Milk Fever, Parturient paresis in Angora goats
By Dr Mackie Hobson BSc(Agric),BVSc

Tuesday, 20th September 2022

Milk fever in Angora goats is rare but we may see more cases as multiple pregnancies become more common. Milk fever is most likely to occur in the 3-4 weeks (mineralisation of the kid skeleton) before kidding up to 6 weeks post kidding in multiple births (Milk production).

Some cases can be complicated by hypoglycaemia- low glucose levels (‘Domsiekte’- Pregnancy toxaemia) see

What causes Milk Fever/Parturient paresis?

In late pregnancy and early lactation the Angora goats calcium requirements increase. The calcium requirements are obviously higher in multiple foetuses and suckling kids.

A decrease in the calcium intake or change in diet to one containing high phosphorus are risk factors (grain diets contain low calcium and high phosphorous).

What are the clinical signs?

The Angora goat ewe will suddenly be effected, often within a day of a change in feed, weather or period of hunger.

  • Initially appear stiff when walking and then become wobbly (ataxia)
  • They then become recumbent (lie down), sometimes hind legs extended behind the ewe.
  • Muscle tremors are more common than in sheep
  • Sometimes they salivate more and anal tome decreases
  • An increase in heart rate (Tachycardia)

A milder form of milk fever can be seen when the ewe becomes lethargic, goes off her feed and milk production declines.


A diagnosis can be made on history and clinical signs but a definitive diagnosis can be made only by a blood sample - calcium concentration (

Also check the urine ketones to ensure not also Ketoacidosis (‘Domsiekte’)

Treatment and Prevention

  • IV administration of calcium, which leads to rapid response. Calcium borogluconate 50-150ml. IV admin must be done slowly over 5-7 minutes due to impact on heart function. A good way is to add this to a 1 litre dextrose solution and run in over 10 minutes.
  • Oral or subcutaneous (under skin) can also be given when not trained to give IV treatment. If give under the skin then inject over 3-4 different sites on the body as the calcium is an irritant. Repeat after 24 hrs.
  • Increase dietary Calcium. The calcium:phosphorus ratio (>1.5:1).
  • Sudden dietary changes or other stressors should be avoided during late gestation.

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