Lost Creek Boer Goats

~ est. 2005 ~

"EMBRYONIC AND FETAL LOSSES IN GOATS"
Lincoln University, Jefferson City, Mo.

  In 2010 we signed up to take part in a study sponsored by Lincoln University, Jefferson City, Mo and conducted by Small Ruminant Specialists  Dr. Aimee Wurst and Dr. Charlotte Clifford-Rathert, along with the help of various research assistants.  The study was done annually for three years (2010-2012) during the gestation periods of the participating goat herds.  To qualify we had to have 25 or more pregnant does, have accurate and current production records on each doe, have record of the breeding dates of each doe, have goats free of any known health problems, and have a good relationship with our local vet.  
  The team (usually 3-4 people) would come at approximate intervals of  25, 40, 60 and 110 days of gestation, each time doing an ultrasound (transrectal or transabdominal) and drawing a blood sample on each animal.
Dr.Charlotte draws bloodDr.Charlotte draws bloodDr. Charlotte observes ultrasoundDr. Charlotte observes ultrasound 
 It was very exciting to see on the monitor the small, flashing, pinpoint of light that was the actual hertbeat of a tiny goat fetus.  It could sometimes be seen as early as three weeks, a miracle to our minds!  Needless to say, we understood little of what we observed on the monitor and were grateful for the patient explanations of the team members!  The does weren't so thrilled about it, however, but over time most became rather stoic about it all, especially by the end of the third year.
View of MonitorView of MonitorTransrectal UltrasoundTransrectal Ultrasound
We got to help hold the goats as the procedures were being done.  The ultrasound operator would count the number of fetus' (not always easy!), and another team member would record the information.  We did our own set of records during each visit to have notes to compare to when delivery time came.  It was amazing how accurate the counts were.  Sometimes the count changed from one visit to the next, sometimes up, and occasionally down.  The question is, what became of the one that is no longer being counted?  That's the purpose of the study;  why are there losses, and what can be done about it?   At kidding time, it was our responsibility to let the team know all the details of each birth: which doe, date, number of kids, and any issues we might have had. 
Using the rectal probe as Alvie helps holdUsing the rectal probe as Alvie helps holdTransrectal Ultrasound Transrectal Ultrasound
We very much enjoyed having the LU team come four times a year for three years and looked forward to each visit.  We miss having them, but know they are on to other studies involving goats and sheep.   For information on current studies and other articles, go to either of these links which will take you to the Small Ruminant webpage:  http://www.lincolnu.edu/web/cooperative-research/animal-science or http://www.lincolnu.edu/web/programs-and-projects/small-ruminant-program ,
  The study on "Embryonic and Fetal Losses in Goats" was supported by USDA-NIFA.
  A big thank you to Lincoln University and the Small Ruminant team!