Glycaemia as a sign of the viability of the foetuses in the last days of gestation in dairy goats with pregnancy toxaemia

Ir Vet J. 2012 Jan 23;65(1):1. doi: 10.1186/2046-0481-65-1.


Pregnancy toxaemia is one of the most common diseases affecting small ruminants in the last month of gestation. Nearly 80% of the foetal growth occurs in the last 6 weeks of gestation. Fat goats and goats carrying twins and triplets are at greater risk. Pregnancy toxaemia is characterized by metabolic acidosis, hypoglycaemia and ketonaemia and a very high mortality rate. In our study five does with pregnancy toxaemia showed a marked hyperglycaemia (12.4 ± 5.4 mmol/L). Although our findings are based on a small population sample (10 goats), we nonetheless postulate that hyperglycaemia could be explained by the death of the foetuses. Caesarian surgery was performed on four of the five does with hyperglycaemia (HG does). In the fifth, kidding was induced. In this group, two does had two dead foetuses, two had three dead foetuses and one does had four foetuses, only one of which was alive. Caesarian surgery was performed on all five does with hypoglycaemia (LG does). Four does of the LG group had three foetuses and one had two foetuses, all alive. The HG doe had lower rectal temperatures, lower sodium and higher urea nitrogen (BUN) in the blood when compared with the LG does. As the condition of affected does may deteriorate quickly, the results of the present study suggest that in the last days of pregnancy goats with pregnancy toxaemia and concurrent hypoglycaemia should be considered for caesarian surgery.