How to prevent lactation tetany in goats

Lactation Tetany in Goats

Hypomagnesemia, also referred to as lactation tetany, is a life threatening condition of low blood magnesium concentration, which is a common problem for lactating does on spring pasture. Growing kids on milk replacer is a similar condition which is referred to as milk tetany.

A distinguishing characteristic between lactation tetany (low blood magnesium levels) and milk fever (low blood calcium levels) is that goats with lactation tetany will develop muscle spasms. Also, lactation tetany usually occurs during early lactation, as opposed to milk fever which generally occurs during peak lactation.

goat lactation tetany



Muscle stiffness

Severe tetanic muscle spasm

Body Stiffness





  • History - pregnancy
  • Clinical signs
  • Physical exam
  • Blood test


Magnesium and calcium solution : Administered intravenously, usually followed by subcutaneous injections of magnesium sulfate solutions and oral magnesium supplements.


Monitor blood mineral levels throughout pregnancy and lactation stages

Provide appropriate oral dietary supplements of magnesium from late pregnancy through early lactation if required, however it should not exceed 0.4% of dry matter.

Note:  This is not a final treatment. Veterinary advice must be sought before applying any treatment or vaccine.

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