Ketosis Can Kill Pregnant Does

Ketosis is a metabolic ailment. It can hit a doe suddenly during the last month of pregnancy and kill her in a day or two if you don't recognize the symptoms and start treating her immediately . 

Treatment is simple: administering a few ounces of sugar a day will usually save the doe. White sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, molasses, and honey have all been used. Propylene glycol, a fast-acting chemical sugar, is the most effective treatment. 

Any time a doe in late pregnancy stops eating normally, suspect ketosis. If her temperature is normal and there's no infection bothering her, ketosis is a strong possibility. If you don't treat her, she may lose the use of her legs ("go down"), and then she'll soon die. It is hard to save a doe once she's down, but we've done it. Treating a doe you suspect of ketosis won't hurt her, even if she doesn't have it. 

Ketosis can also hit a doe after she freshens, when she is coming into very heavy milk production. This condition usually isn't fatal. It can be the cause of poor appetite, sudden drops in milk production, and off-flavored milk. 

When we suspect ketosis, we drench the doe with two to six ounces of propylene glycol a day until she is back to normal.