Diseases of The Goat - John G. Matthews - ebook

Diseases of The Goat ebook

John G. Matthews

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Diseases of The Goat, 4th Edition, is a revised and updated edition of the popular tool for veterinarians featuring of all aspects of goat medicine--from initial assessment and examination to diagnosis, treatment, and control of conditions. This highly practical, concise handbook is designed for frequent reference, and is suitable for all those treating and keeping goats. * Provides information on to predators, euthanasia, post-mortem technique, and fracture repair * Includes expanded coverage of a number of topics to appeal to a wider and more international audience especially in relation to poisonous plants * Incorporates the impact of new developments in goat diseases, such as the geographical spread of exotic diseases into new regions

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Table of Contents

Cover

Title Page

Copyright

Preface to the fourth edition

Acknowledgements

Author's note

Chapter 1: Female infertility

The normal female goat

Investigation of female infertility

Initial assessment

Assessment of individual doe

Individual infertility problems

False pregnancy (hydrometra, cloudburst)

Irregular oestrus cycles (see Table 1.3)

Regular oestrus cycles (see Table 1.4)

Pregnancy diagnosis

Use of prostaglandins

Control of the breeding season

Further reading

General

Caprine herpes virus

Control of the breeding season

Fetal age determination and sexing

Hydrometra

Hydrops uteri

Intersexes

Laparoscopy

Ultrasonography

Chapter 2: Abortion

Initial advice to owners

Initial assessment

Clinical examination

Laboratory investigation

Infectious causes of abortion

Enzootic abortion (chlamydial abortion)

Toxoplasmosis

Listeriosis

Campylobacter (vibriosis)

Q-fever

Leptospirosis

Salmonellosis

Tickborne fever

Border disease (hypomyelinogenesis congenita, hairy shaker disease)

Brucellosis

Neosporosis

Sarcocystosis

Other organisms

Non-infectious causes

Further reading

General

Border disease

Brucellosis

Campylobacter

Caprine herpes virus

Chlamydial abortion

Neosporosis

Plant poisoning

Q-fever

Tickborne fever

Toxoplasmosis

Yersinia pseudotuberculosis

Chapter 3: Male infertility

Investigation of male infertility

Initial assessment

Assessment of individual buck

Scrotum

Testes

Penis/prepuce

Paraphimosis

Examination of semen

Individual buck problems

Further reading

General

Gynaecomastia

Semen quality and examination

Ultrasonography

Chapter 4: The periparturient goat

The dry period

Management during late pregnancy

Feeding during late gestation

Feeding in early lactation

Periparturient toxaemia

Hypocalcaemia (milk fever)

Abortion

Dead kids without immediate abortion

Vaginal prolapse

Evisceration through a vaginal tear

Rectal prolapse

Uterine torsion

Rupture of the prepubic tendon

Normal parturition

Prolonged gestation

Dystocia

Hypocalcaemia (milk fever)

Hypomagnesaemia

Transit tetany

Trauma to the vulva

Metritis

Endometritis

Pyometra

Retained placenta

Retained kid

Rupture of the uterus

Ruptured uterine artery

Uterine prolapse

Urine scald

Mastitis

Laminitis

Further reading

General

Caesarian section

Dystocia

Fluid therapy

Nutrition

Prenatal stress

Pregnancy toxaemia

Rectal prolapse

Vaginal prolapse

Chapter 5: Weak kids

Initial assessment

Clinical examination

Prematurity/low birth weight

Birth injury

Intrauterine malnutrition

Trace element deficiencies

Congenital infections

Inherited diseases

Congenital defects

Post-natal malnutrition

Post-natal infections

Exposure

Further reading

General

Colostrum

Congenital heart disease

Copper disorders

Floppy kid syndrome

Neurogenetic disorders

Portosystemic shunt

Chapter 6: Inadequate growth rate

Initial assessment

Clinical examination

Laboratory investigations

Post-mortem examination

Pre-natal growth

Birth to weaning

Poor growth in individual kids <4 weeks being reared on their mother

Poor growth in groups of kids <4 weeks being reared on their mother

Poor growth in groups of kids <4 weeks being artificially reared

Poor growth from 4 weeks to weaning

Poor growth after weaning

Further reading

General

Chapter 7: Lameness in adult goats

Initial assessment

Clinical examination

Further assessment

Treatment

Non-infectious diseases of the foot

Infectious diseases of the foot

Lameness above the foot

Accident or trauma

Carpal hygroma

Osteopetrosis

Osteoporosis

Enzootic calcinosis

Degenerative arthritis (osteoarthritis)

Caprine arthritis encephalitis

Lyme disease

Tumour

Exotic causes of lameness

Further reading

General

Caprine arthritis encephalitis

Caprine digital dermatitis

Footrot

Osteoporosis

Septic pedal arthritis

Surgery

Tumour

White line disease

Chapter 8: Lameness in kids

Trauma

Congenital abnormalities

Infections

Nutritional causes

Further reading

General

Arthrogryposis hydranencephaly syndrome

Erysipelas

Fracture repair

Mycoplasma

Osteodystrophia fibrosa

Patella luxation

Selenium deficiency

Selenium toxicity

Spastic paresis

Chapter 9: Chronic weight loss

Initial assessment

Clinical examination

Primary nutritional deficiency

Trace element deficiency

Inability to utilise available foodstuffs

Unwillingness to utilise available foodstuffs

Inability to increase feed intake to match production demands

Interference with absorption of nutrients/loss of nutrients

Johne's disease (paratuberculosis)

Liver disease

Interference with rumen/intestinal mobility

Presence of chronic disorders

Pruritic conditions

Further reading

General

Condition scoring

Dentition

Foreign body

Johne's disease

Liver fluke

Nutrition

Periparturient toxaemia

Chapter 10: External swellings

Throat swellings

Other swellings around the head and neck

Body swellings

Leg swellings

Further reading

General

Bluetongue

Caseous lymphadenitis

Dentigerous cyst

Developmental cysts

Hypothyroidism

Lymphosarcoma

Orf

Thymic hyperplasia

Thymoma

Chapter 11: Skin disease

Initial assessment

Clinical examination

Laboratory investigation

Treatment of external parasites

Pruritic skin disease

Non-pruritic skin disease

Skin disease presenting as swellings

Further reading

General

Blowfly strike

Ectoparasites

Malignant catarrhal fever

Malassezia

Pemphigus foliaceus

Pygmy goat dermatitis

Chapter 12: Nervous diseases

Initial assessment

Clinical examination

Treatment

Neonatal kids

(Table 12.3; see also Chapter 5)

Kids up to 1 month old

(Table 12.3)

