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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Large Animal Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 21196
Experience:  As a veterinarian, I have been educated to treat all animals, big and small.
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I have a lactating doe that is very healthy looking except

Customer Question

I have a lactating doe that is very healthy looking except that she cannot put weight on and is too thin. She is fed alfalfa hay and pellets. She gets grain and noble goat and calf manna. She is a happy goat and good mom to her kid.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Large Animal Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.

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

Does she eat the extra food you are offering?

Did you test her for worms?

When was she last wormed? What did you use?

Has she had any scours?

Does she pass more urine then previously? Is it quite dilute or watery?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
No scours (diarrhea). Stools and urine are fine. I have not had stools tested and I have learned my lesson about worming all of my animals now. She eats everything! I am in a financial bind and most of the vets here are very expensive. Have never tested and do not know how for worms.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.

Thank you,

Again can you tell me the brand you used so I can make sure you wormed for all our suspects?

Are her gums pink or pale/white? (You can compare to the kids if you are not sure)?

And is she eating the extra you are feeding?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I did not worm her. She eats everything, including the extras. I checked her inner eye area and it is a pretty pink color.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.

Thank you again,

First, I would note that when we have does with great appetites that are failing to gain weight, we do have a few concerns. Generally speaking, we can divide these into 3 categories. These are conditions of reduce nutrition intake (not a problem here if she is eating well), conditions of increased losses (this is where diarrhea, protein loss via urine, and lactation fit), and losses from internal issues (worms being the most common at Rascal's age, but also can be related to organ/metabolic/tumor based issues).

Now with that all in mind, its good that we can remove feed intake, GI disease, and urinary protein losses from our list of concerns. As well, again at her age tumors and organ issues would also be less likely here. And that does give us a good place to start.

That all said, first and foremost, it is important to appreciate that one major source of her nutrition loss here will be her kid. It is uncommon for this to lead to severe weight loss, but in animals with ongoing issues it can be enough to push them over the edge. Therefore, I do have to note that if her weight loss is dire, we may need to wean this little one early or supplement the kid's feeds to reduce the toll lactation is taking on its mum. Because if we can reduce her lactation outputs that will translate to more nutrition she can keep to manage her own body and halt her weight loss.

Further to this, I do appreciate that you were not suspicious of worms with her fecal quality. Still, given her age, her post-parturition stage (where worm burdens notoriously spike due to her having reduce immunity), and the lack of other loss sources; worms and flukes would be the number one suspect here. Therefore, if would be prudent to worm her with a product that also covers against liver fluke. Not doing so would really be missing a major step in this situation. If you were not keen to worm unless you must, then a fecal sample needs to be tested. If costs are an issue (though parasite fecal egg testing doesn't tend to be very costly and you can just take a sample in for testing without the cost of having her seen) and you can get access to a microscope, this is something you can potentially do. To read more about checking stool samples for signs of worms, you will find a great resource HERE.

Finally, since we cannot totally rule out metabolic disease and organ dysfunction, I would note that if the above didn't tackle her signs, then we'd have to consider a blood sample and vet exam. I's note that it does rarely get to that stage since the above tend to be our most common culprits and addressing those tend to be all we need to do. But it would be the next step if she were an unlucky lass with a genetic, birth based, or acquired organ issue. But again the above are our main suspects and what we need to be addressing for weight loss in the young otherwise healthy lactating doe.

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best,

Dr. B.

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Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Since she is in milk what wormer would you suggest using for worms and liver flukes? Also how long before I can use her milk again after worming?
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.

Hi again,

I'd lean to using Ivomec Plus here. She can keep feeding her kid while under treatment and if you use an oral preparation, the milk withdrawal is 11 days (where its 25 day for injectable).
All the best,

Dr. B.

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If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need as this is how I am credited for assisting you today. Thank you! : )