Ketosis occurs when an animal’s energy needs are greater than the animal can consume and therefore, the goat must rely on body reserves for fuel. This breakdown of body fats results in an excess of “ketones” that accumulate in the blood and body tissues and has a toxic effect on your goat.

High producing milk goats that cannot eat enough feed to meet the high energy requirements for production. This often happens immediately after birth when there is a rapid rise in milk production.

Goats may decrease feed intake and milk production. They may become lethargic with dull, rough coats. A sweet odor can be detected on their breath, in the urine and in the milk that indicates ketones are being released. If left untreated, this condition can be fatal.

If you suspect ketosis, call your vet immediately. Treatment is usually successful. To meet the energy demands of milk production after birth, be sure your does are fed a high quality diet. Slowly increasing the daily amount of feed before kidding helps insure your does have sufficient energy levels to meet lactation demands when the kids are born. Energy demands will continue to be high as long as does are producing milk. Always feed lactating goats according to production for the duration of lactation.

Research has shown low quality diets tend to increase the incidence of ketosis because the energy levels in the diet are not sufficient to meet the energy needs of the lactating doe.