Kid mentally alert

Kid mentally impaired

Kids 2 to 7 months old

(Table 12.3)

Older kids, goatlings and adult

(Table 12.5)

Infectious disease

Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs)

Metabolic disease

Space-occupying lesions of the brain

Space-occupying lesions of the spinal cord

Trauma

Vestibular disease

Hepatic encephalopathy

Poisonings

Epilepsy

Further reading

General

ß-Mannosidosis

Botulism

Caprine arthritis encephalitis

Cerebrocortical necrosis

Cerebrospinal fluid

Coenuriasis

Disbudding meningoencephalitis

Ear mites

Enzootic ataxia

Focal symmetrical encephalomalacia

Hepatic encephalopathy

Listeriosis

Louping ill

Malignant catarral fever

Meningitis

Metabolic and nutritional diseases

Oestrus ovis

Parasitic disease

Pituitary abscess syndrome

Rhodococcus equi

infection

Transmissable spongiformencephalopathies

Tickborne diseases

Tumour

West Nile virus

Chapter 13: Diseases of the mammary gland

Mastitis

Clinical mastitis

Mycoplasmal mastitis

Dry-goat therapy

Drying off

The milking machine and mastitis

Preventing and controlling mastitis

Antibiotic screening tests

High bacteria counts in milk

‘Hard udder’

Udder oedema

Trauma to the udder

Abscesses

Fibrous scar tissue

Pustular dermatitis of the udder

Fly bites

Tumours

Orf

Maiden milkers

‘Witch's milk’

Milking males (gynaecomastia)

Milk problems

Milk leakage (‘weeping teats’)

Cystic dilation of the teat sinuses

Investigation of milk taint (Figure 13.1)

Self-sucking

Teat abnormalities

Further reading

Cystic dilation

Gynaecomastia

Machine milking

Mastectomy

Mastitis

Milk hygiene

Milk taint

Probiotics

Self-suckling

Somatic cell counts

Teat biting

Udder conditions

Ultrasonography

Chapter 14: Diarrhoea

Initial assessment

Clinical examination

Laboratory investigation

Treatment of kids

Treatment of older goats

Birth to 4 weeks

Viral diarrhoea

From 4 to 12 weeks

Older kids and adult goats

Further reading

General

Clostridial disease

Coccidiosis

Cryptosporidiosis/giardiasis

Fluid therapy

Helminthiasis

Rumen fluke

Chapter 15: Colic

Initial assessment

Further investigations

Examination of rumen contents

Clinical signs of colic

Colic in adult goats

Ruminal tympany

Enterotoxaemia (

Clostridium perfringens

type D, pulpy kidney disease)

Urolithiasis

Liver disease

Toxic minerals

Fertiliser ingestion

Post-kidding problems

Peritonitis

Cystitis

Uterine tumours

Uterine torsion

Plant poisoning

Colic in kids

Abomasal bloat

Ruminal bloat

Mesenteric torsion

Coccidiosis

Diarrhoea

Clostridium perfringens

type D (enterotoxaemia)

Urolithiasis

Visceral cysticercosis

Plant poisoning

Further reading

Clinical procedures and ultrasonography

Copper poisoning

Enterotoxaemia

Leiomyoma

Liver disease

Ruminal acidosis

Urolithiasis

Chapter 16: Abdominal distension

Initial assessment

Further investigations

Adult goats

Ruminal distension

Abomasal distension

Distension related to pregnancy and the reproductive tract

Ventral hernia

Ascites

Abdominal tumours

Ruptured bladder (urolithiasis)

Kids from birth to 1 week old

Older kids

Further reading

Displaced abomasum

Chapter 17: Respiratory disease

Initial assessment

Clinical examination

Radiographic examination of the thorax

Ultrasonographic examination of the thorax

Endoscopy

Nasal discharge

Cough

Sinusitis

Infectious respiratory disease

Bacteria

Viruses

Laboratory investigation of infectious respiratory disease

Treatment of infectious respiratory diseases

Control of infectious respiratory diseases

Parasites

Fungi

Airway obstruction

Inhalation pneumonia

Trauma

Heat stress

Allergic alveolitis

Neoplasia

Other conditions producing respiratory signs as part of a clinical syndrome

Further reading

General

Aspergillosis

Cryptococcus

Endoscopy

Enzootic nasal tumours

Housing and ventilation

Lungworms

Mycoplasma

Peste de petit-ruminants (PPR)

Tracheal wash

Tuberculosis

Ultrasonography

Chapter 18: Anaemia

Initial assessment

Clinical examination

Laboratory investigation

Treatment

Helminthiasis

Protozoal causes

Bacterial causes

Plant poisoning

External parasites

Trauma

Cow colostrum

Mineral deficiencies

Mineral poisoning

Protein deficiency

Chronic disease

Rapid changes in plasma osmolality

Congenital disease

Further reading

General

Anaplasma

Fluid therapy

Haemonchosis

Leptospirosis

Chapter 19: Sudden death, post-mortem examination and euthanasia

Initial assessment

Examination of the carcase

Post-mortem examination

Sudden death in kids

Sudden death in adult goats

Euthanasia

Further reading

General

Euthanasia

Post-mortem examinations

Predators

Transport of casualty animals

Chapter 20: Eye disease

Non-infectious conjunctivitis

Infectious keratoconjunctivitis

Foreign bodies

Corneal trauma

Entropion

Tumours of the eyelids

Exophthalmos

Photosensitisation

Blindness

Cyclopia

Normal ophthalmic diagnostic test values

Further reading

Drugs

General

Exophthalmos

Keratoconjunctivitis

Mycoplasma

Ophthalmic examination and diagnostic test values

Reflexes

Surgery

Tumours

Ultrasonography

Chapter 21: Plant poisoning

Is it plant poisoning?

