Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Snowbelle's legacy

I gave Snowbelle the Dex and Lute early Sunday to induce labor on Monday afternoon.

She started having some weird short contractions about 5:30 PM. After 6:00 and nothing showing, I called my friend, Angela, to come over, and she held Snowbelle while I went in. There was a kid rear and some other kid's front legs there. Finally got the hind legs of the one who was presenting tail first and pulled him. He was very dead. The next one was upside down and with the head turned back, but alive. Third one was head back, too.

Wound up with a live white doeling with wattles and a live apricot buckling. The buckling bled badly from his umbilical cord, as it broke off short what with all the turning and digging I had to do in her uterus. He's a little lethargic. I finally tubed some colostrum (from Angela's goats) into him just before 10. The doeling is sucking the bottle OK. Not great, but OK.

My next door neighbor came and put Snowbelle down because the vet couldn't get here. (See previous thread about her bad infection in the damaged half of her udder.)

The lady who is going to foster the kids has stuff to do early in the morning, and hopefully will take them by noon on Tuesday.

I will probably feel better about this in a couple of days, but I'm not happy with the whole thing right now.

Snowbelle's delivery the *first* time was JUST like this. Kids tangled, backwards presentations, etc. Very frustrating.

I feel like the whole saga of Snowbelle's udder/teat issue, starting last August, and letting her deliver these kids may have been a mistake. I'm second guessing myself pretty badly right now.

Keeping does with udder issues is not good management, and I don't think I'll do it again.

Edited to add: The kids did well overnight, waking at 1:00 AM and 4:55 AM for bottles. After it warmed up a bit outside, I took them outside for some sunshine! The doeling is the lighter colored one with wattles, and her name is Jubilee. The pale apricot buckling has no name yet.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The responses of the professionals.....

After much thought and second thought and second guessing my second thoughts, I sent the following email to one of the professors at Washington State University who specializes in small ruminants.

From me:
I have a dairy goat with arcanobacterium pyogenes in one half of her udder, and she is due to kid on May 15.

The Merck Manual online makes mention of this bacteria becoming systemic and causing abortion and " It gains entry to the bloodstream and causes an endometritis and placentitis, which is diffuse with a reddish brown to brown color. The fetus is usually autolyzed, with fibrinous pericarditis, pleuritis, or peritonitis possible."

The doe is not running a fever, but she has lumps in the affected half of her udder. How can I find out if the bacteria is in her bloodstream and if the kids will be carriers of this bacteria?

My husband has had a kidney transplant, and I can't risk keeping the kids if they will pose a danger to him.

Should we deliver the kids by cesarean so they don't come in contact with the dam's mucous membranes? Can the blood of the kids be tested?

Thank you for any help you can offer in making a decision about the fate of these kids.

I received a very quick reply from Dr. Parish:

Good morning – As you have found out from your reading on the internet that Arcanobacterium pyogenes is a common cause of abscess problems in all ruminants including goats. When it gets into the udder of a cow or doe it generally leads to a series of abscesses forming in the tissue of the mammary gland. In the case of the mammary gland we believe that most infections into the gland are via the teat. Unfortunately there is not simple treatment and in the case of cattle, most of the affected cows would be culled from the herd. The organism is frequently associated with abscess around the head of ruminants as the organism can be cultured from the oral cavity. It also can gain entrance to the internal aspects of the animals in some cases and is one of the common organism that is isolated from internal abscess and other infected sites. I assume that her udder was cultured and that is where you found the organism.

Although Arcanobacterium could be isolated from an abortion issues in goats, it is not considered a common cause of abortion although it is very common in the environment of animals. I would like to refer you to Dr. Tom Besser, who is our director of bacteriology in our diagnostic lab tbesser@vetmed.wsu.edu who has a greater knowledge than I regarding the other questions that you have and the risk to the does’ pregnancy and the kids.
Hope this helps -

Steven M. Parish DVM

He also forwarded my plea for help to another veterinarian, and I got this reply:

I will give you the microbiologists point of view and hope that will help you make some management decisions for your goat. Disease caused by A. pyogenes is what we call sporadic and opportunistic…so it is not a bacteria that means to cause disease but will take advantage of breakdown in normal barriers of protection like broken skin, puncture wounds, etc. I would certainly watch the doe for any signs of systemic illness but there is no data about how often mastitis is determined to be the source of A. pyogenes in an abortion. You could do blood culture on the doe to determine if she has an infection in her blood, but typically she would be quite ill if she had A. pyogenes circulating in her blood stream, and it sounds like she is doing fine besides the mastitis. Likewise, you could do blood culture on the kids if they appear to be ill.

The kids will probably have A. pyogenes colonization because it is normal flora on mucous membranes of goats so once they are out they will have it shortly (along with numerous other bugs). Unfortunately, your husband is exposed to many types of bacteria that are normal colonizers of goat mucous membranes as well as in feces so I don’t think this one bacteria should be of more concern then others that are present. He should always be very careful handling any of the animals regardless of if they are sick or not, as I assume he is on immunosuppressive drugs. I should mention that A. pyogenes is a rare cause of disease in humans.

