these kids being weak/poorly thriving at birth, we’d be less wary of disease contracted directly from mum.

With those aside, common causes we would need to consider would be hypoglycemia from poor feeding (less likely here), hypothermia (a concern given your weather), nutritional issues (less likely if the mums are on good feed and in good condition) but also bacterial and viral infections (protozoal and parasitic lower on the list in this case). Though further to that the kids aren’t giving us a lot to go on. Though with sudden death and given those lack of signs, this does actually raise serious concerns for those acute virulent issues like the clostridial bacterial species. These can cause mild issues like diarrhea but a number of this group are notorious for enterotoxaemia and sudden death. So, those would be our topic infectious concern and something that could target the kids alone and not affect their mother.

With these in mind, to start, we need to make sure that we monitor the temperature in barn and consider offering a heat lamp or supplementary heating to exclude hypothermia from our concerns. Otherwise, if you aren’t keen for prophylactic vaccination then we’d be best to consider submitting one of the recently deceased kids for post mortem. If you speak to the vet, they may be able to perform the autopsy in the practice. Alternatively, if you live near a vet school, agricultural college or veterinary lab, they will also be able to provide this service. The pathologist will be able to examine the internal organs for hints of which agent has induced this outbreak. If they cannot find an obvious gross cause of her death, they can collect samples to submit to the lab for the pathologists to evaluate. The pathologists will be able to examine the tissues under the microscope and determine the causative agent that lead to her death. As well, if bacterial or viral causes are suspected with their exam, these can be cultured to determine what is present and what treatments will effectively clear this from the flock. This will both give you closure on these sudden losses, but also help you know if this is something that threatens the whole group. And once you know the causative agent, you will be able to protect them effectively.

Overall, we do have some serious concerns for these acute deaths without overt signs. Therefore, an autopsy would be our next step here to pinpoint the root cause and ensure we can properly protect any other kids.

Kind regards,

Dr. B.

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