If plant poisoning is suspected

Finding information on poisonous plants

Clinical signs of plant poisoning

Plants affecting milk

Treatment of plant poisoning

Specific plant poisoning

Cardiotoxic plants

Other cardiotoxic plants

Plants containing grayanotoxins

Plants causing nephrotoxicity

Calcinogenic plants

Cyanogenic plants

Plants containing excess nitrites/nitrates

Plants causing anaemia

Plants causing bloody or dark urine (haematuria or haemoglobinuria)

Hepatotoxic plants

Plants causing diarrhoea

Plants toxic to the nervous system

Plants that cause abortions and fetal defects

Plants causing mechanical injury

Mycotoxins

Blue-green algae (cyanobacteria)

Further reading

General

Miscellaneous plant poisons

Fetal development

Milk

Mycotoxins

Neurological disease

Nitrate/nitrite poisoning

Photosensitisation

Chapter 22: The geriatric goat

Housing

Nutrition

Teeth

Arthritis

Further reading

Chapter 23: Herd health and biosecurity

Herd health plans

Preventing exposure to disease

Existing herds

Other biosecurity measures

Identification of disease already on the farm

Control of chronic infectious diseases

Official health schemes and disease-free acceditation

Chapter 24: Anaesthesia

Initial clinical examination

Injectable anaesthetic agents

Gaseous anaesthetic agents

Local anaesthetic agents

Paravertebral anaesthesia

Caudal (sacrococcygeal) epidural anaesthesia

Lumbosacral epidural anaesthesia

Local infiltration

Further reading

Chapter 25: Disbudding and dehorning

Anatomy

Disbudding of kids

Age

Selection of anaesthetic agent for disbudding kids

By intravenous injection into the cephalic or jugular vein

Analgesia

Equipment

Procedure

Descenting of kids

Dehorning of adult goats

Descenting of adult goats

Further reading

Chapter 26: Surgical techniques

Considerations before surgery

Pre- and post-operative pain management

Castration

Umbilical hernias

Surgical treatment of obstructive urolithiasis

Vasectomy

Caesarian section

Exploratory laparotomy to examine the uterus and ovaries

Mastectomy

Teat injuries

Rumenotomy

Treating dog bite wounds

Fracture management

Cast application

Amputation of a digit

Eye enucleation

Further reading

Amputation of a digit

Analgesia

Caesarian section

Fracture management

General surgery

Mastectomy

Obstructive urolithiasis

Orthopaedics

Reproductive system

Teat surgery

Umbilical surgery

Appendix: Drugs for goats

Drug doses

Administration of drugs

Anaesthetics, sedatives and pre-medications

Analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs

Anthelmintics

Drugs for flukes (trematodes)

Drugs for tapeworms (cestodes)

Antibiotics

Anticonvulsants

Coccidiosis

Drugs acting on the digestive tract

External parasites

Fertility

Fungal treatments

Further reading

Anatomy

Fluid therapy

Haematology and biochemistry

Management

Medicine and surgery

Nutrition

Pain

Reproduction

Index

Supplemental Images

End User License Agreement

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Guide

Cover

Table of Contents

Preface to the fourth edition

Begin Reading

List of Illustrations

Chapter 1: Female infertility

Figure 1.1 Causes of female infertility.

Figure 1.2 Biparietal diameter and gestational age of goats (from Haibel

et al

., 1989).

Figure 1.3 Induction of parturition.

Chapter 3: Male infertility

Figure 3.1 Causes of male infertility.

Chapter 4: The periparturient goat

Figure 4.1 Buhner suture.

Chapter 7: Lameness in adult goats

Figure 7.1 Weak pasterns. (a) Superficial digital flexor tendon weakness; (b) superficial and deep digital flexor tendons, weak or ruptured; (c) flexor tendons and suspensory ligament ruptured.

Chapter 9: Chronic weight loss

Figure 9.1 Lumbar score.

Figure 9.2 Sternal score.

Figure 9.3 Dentition and time of eruption (from Owen, 1977).

Chapter 13: Diseases of the mammary gland

Figure 13.1 Identification of the cause of milk taint (after Mews, 1987).

Chapter 19: Sudden death, post-mortem examination and euthanasia

Figure 19.1 Captive-bolt stunning.

Chapter 24: Anaesthesia

Figure 24.1 (a) Paravertebral block. (b) Caudal epidural block.

Figure 24.2 (a) Inverted L block and (b) local anaesthetic for dehorning.

Chapter 25: Disbudding and dehorning

Figure 25.1 Incision line for scent gland removal.

Chapter 26: Surgical techniques

Figure 26.1 Treatment of obstructive urolithiasis.

List of Tables

Chapter 1: Female infertility

Table 1.1 Reproduction in the goat

Table 1.2 Causes of anoestrus

Table 1.3 Irregular oestrus cycles

Table 1.4 Regular oestrus cycles

Table 1.5 Techniques available for pregnancy diagnosis in the doe

Table 1.6 Abnormal finding on ultrasonographic examination of the uterus

Table 1.7 Transabdominal ultrasound scanning for pregnancy diagnosis

Table 1.8 Correlation of fetal length with age of fetus

Table 1.9 Methods for controlling oestrus cycles

Table 1.10 Regimes for sponging goats

Table 1.11 Serum gonadotrophin treatments for sponged goats

Table 1.12 Optimum time for artificial insemination following sponge removal

Chapter 2: Abortion

Table 2.1 Causes of abortion

Table 2.2 Timing of abortion

Table 2.3 Chlamydial abortion in goats compared to sheep

Chapter 3: Male infertility

Table 3.1 Normal semen characteristics

Table 3.2 Visual appraisal of semen density

Table 3.3 Semen motility

Chapter 4: The periparturient goat

Table 4.1 Problems with over and under feeding

Table 4.2 Routine husbandry tasks before kidding

Table 4.3 Feeding in late pregnancy

Table 4.4 Feeding in early lactation

Table 4.5 Periparturient toxicosis

Table 4.6 Drugs used in the periparturient goat

Table 4.7 Fluid loss and associated clinical signs

Table 4.8 Maternal causes of dystocia

Table 4.9 Fetal causes of dystocia

Chapter 6: Inadequate growth rate

Table 6.1 Milk replacer for rearing female dairy kids

Table 6.2 Feed schedule for 12 week weaning

Table 6.4 Feed schedule for 10 week weaning (Mowlem, 1984)

Table 6.5 Target weights for dairy goats

Table 6.6

Target weights for fibre and meat goats

. From Thompson (1990)

Chapter 7: Lameness in adult goats

Table 7.1 InjecTable NSAIDs.

Table 7.2 Oral NSAIDs.

Table 7.3 Care of the goat's foot

Table 7.4 Foot trimming procedures

Table 7.5 Footbath guidelines

Table 7.6 Reducing the impact of infectious foot disease.

