did vet make wrong call about difficult delivery

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I have just lost my prime doe during a birth, and I wanted to know if you could advise me. I did call a veterinarian and he eventually showed up, but I think he made a bad call which set off a chain of events leading to the death.This doe had three normal sized kids in her, it turns out. She delivered the first two quickly and without much work, although I did help her a bit since the first was backwards with one foot out, and the second was forwards with only one foot out. But it was not difficult. It was a short labor and she was perky and happy and nursing her babies. I was sure she had triplets from her shear size (I've had her for five years) so I felt the bottom of her belly and sure enough could feel a third kid, though it did not respond to prodding so I assumed it dead. The doe stopped laboring quickly after the first two kids, and soon expelled a bag of fluid which she promptly drank. I gave her a bowl of warm water with molasses too. At this point I called the veterinarian about the third kid. The technician was there and told me to reach in and try to pull the dead one out. I went in up past my wrist but could not find it. I called her back and she paged the vet. He called me and told me don't worry about it and that he'd be over to my house in about two hours. I asked him if that was too long and he said no it was not. He showed up three hours later. The technician called back and asked if I wanted her to come over, but I told her the vet had said all was well and he'd be over eventually. When the vet finally got here, he found the dead kid but said it was wrapped up real tight by the uterus which had shrunk down after labor. After a tremendous amount of tugging and pulling (I thought he was going to turn her inside-out!) he got the kid out. It had just died in the past 24 hours, he thought. Then he gave her two shots of oxitocin to make sure she expelled the placentas, and in ten minutes she expelled her uterus! He calmly pushed it all back in and gave her an epidural to stop contractions. The doe laid back down and started panting, holding her head up with effort. Eventually she went into shock and died, while he eventually gave her other medications to try and bring her back from shock. He assumes she had an internal hemmorhage somewhere because it was not in the uterus itself. My problem with this scenario is this: Is it the norm to get all the kids out right at delivery, or is it also fine to wait two or three hours (in this case it was four hours since the labor was obvious) before going after the dead kid? It seems to me that if we'd gotten the kid out immediately the uterus would have been still loose and not encapsulating the kid, requiring this incredible amount of pulling on the vet's part. I think he wound up pulling something loose and causing the hemmorhage, or perhaps shock without hemmorhage just from the trauma. And/or he administered too much oxitocin, but I can't tell you what the dose was. It's really the pulling that concerned me most. Any ideas? No one around here has lost does due to this type of birth difficulty. They all pull the kids out right away without incident. One did wait too long and the cervix closed in on the kid and the cervix ripped out when they pulled the kid out. In my case the cervix was still open enough. This was disturbing not only in the death of my favorite and best doe, but because I think it was preventable. While I also concede that medicine is not black-and-white, there are standard practices that people try first in specific situations. Thanks for your input--Sue

-- Sue H (sue-h@att.net), April 22, 2002


i would have to say, the vet fumbeld a bit here, if he /she had been a goat vet, i would have thought they would have gotten there sooner, the uteus starts to shrink rapidly, after delivery, and 4 hours is a long end of the window... unfortunately its a judgement call at best,

lots of vets dont like goats , and feel they are a "low money" animal , so they fail to respond rapidly to a goat problem , where with a horse or cow , a "high money" animal , they will respond more rapidly, in my experience....

-- Beth Van Stiphout (willosnake@hotmail.com), April 22, 2002.

This makes me queasy just to read about it. You know what I think? I don't think the vet was gentle enough. I don't know why the kid wouldn't come out easily, but I can tell you this. Last spring, I had a doe that had a third, dead kid in her. I didn't find it until a day and a half after she has the first two. It was hard pulling because the doe was dry, and the kid's hair was all falling out (the kid had been dead for a long time) and thus preventing lubrication, and the presentation was very poor, had to pull it by the hock of one rear leg. Even so, once I could get the body parts in hand and had something to pull on, it was harder than usual, and the kid was large, but I don't think that it was encapsulated in the uterus.

If it was my doe, I'd do a post mortem and find out just what happened in there, if he tore the doe's uterus. What presentation was the dead kid in? It doesn't sound like he was very gentle with the doe either, of course you have to pull, but IMHO some men are just not very sensitive to the the anatomy of a doe, they don't know what it feels like. (Not all men are like this- just some!) For this reason, there are very few men that I would allow to go in and pull a kid from one of my does. Their hands are bigger and judging from the doctors I have encountered, I just would not want them shoving their hands in there and then pulling the kid out without any way of knowing what it must feel like. A cow, yes, but goats are smaller and more delicate. Just my opinion, no offense at all to the men here!

-- Rebekah (daniel1@itss.net), April 22, 2002.

No amount of pulling is going to pull the uterus out. Yes the cervic starts closing but not just after 2 hours, especially without the placenta expelled. They should have instructed you to go in way past your wrist. If you put you hand beside a kid who just came out, the kid would go from your fingertips to past your elbow stretched out, and this is how far you would have to go in to pull this kid. A kid in a bad position will not give the doe good contractions to push out, it has nothing to do if it is dead or not, since the contractions push it into position, not the kid. Your hand inserting in and past the cervic would have given her the urge to push. It does sound to me like he gave to much oxytocin, considering the two shots and all. She could also have burst her uterine artery to the outside, instead of bleeding in where you could see it, hence the shock and quick death. The placenta could have detached with the expulsion of the uterus causing bleeding also.

Always have a seasoned goat breeders phone number handy with problems like this, the goatworld.com 911 site is for this. I have had a few of the waiting for the vet, bad scenerios as a new person. Probably the reason I am much more aggressive than other folks are. I know that nature taking its course is likely to lead to mortaltiy, something that I am not willing to deal with. Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh TX (vickilonesomedoe@hotmail.com), April 22, 2002.

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