I would not recommend a c-section in this situation but I would defer to Dr. Parish’s experience. I would advise not to let the kids nurse due to the mastitis.

If you have any other questions let me know.

Claire Huntsberry, DVM
Microbiology Resident
Dept. of Microbiology and Pathology
Washington State University
Pullman, WA

And this response from another:

Hi, Alice – I have asked one of our microbiology residents, Kerry Sondgeroth, to respond to your query. She will be closer to Dr. Besser’s level of knowledge than I. I did a quick literature search and found some case reports of human infections with Arcanobacterium pyogenes. So you are right to be concerned about your husband in general with respect to bacteria that he could get from animals, including A. pyogenes. I will defer to Dr. Parish’s opinion on this, but I don’t think a C-section will necessarily prevent the kids from getting exposed. I imagine it would be good to prevent them from suckling the doe.

If you don’t hear from Dr. Sondgeroth soon, please let me know.

Margaret A. Davis, DVM, MPH, PhD
Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health
Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology Department
Veterinary Teaching Hospital
College of Veterinary Medicine

I also emailed the veterinarian at the LSU Mastitis Clinic. Here is the reply:

In cattle this organism often causes a chronic form of mastitis that persists and will not respond to therapy, it normally does not go systemic from the mammary gland in cows in my experience, however, I have little experience with goats, I recommend you cull the animal and keep an eye on the others. She will likely not ever cure from this infection and will always be a source of new infection. Flies are often responsible for spreading this organism.
The only way to check the blood is have a veterinarian collect blood and culture it and it is difficult to do properly. However, it think it unlikely that is needed and it will be expensive.
Good luck,

William E. Owens, Ph.D
Hill Farm Research Station
Mastitis Research Laboratory

So.... the consensus right now, including the advice of my local veterinarian is to let her kid out (we are going to induce) remove the kids from her presence immediately so they don't contact her udder at all, and then put her down.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

I got a warning on HT

In response to a girl who ASKED about CAE, and then said she was going to ignore all of our warnings about not buying animals that weren't tested, I posted the following...

If you aren't worried about CAE, then you are the textbook definition of ignorant. You have chosen to IGNORE the damage it can do to the goats, and you have chosen to IGNORE experience and research. You are choosing to ignore the possibility that you could pass on a disease to someone with your goat milk. What if you give CAE milk to someone who doesn't know yet they have an immune system disease and is therefore unusually susceptible?

Do you actually believe that science knows EVERYTHING just because it's 2012? We used to think DDT was safe and that AIDS was only a disease of homosexuals, too. IGNORANCE because we just didn't know YET.

The world is flat, too.

Good grief.

So..... there it is. The truth will get you banned.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

I'm going to lose Snowbelle

Snowbelle was bitten on the teat by a spider last fall. From August to December, I treated that half, but she lost the teat and was VERY ill for a long time.

One half of the udder is normal, but on the left side, the body of the udder remains and has an orifice, but no teat.

As she has bagged up prior to kidding soon, the damaged side of the udder also enlarged, and then a white thick material began to drain from the orifice. That half of her udder has become lumpy, and I'm sure there is infection that is not localized, but throughout that half. She is *not* running a fever.

I put in a call to Dr. Mueller, took a sample to send to the mastitis clinic at LSU for testing, and after carefully cleaning her udder and the orifice, expressed the material from her udder. I then irrigated the orifice and the cavity in her udder where the material came from with hydrogen peroxide. Approximately half a cup of thick greenish white material came out. It looks like colostrum, except the color is wrong. There is no bad odor.

Dr. Mueller returned my call today and we talked extensively about Snowbelle's situation with the damaged half of her udder and the draining infection.

She is due on May 15th, and it looks like multiple kids again.

He is concerned about the drainage contaminating the goat pen and especially infecting any kids she might have who would suck the good teat next to that drainage.

He recommended that I flush that side with iodine, fashion a plug of a piece of paper towel, and let the iodine remain in place for 12 hours. Repeat. He said it may be able to go as long as 24 hours, if her udder is not producing a lot of drainage.

He recommended that I be present for the kidding, remove the kids without letting them nurse, harvest colostrum VERY carefully so as not to have any of the infected drainage contaminate it, and bottle raise the kids. He recommended that Snowbelle be put down. She is an infection hazard to the rest of the herd and should not be bred again.

He did ask gentle questions about my feelings about putting her down before he recommended that solution. He also asked about her genetics and her value as a breeder in the herd. He's a GOOD veterinarian.

He said for me to call him as soon as she kids and that he would get here as quickly as he can to euthanize her gently so that I don't have to shoot her.

If she has all bucklings, I'm going to put them all down immediately. If there's a nice doeling, I'll keep it and suffer through the bottle feeding, I guess. Bottle feeding does NOT make me happy.

An Update: Angela and her family have offered to foster and bottle feed any doelings that I might want to keep from Snowbelle. This is a blessing, and I'm going to consider it. Thank you!