Table 7.7 Differential diagnosis of FMD lesions

Chapter 9: Chronic weight loss

Table 9.1 Differential diagnosis for chronic weight loss

Table 9.2 Daily requirements for energy and protein

Table 9.3 Fascioliasis

Chapter 10: External swellings

Table 10.1 Control of caseous lymphadentitis in an infected herd

Chapter 11: Skin disease

Table 11.1 Distribution of lesions

Table 11.2 External parasites causing skin disease

Table 11.3 Treatment of external parasites

Chapter 12: Nervous diseases

Table 12.1 Nervous diseases

Table 12.2 Normal values for cerebrospinal fluid

Table 12.3 Nervous disease in kids

Table 12.4 Localisation of spinal cord lesions

Table 12.5 Causes of nervous disease in older kids, goatlings and adults

Chapter 13: Diseases of the mammary gland

Table 13.1 Factors affecting the somatic cell count

Table 13.2 Difference in milk secretion and somatic cells between the goat and the cow

Table 13.3 California mastitis test

Table 13.4 Investigating a mastitis problem or high somatic cell count

Table 13.5 Milking machine settings

Table 13.6 Sensitivities of antibiotic tests to EU MRLs

Table 13.7 Investigating antibiotic residues in milk

Table 13.8 Avoiding residues in milk

Table 13.9 Investigating high bacteria counts in milk

Chapter 14: Diarrhoea

Table 14.1 Fluid loss and associated clinical signs of diarrhoea

Table 14.2 Amount of fluid required for 5 kg with 5% fluid loss

Table 14.3 Causes of diarrhoea

Table 14.4 Helminth parasites of goats in the UK (after Taylor, 2006)

Table 14.5 Groups of broadspectrum anthelmintics

Table 14.6 Smart drenching programme

Table 14.7 Coccidia species found in goats in the UK

Chapter 15: Colic

Table 15.1 Estimation of base deficit

Table 15.2 Estimation of bicarbonate deficit

Table 15.3 Vaccination regime for clostridial disease

Table 15.4 Causes of colic in kids

Chapter 16: Abdominal distension

Table 16.1 Abdominal distension in adult goats

Table 16.2 Abdominal distension in kids

Chapter 17: Respiratory disease

Table 17.1 Differential diagnosis for nasal discharge

Table 17.2 Differential diagnosis for cough

Table 17.3 Differential diagnosis for dyspnoea

Table 17.4 Indications for endoscopy

Table 17.5

Mycoplasma

spp. involved in caprine disease

Table 17.6 Factors associated with respiratory disease

Table 17.7 SuiTable environmental conditions for goats

Chapter 18: Anaemia

Table 18.1 Red blood cell parameters

Table 18.2 Type of anaemia and possible aetiology

Table 18.3 Cause of anaemia and possible aetiology (after Bennett, 1983)

Table 18.4 Blood transfusion.

Chapter 19: Sudden death, post-mortem examination and euthanasia

Table 19.1 Some common autolytic/agonal changes

Table 19.2 Post-mortem examination of goats found dead

Table 19.3 Chemical levels in aqueous and vitreous humour

Table 19.4 Predators

Chapter 20: Eye disease

Table 20.1 Normal ophthalmic diagnostic test values

Chapter 21: Plant poisoning

Table 21.1 Clinical signs of plant poisoning

Table 21.2 Plant toxins excreted through milk

Table 21.3 Plants that can taint milk

Table 21.4 Plants affecting milk causing a reduction in milk yield

Chapter 22: The geriatric goat

Table 22.1 InjecTable NSAIDs

Table 22.2 Oral NSAIDs

Chapter 23: Herd health and biosecurity

Table 23.1 Rearing kids on farms with chronic infectious diseases

Chapter 24: Anaesthesia

Table 24.1 Physiological parameters

Table 24.2 Premedicants and sedatives

Table 24.3 Anaesthetic drugs

Chapter 26: Surgical techniques

Table 26.1 Clinical signs of post-operative pain

Table 26.2 Opioid analgesics

Table 26.3 InjecTable NSAIDs licensed for food-producing animals in the United Kingdom

Table 26.4 Castration of kids

Table 26.5 Comparison of surgical techniques in treatment of obstructive urolithiasis

Table 26.6 The pros and cons of left flank and ventral midline laparatomy

Table 26.7 Choice of anaesthesia for caesarian section

Table 26.8 Fracture splinting

Table 26.9 SuiTable orthopaedic procedures for caprine fractures

Diseases of the goat

 

John Matthews BSc BVMS MRCVS

Chalk Street Services Ltd, The LimesChelmsford, Essex, UK

 

4th Edition

 

 

 

 

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Cover image: © inset images 2,3 and 4 courtesy of Peter Cox LRPS, CPAGB

Preface to the fourth edition

It is now 25 years since the first edition of Diseases of the Goat was published as Outline of Clinical Diagnosis of the Goat and 7 years since the third edition was published. The original concept was to provide a reasonably priced text that would provide useful and practical information for veterinary surgeons, whether they were in farm animal, mixed or small animal practice, and that would also be of use to students and goatkeepers. Despite the plethora of information that is now available on the Internet, I still believe that the book provides a valuable source of information that is readily accessible, whether kept in the car, surgery or on the farm.

The identification of a new disease in ruminants throughout Northern Europe, caused by Schmallenberg virus, which followed the arrival of blue tongue virus earlier in the century, and outbreaks of tuberculosis, long thought by British goatkeepers to be of no importance in goats, which occurred in both commercial and show herds, emphasised the fact that no country is an island, let alone an individual farm, so I have included more information on exotic diseases in this edition. In response to requests from readers of the third edition, I have expanded the chapter on poisonous plants to make it more relevant for readers out-with the United Kingdom and included information on predators, euthanasia, post-mortem techniques and fracture repair. As in the previous editions, I have tried to include new references that are likely to be relevant to the veterinarian in practice and updated the information throughout the book.

I hope that this new edition will continue to provide general practitioners with the support they need when dealing with caprine patients.

Acknowledgements

As with the previous editions, I am extremely grateful to my wife Hilary, who has provided encouragement and support during the compilation of this edition and given valuable advice on goat husbandry.

Tony Andrews, David Harwood, Peter Jackson, Katherine Anzuino and Leigh Sullivan have supplied photographs that are reproduced with their permission and I am pleased to acknowledge their contribution and that of their colleagues involved with the clinical cases to which they relate. Peter Cox supplied photographs for the cover.

I am pleased to acknowledge the contribution of the many members of the Goat Veterinary Society and the American Association of Small Ruminant Practioners, whose tips and advice, which they have willingly shared with other veterinary surgeons and goatkeepers, I have incorporated in this edition.

Author's note

For many medical conditions, there are no drugs available that are specifically licensed for use in goats. Dose rates are quoted in the book for many unlicensed drugs. These drug rates have been obtained from published reports, data held on file by the drug manufacturers and from personal experience. Whenever possible, the clinician should use drugs that carry a full product licence, both for goats and for the condition being treated. In all cases where unlicensed drugs are used, milk should not be used for human consumption for a minimum of 7 days and meat for a minimum of 28 days following the administration of the drug. Not all the drugs mentioned have a current licence for food-producing animals in the United Kingdom. It is the reader's responsibility to ensure that he/she is legally entitled to use any drug mentioned.

