Proper Cleaning For Assisting with a Difficult Birth

March 2005

Veterinary doctor Michele Konnersman provided some guidelines on proper cleaning for the assisting the doe with a difficult kidding is necessary.

Items to have on hand for “going in”:

  • Betadyne scrub
  • Betadyne solution swabs or Betadyne solution
  • sterile gloves
  • sterile lubrication
  • LA200
  • 12cc syringe
  • sterile water (either in vials or you can make your own sterile water by boiling water for 20 minutes)
  • oxytocin [injectable]
  • Bio-Mycin or LA200 (Pen G is NOT recommended*)
  • roll of cotton or paper towels

Dr. Michele Konnersman:

“I was just thinking about how important it is to prepare the doe properly before putting a hand in to correct a kidding problem.

  1. 1. The area under the tail is full of fecal bacteria. During an assisted kidding this fecal bacteria is carried into the uterus. Your hand and arm are covered with Staph bacteria that also can be put into the uterus. These bacteria love the fluids in the uterus and grow very well in there.
  2. Before a hand goes into the doe, the rear has to be thoroughly cleaned and scrubbed. I usually scrub away all fecal material that I can see, and then follow that with 3 full betadyne scrubs, then 3 betadyne solution swabs. [Instead of swabs, you can use wetted cotton or paper towels using the Betadyne solution or scrub as needed.] Then you scrub your hand and arm in a similar way.
  3. Remember, you have bacteria under your fingernails. It is best after scrubbing the hand and arm to then put on a sterile glove. Then put on your arm a large amount of sterile lubrication.
  4. If at any time the doe defecates, stop and scrub that away from everywhere that it touched.
  5. When you get one kid out, if you work with it or touch anything outside the goat, you must rescrub and reglove before going back into the goat.

If you follow these procedures, severe infections can be avoided. After a difficult kidding, giving oxytocin when all of the kids are out will help the uterus contract and expel any infected fluids. I always put a treatment into the uterus before the oxytocin injection.

I used to use Sulfa-Urea boluses (one in each uterine horn) when I could get them, but now I just fill a 12cc syringe with LA200 and sterile water (if the doe weighs 160 lb., I would put 8cc of LA200 in the syringe, and fill up the rest of the syringe with sterile water. If the doe weighs 100 lb, I would put 5cc LA200 in the syringe and fill the rest with sterile water. [So you want to draw up 1cc per twenty pounds]) and carry it into the uterus.

I then usually give at least 3 days of biomycin or LA200 subQ. Another good reason to choose Tetracycline for after kidding is because the most likely bacteria in the uterus are fecal bacteria, which are not killed by Pen G.

How to make your own sterile water

“To make your own sterile water, just boil water for 20 minutes and then let it cool to room temp.”

I now have a “going in” kit which I keep with my “kidding kit (this link takes you to Fiasco Farm)”.

The contents of my “going in” kit:

  1. Rubber gloves
  2. Baby Wipes
  3. Betadine
  4. Anti-bacterial soap
  5. Thermometer
  6. Lubricant (such as KY-Jelly)
  7. Preparation H (to soothe the vulva if swollen and irritated after kidding)
  8. Vitamin E & Goldenseal
  9. Jug of Sterile Water
  10. Roll of Paper Towels

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