Chapter 1Female infertility

The normal female goat

In temperate regions, female goats are seasonally polyoestrus. Most goats are totally anoestrus in the northern hemisphere between March and August, although fertile matings have been recorded in all months of the year. Anglo-Nubian and pygmy goats in particular have extremely long breeding seasons. Recently imported goats from the southern hemisphere may take time to adjust to a new seasonality. The breeding season is initiated largely in response to decreasing day length, but is also dependent on temperature, the environment (particularly nutrition) and the presence of a male. Decreasing day length also stimulates reproductive activity in the buck. Table 1.1 details the reproductive aspects of the goat.

Table 1.1 Reproduction in the goat

Breeding season

September to March (northern hemisphere)

Puberty

5 months

Age at first service

4 to 6 months (male)7 to 18 months (female)

Oestrus cycle

19 to 21 days (dairy goats)18 to 24 days (Pygmy goats)

Duration of oestrus

24 to 96 hours (usually 36 to 40 hours)

Ovulation

24 to 48 hours after start of oestrus

Gestation length

150 days (145 to 156 days)

Weight at first mating

60–70% of predicted adult weight∼30 kg for meat goats30–40 kg for dairy goats

Investigation of female infertility

Because of the seasonal pattern of breeding, infertility must be investigated as early as possible in the breeding season.

The investigation of female infertility in the goat presents major difficulties when compared with the cow because of the inability to palpate the ovaries and because of the seasonal pattern of breeding – does are often presented towards the end of the season, limiting the time available for remedial measures. Figure 1.1 lists possible causes of infertility in the doe.

Figure 1.1 Causes of female infertility.

Initial assessment

The preliminary history should consider:

Individual or herd/flock problem.

Feeding, including mineral supplementation.

Management practices – hand-mating, artificial insemination (AI), buck running with does.

Disease status of herd/flock.

If there is a herd problem, investigate:

Male infertility (

Chapter 3

).

Intercurrent disease – parasitism, footrot, etc.

Nutritional status – energy or protein deficit, mineral deficiency (phosphorus, copper, iodine, manganese).

Stress – overcrowding, recent grouping of goats.

Poor heat detection.

Services at incorrect time.

Assessment of individual doe

General assessment

Conformation.

Body condition.

Dentition.

Clinical examination.

Any obvious clinical signs such as debility, anaemia or lameness should be investigated and corrected where possible before commencing specific therapy aimed at correcting a reproductive disorder.

In the UK overfeeding is probably a greater cause of infertility than poor condition.

Specific examination

Specific examination of the reproductive and mammary systems. Include, where necessary, examination of the vagina and cervix with a speculum to identify anatomical abnormalities.

Specific history

Date of last kidding/stage of lactation.

Daily milk yield.

Presence or absence of obvious oestrus signs.

Length of oestrus cycles.

Date of last service.

Willingness to stand for male.

Kidding difficulties last time – malpresentation/manipulation, metritis, retained placenta, abortion, mummified fetus, stillbirths.

Further investigations

Specific laboratory tests:

Progesterone assay

Oestrone sulphate assay

Bacteriological examination of vaginal or uterine samples

Feed analysis

Real-time ultrasound scanning

Laparoscopy or laparotomy.

Individual infertility problems

Individual infertility problems will generally fall into one of four categories:

1

Difficulty at service

.

2

Anoestrus.

3

Irregular oestrus cycles

.

4

Regular oestrus cycles

.

Difficulty at service

Doe not in season.

Doe scared – common with maiden animals, particularly if a large buck is used on a small doe.

Persistent hymen or vaginal constriction.

Anoestrus

Always consider the possibility of an undetected pregnancy (even if the owner insists that no mating has occurred) before attempting treatment, particularly with prostaglandins.

The causes of anoestrus are listed in Table 1.2 and discussed below.

Seasonal

. Most goats are totally anoestrus between March and August.

Pregnancy

.

Poor heat detection

.

Table 1.2 Causes of anoestrus

Seasonal

Pregnancy

Poor heat detection

Malnutrition

Post-kidding anoestrus

Lactational anoestrus

Adhesions following surgery

Hydrometra

Intersex

Freemartin

Ovarian malfunction

Although some dairy goats show only minor behavioural changes during oestrus, oestrus detection is generally easier than in Angora goats, with most does showing obvious signs of tail wagging, frequent bleating, urination near the buck, swelling of the vulva and a mucous vaginal discharge. The signs are generally accentuated in the presence of a male or even a ‘billy rag’, that is a cloth that has been rubbed on the head of a buck and stored in a sealed jar.

Oestrus can be determined visually by means of a speculum. At the onset of heat, the cervix changes from its normal white colour, becoming hyperaemic, and the cervical secretions are thin and clear. The secretions rapidly thicken, becoming grey/white and collecting on the floor of the vagina. Conception is best when mating occurs at the stage at which the cervical mucus is cloudy and the cervix is relaxed.

Unlike cows, most does will not stand to be ridden by other females even when in oestrus. Riding behaviour is sometimes seen as an expression of dominance in the herd or as part of the nymphomaniac behaviour of goats with cystic ovaries. Many young bucks will mount and serve females that are not in true standing oestrus if the female is restrained, although older bucks are more discriminating. The doe will stand to be mated only when she is in oestrus.

In the milking doe, a rise in milk production may occur 8 to 12 hours before the start of oestrus and milk production may fall below normal during oestrus.

When the buck is running with the flock or herd, sire harnesses with raddles or marker paste will aid oestrus detection. A marked vasectomised (‘teaser’) buck can be used to detect (and help initiate) the start of oestrus in a group of does.

Malnutrition

. An energy or protein deficit due either to poor nutrition or intercurrent disease may cause anoestrus. Deficiencies of minerals such as cobalt, selenium, manganese, zinc, phosphorus, iodine and copper and deficiencies of vitamins B12 and D are all reported to cause infertility.

Post-kidding anoestrus

. Many does will not show signs of oestrus for 3 months or more after kidding, even if kidding takes place during the normal breeding season.

Lactational anoestrus

. Some high yielding does do not exhibit marked signs of oestrus. These animals may respond to prostaglandin injections with careful observation for oestrus 24 to 48 hours later. Animals that do not respond may need a further injection 11 days later.

Adhesions following surgery

. The goat's reproductive tract is sensitive to handling and adhesions will occur unless very high standards of surgery are maintained during embryo transplant or other surgical procedures. Talc from surgical gloves will produce a marked tissue reaction.

False pregnancy (hydrometra, cloudburst)

False pregnancy occurs when aseptic fluid accumulates in the uterus in the absence of pregnancy, but in the presence of a persistent corpus luteum, which continues to secrete progesterone. The incidence of false pregnancies is fairly high, particularly in some strains of dairy goats and incidences of between 3 and 30% have been reported in commercial herds.

Aetiology

A persistent corpus luteum following an oestrus cycle in which pregnancy did not occur. This may occur in any sexually mature female but is particularly common in goats in their second year of a lactation (‘running through’) without being mated. Certain families seem prone to develop the condition.

A persistent corpus luteum following embryonic death with resorption of the embryo.

Occurrence is increased following use of progestagen sponges and treatment with equine chorionic gonadotrophin (eCG).

Clinical signs

The doe acts as if pregnant, with enlargement of the abdomen and a degree of udder development if not milking (

Plate 1.1

). Milking does may show a sharp drop in yield and this may result in a significant economic loss if the condition is not corrected.

Fetal fluids collect in the abdomen (

hydrometra

) and the doe may become enormously distended, although the amount of fluid varies from 1 to 7 litres or more.

When the hydrometra occurs following embryonic death, the false pregnancy generally persists for the full gestational length, or longer, before luteolysis occurs, progesterone secretion ceases and the fetal fluids are released (

cloudburst

). Some does milk adequately following a natural cloudburst.

When the false pregnancy occurs in a doe which has not been mated, the release of fluid often occurs in less than the normal gestation period, the doe may cycle again and a further false pregnancy may occur if she is not mated. Subsequent pregnancies are not generally affected, but the doe is likely to develop the condition again the following year. The expelled fluid is generally clear and mucoid. The vulva and perineum become moist and the tail sticky (

Plate 1.2

). Some goats that spontaneously cloudburst early, before a large amount of fluid has accumulated, have a bloody discharge. The abdomen decreases to a normal non-pregnant size and bedding appears wet. Some does continue to squirt small amounts of fluid for a couple of days and in fat does this could be confused with cystitis.

If the false pregnancy follows fetal death, fetal membranes and possibly a decomposed fetus are present; otherwise no fetal membranes are formed.

Diagnosis

Realtime ultrasound scanning of the right ventrolateral abdominal wall in early false pregnancy, or of either flank later, shows large fluid-filled hyperechoic compartments with the absence of fetuses or caruncles (

Plate 1.3

). The uterus is separated into compartments with thin tissue walls, which undulate when balloted. White flecks may be seen in the fluid. Scanning should take place at least 40 days after mating to avoid confusion with early pregnancy and is easier before 70 days.

Pyometras

(rare) also present as fluid filled uteri but are more hyperechoic.

Elevated milk or plasma progesterone levels are consistent with pregnancy, but with low milk or plasma oestrone sulphate levels at >45 days.

X-ray at 70–80 + days fails to show fetal skeletons in an anoestrus doe with a distended abdomen.

Pregnancy specific protein is negative in pseudopregnancy.

Treatment

As pseudopregnancy is maintained by the presence of a corpus luteum, treatment is by prostaglandin injection:

Dinaprost, 5–10 mg i.m.or s.c. or Clorprostenol, 62.5–125 µg i.m. or s.c.

Dinaprost has a direct effect on uterine muscle and may be preferable to clorprostenol.A second injection of prostaglandin 12 days after the first may cause evacuation of further uterine fluid and, it is suggested, may make the condition less likely to recur.

An oxytocin injection a few days after treatment with prostaglandin stimulates uterine contractions and aids involution:

Oxytocin, 2–10 units, 0.2–1.0 ml i.m. or s.c..

Pituitary extract (posterior lobe), 20–50 units, 2-5 ml i.m. or s.c. or 2–10 units, 0.2–1.0 ml i.m. (preferred) or s.c.

The prognosis for future fertility is good, with 85% of goats becoming pregnant if mated during the same breeding season.

Other conditions causing anoestrus

Hydrops uteri

. A false pregnancy may need to be distinguished from hydrops uteri. Hydrops uteri is an unusual condition of pregnant goats caused by an abnormal accumulation of fluid in either the amniotic (hydamnios) or allantoic (hydrallantois) sacs. Distension of the uterus is caused by accumulation of fluid, which may be greater than 10 litres, leading to bilateral, rapidly progressive abdominal distension. Other clinical signs, similar to those of pregnancy toxaemia, are a result of compression of other organs by the fluid – lethargy, inappetence, decreased defaecation, recumbency, tachycardia and dyspnoea.

Ultrasonography can be used to distinguish between false pregnancy (hydrometra), where the uterus is distended with fluid but no fetuses, membranes or cotyledons are present, and hydrops uteri, where fluid, fetuses, membranes and cotyledons are present. Most fetuses of animals with hydrops uteri have congenital defects and are underdeveloped, but may appear normal although not viable.

Treatment is by caesarian section or by induction of parturition with prostaglandins, but cardiovascular support with intravenous fluids should be provided because of the danger of hypotension from the sudden loss of large volumes of fluid.

Intersex (pseudohermaphrodite)

. An intersex is an animal that shows both male and female characteristics. In goats the dominant gene for absence of horns (polled condition) is associated with a recessive gene for intersex. Thus an intersex is normally polled with two polled parents. Intersex is a recessive sex-linked incompletely penetrant trait resulting from the breeding of two polled goats – intersex goats are homozygous for the polled (hornless) gene and homozygous for the intersex gene.

A mating between a homozygous (PP) polled male and a heterozygous (Pp) polled female will produce 50% intersexes; a mating between a heterozygous (Pp) polled male and a heterozygous (Pp) polled female will produce 25% intersexes. In theory, mating two homozygous (PP) polled animals should produce 100% intersexes, but the gene has incomplete penetrance.

Affected animals are genetically female with a normal female chromosome complement (60 XX), but phenotypically show great variation from phenotypic male (Plate 1.4) to phenotypic female (Plate 1.5). Some animals are obviously abnormal at birth with a normal vulva but enlarged clitoris or a penile clitoris. The gonads are generally testes or ovotestes, which may be abdominal or scrotal and phenotypic males may have a shortened penis (hypospadias), hypoplastic testes or sperm granuloma in the head of the epididymis. Other animals may reach maturity before being detected and may present as being anoestrus. A phenotypically female animal may have male characteristics due to internal testes.

Intersexes with female appearance are sometimes presented as kids or goatlings with a history of anoestrus. Although the vulva is normal, there is no true vagina or cervix, the clitoris may be enlarged and the anogenital distance may be > 3 cm. The presence or absence of a vagina of proper length should always be investigated in anoestrus kids. The absence of a vagina can be demonstrated by gently inserting a lubricated plastic rod, for example a ballpoint pen, into the vulva (Plates 1.6 and 1.7) or endoscopically. Care should be taken not to mistake a persistent hymen for a shortened vagina.

Intersexes with male appearance may have a penis or penis-like structure just below the anus. These animals may have urine scalding down their hind legs or have dysuria. Urine may accumulate in the perineal area causing dermatitis. In some cases, the urethra does not pass through the vestigial penis/clitoris and surgery may be required to establish an effective urethral opening. Localised hypospadia has been described in some cases.

Freemartins (XX/XY chimeras)

. Most female kids born co-twin to males are normal females, because placental fusion is much less common than in cattle. A freemartin is a female rendered sterile in utero when her placenta and that of her twin male fuses in early gestation, allowing vascular anastomosis between the allantoic membranes, exchange of cells and hormones between the two foetuses and XX/XY chimaerism. The developing genital tract of the female is influenced by the male and results in hypoplasia of the female gonads. A freemartin may be polled or horned. There is some evidence that the condition is slightly more common when the female shares the uterus with two or more male fetuses. Externally freemartins appear female but internally show a variable degree of masculinisation:

Heavy masculinisation, Gonads resemble testes and may contain tubules and interstitial tissue.

Light masculinisation. Oocytes have been found in the gonads.

Whole body chimera

. The rarest type of caprine intersex, which arises from the fusion of two embryos, produces a true hermaphrodite with an XX/XY karyotype and gonads of both sexes.

Ovarian malfunction

. Ovarian inactivity is poorly understood in the goat, but some anoestrus goats will respond to treatment with gonadotrophin releasing hormone [GnRH]:

Buserelin, 0.020 mg i.m., s.c. or i.v. or Gonadorellin, 0.5 mg i.m.

Other goats will respond to treatment with prostaglandins, suggesting a

persistent corpus luteum

or

luteinised cystic ovaries

.

Ultrasound scanning can be used to examine the ovaries but is not as easy as in cattle, because the reproductive tract cannot be manipulated manually so it is impossible to scan all the surfaces of the ovary. Both transrectal (using a lubricated 5 or 7.5 MHz linear transducer) or transabdominal (using a 5 MHz transducer) scanning can be carried out with the goat in a standing position. The bladder is located as a landmark and the transducer rotated to the left or right until the ovary is visualised. The ovary appears as a tissue-dense, circular to oblong structure cranial to the bladder. Follicles are non-echogenic fluid-filled structures that appear as black circular sacs.

Increased use of laparoscopic techniques may aid the diagnosis of these conditions.

Table 1.3 Irregular oestrus cycles

Long

Short

Embryonic death

Start/end of season

Silent oestrus

Normal kid behaviour

Persistent corpus luteum

Prostaglandins

Premature regression of the corpus luteum

Stress

Ovarian follicular cyst

Metritis

Mummified kid

Ovarian tumour

Irregular oestrus cycles (see Table 1.3)

Long oestrus cycles

Embryonic death

. Early embryonic death with loss of the corpus luteum will produce a subsequent return to oestrus following resorption of the embryonic material. Following embryonic death, a percentage of does will not return to oestrus but develop hydrometra.

Silent oestrus

. Some does will exhibit oestrus early in the season and then show no further oestrus signs for some months. These goats may be cycling silently and will respond to treatment with prostaglandins.

Persistent corpus luteum

. Failure of the corpus luteum to undergo luteolysis at the correct time will delay the return to oestrus. Treat with prostaglandins (see this chapter).

Short oestrus cycles (<18 to 21 days)

Short anovulatory cycles of about 7 days are common at the

start of the breeding season

and occasionally occur at the end of the breeding season.

Kids

commonly show short cycles during their first breeding season.

Very short oestrus cycles have been recorded following administration of

prostaglandins

to abort does. A normal oestrus pattern returns after 3 to 4 weeks.

Premature regression of the corpus luteum

is recognised as a problem in goats undergoing oestrus synchronisation for embryo transplant. In some cases this will be a result of stress (see below). In other cases, the cause is unknown.

Stress

will often cause groups of goats to show short cycles of around 7 days, presumably because of premature regression of the corpus luteum. For this reason goats being brought together for a breeding programme, for example for embryo transplant, should be grouped at least 3 months before the start of the programme.

Ovarian follicular cysts produce oestrogens, which result in a shortened oestrus cycle of between 3 and 7 days or continuous heat. Eventually the oestrogenic effects produce relaxed pelvic ligaments and the goat displays male-like mounting behaviour. The diagnosis can be confirmed by laparoscopy or laparotomy.

Treatment is exceptionally difficult in goats because the relatively short breeding season means that by the time treatment is completed the doe has already entered seasonal anoestrus. Medical treatment is only successful if commenced early:

Chorionic gonadotrophin 1000 U, i.m. or i.v. or

Gonadotrophin releasing hormone (GnRH): buserelin, 0.020 mg i.m., s.c. or i.v. or gonadorellin, 0.5 mg i.m.

Surgical treatment to exteriorise and rupture the thick wall of the cyst should be considered in valuable animals.

Table 1.4 Regular oestrus cycles

Male infertility

Service at the wrong time

Delayed ovulation

High yielders

Metritis

Vaginitis

Oestrus during pregnancy

Ovarian tumours are rare in goats, with granulosa theca cell tumours being the most common type. Clinical signs include short cycles, nymphomania and male behaviour. Examination of the ovary laparoscopically or with rectal or transabdominal ultrasound usually shows an enlarged ovary that may be cystic.

Endometritis

may cause short cycling or return to oestrus at the normal time.

Vaginitis

: see ‘Regular oestrus cycles’.

The presence of fetal bone remaining from a

mummified kid

, which is not expelled at parturition, will act as a constant source of stimulation and result in short oestrus cycles. There may be a history of bones and fetal material being expelled at kidding or subsequently.

Regular oestrus cycles (see Table 1.4)

Male infertility

(

Chapter 3

).

Service at the wrong time

.

Delayed ovulation/follicular atresia

. There is little scientific evidence describing these conditions in goats, but in practice a ‘holding’ injection given at the time of service or AI will aid fertility in some animals by stimulating ovulation on the day of service:

Chorionic gonadotrophin, 500 U i.m. or i.v.

Gonadotrophin releasing hormone (GnRH): buserelin, 0.010 mg i.m., s.c. or i.v.

Gonadorellin, 0.25 mg i.m.

High yielding females

. Some high yielding females may have suboptimum fertility, possibly due to a pituitary dysfunction resulting from the heavy lactation. Maturation of follicles, ovulation and formation of the corpus luteum may be promoted by chorionic gonadotrophin, 500 U i.m. or i.v.

Metritis

. A low-grade metritis may result in the failure of the embryo to implant and subsequent return to service at the normal time.

Vaginitis. Vaginitis occasionally occurs, particularly after the removal of vaginal sponges, and may result in short oestrus cycles or repeated return to service at a normal cycle length. In New Zealand, Australia and the United States, caprine herpesvirus 1 (CpHV-1) causes vulvovaginitis with short oestrus cycles and resulting infertility. Initial clinical signs are oedema and hyperaemia of the vulva with a slight discharge, which becomes more copious over the next few days. Multiple, shallow erosions with yellow to red-brown scabs develop on the vulvar and vaginal mucosa. Lesions heal spontaneously in about two weeks but may recur. Infection may be subclinical.

The virus is transmitted venereally and in the male produces penile hyperaemia and erosions of the preputial and penile epithelium. There is prolonged shedding of the virus by the preputial route.

CpHV-1 is also responsible for lethal systemic infections in one to two week old kids and for subclinical infections of the respiratory tract in adults.

Oestrus during pregnancy

. A few goats exhibit regular oestrus signs during pregnancy although this is less common than in cattle. Ovulation does not occur and the signs of oestrus are usually rather weak. Accurate pregnancy diagnosis is important before attempting treatment, particularly with prostaglandins.

Pregnancy diagnosis

Non-return to service is not a reliable method of pregnancy diagnosis. Many does do not outwardly cycle throughout the breeding season and the non-return may be due to seasonal anoestrus or false pregnancy. Neither is mammary development in primiparous goats a reliable method of pregnancy diagnosis as maiden milkers are common. Nor is abdominal distension.

Although animals may have behavioural changes during late pregnancy (for example, a ‘dog sitting’ position is normal for some pregnant goats (Plate 1.8), these are very variable. Accurate pregnancy diagnosis is essential to distinguish between pregnant goats, those with false pregnancies and those that are not cycling.

A vasectomised and harnessed teaser male running with the does will detect return to service, that is non-pregnancy, but should not be relied upon as some males will mount females that are not cycling. Always undertake an accurate pregnancy diagnosis before using prostaglandins to induce oestrus. Table 1.5 lists the methods available.

Table 1.5 Techniques available for pregnancy diagnosis in the doe

Days

Fetal numbers

Accuracy (%)

Usefulness

Vasectomised male

>20

No

65–90

Moderate

Abdominal palpation

60–115

No

60–90

Moderate

Progesterone assay

18–22

No

90–95

Moderate

Oestrone sulphate assay

>50

No

>95

High

Pregnancy specific protein B

>26

No

>95

High

Realtime ultrasound

28–100

Yes

95–100

High

Doppler ultrasound

60–90

No

85–90

Moderate

Radiography

>70

Yes

>90

Low

Oestrone sulphate assay

Oestrone sulphate concentrations in milk and plasma increase steadily during pregnancy and can be used to diagnose pregnancy 50 days post-service. This test will distinguish between true pregnancy and hydrometra, but occasional false negatives do occur, particularly if the sampling is close to 50 days, and repeat sampling may be indicated before the induction of oestrus with prostaglandins to avoid the possibility of aborting a pregnant doe.

Ultrasonographic scanning

Realtime ultrasonographic scanning has the added advantage of giving some indication of the number of kids being carried, thus enabling a better estimate of the nutritional requirements of the doe during pregnancy. The technique is virtually 100% accurate in determining pregnancy and 96 to 97% accurate in determining twins and triplets. Good operators can distinguish hydrometra, resorbed fetuses and other abnormalities as well as live kids (Table 1.6). Goats can be scanned transabdominally or transrectally. Sector scanners are best for transabdominal scanning but linear scanners can be used and are better for transrectal scanning. Transrectal ultrasound techniques are preferred for very early pregnancies and permit diagnosis 4 to 5 days earlier than transabdominal techniques.

Table 1.6 Abnormal finding on ultrasonographic examination of the uterus

Abnormality

Ultrasound findings

Recent abortion

Margins of the enlarged uterus observable, with caruncles often visible but with no fetus or fluid

Hydrometra

Anechoic or hypoechoic fluid-filled uterus, often with membranous strands visualized in the lumen of the uterus or apparent septae within the lumen of the uterine horn

Pyometra

Fluid-filled uterus; fluid more hyperechoic than hydrometra, often has a swirling appearance

Retained mummified foetus

Hyperechoic bone shadows in the absence of fluid contrastLack of fluid contrast, dense bony shadows, or cranium or ribs in an organized foetal massUsually smaller than expected foetal massNo sign of viability of fetus

Macerated foetus

Hyperechoic bone shadows in the absence of fluid contrastOverriding bony densities, usually linear or curvilinear images, with no sign of normal fetal architecture

Transabdominal scanning is usually carried out with the goat standing. A 3.5 or 5 MHz transducer is suitable for most of the pregnancy, but may not penetrate as far as the foetus in late gestation, although caruncles will be visible. Before about 90 days a 5 MHz transducer gives the best results; in later pregnancy, a 3.5 MHz probe is preferable. Scanning can be used from 28 days post-service when a fluid-filled uterus can be identified, but is best used between 50 and 100 days of pregnancy. Cotyledons can be distinguished from about 40 days and individual foetuses by 45 to 50 days. By 100 days individual fetuses more than fill the entire screen, making accurate determination of numbers difficult (Table 1.7). The most common error is to underestimate the number of fetuses.

Table 1.7 Transabdominal ultrasound scanning for pregnancy diagnosis

Day of gestation

Ultrasound findings

28

Fluid-filled uterus

30–35

Fetal heart beats detectable

40

Cotyledons visible (doughnuts or c-shaped structures)

45–50

Individual fetuses first identifiable

45–90

Accurate determination of multiple kidsGestational age corresponds to crown rump length, biparietal diameter and chest diameter

>100

Identification of number of fetuses becomes difficult because individual kids fill the screen; fluid and fetuses shift cranially

The transducer is placed on the right side of the restrained standing doe in the relatively hairless area just cranial and dorsal to the udder, with the transducer beam aimed towards the opposite brim of the pelvis (towards the pelvic inlet) and the abdomen scanned by slowly sweeping cranially. The uterus is normally dorsal or cranial to the bladder. Early in pregnancy (30 to 45 days), the uterus lies towards the pelvis inlet, but later is usually against the right abdominal wall. Clipping the area helps in fibre or long-coated goats. The area should be as clean as possible and large amounts of ultrasound gel used.

Transrectal scanning can be carried out from 25 days. Faeces are removed from the rectum and the lubricated 5 or 7.5 MHz linear transducer is advanced gently until it is adjacent to the reproductive tract. Initially the animal should be examined in a standing position, which is generally less stressful for the animal, but if the uterus is not identifiable the doe can be placed in dorsal recumbency.

Foetal viability