Pregnancy toxemia, also known as ketosis, is a metabolic disease that occurs in late pregnancy. It is most prevalent in does carrying two or more kids or in very fat does. Ketosis is caused by a disturbance in carbohydrate usage in the doe. As a doe’s pregnancy progresses, the energy demands of her body increase. At the same time, the capacity of her rumen shrinks since growing kids take up more and more space inside, leaving less space for the rumen. This combination can result in the doe not receiving enough carbohydrates (energy) through her diet. As a result she will have to resort to breaking down her own fat to provide energy for her growing kids. If this occurs too quickly without adequate carbohydrates in the diet, ketone bodies (a toxic by-product of fat breakdown) are released into the bloodstream. When this occurs too rapidly the doe’s body cannot detoxify the ketones fast enough, thus, ketosis or pregnancy toxemia results. Ketosis can also occur when a doe is too fat since fat also takes up room inside of the doe resulting a less space for the rumen to hold feed. Additionally, conditions that interrupt feed intake, such as storms, transportation or other diseases, can also induce this metabolic disease. Ketosis or pregnancy toxemia is most common in the last two weeks of pregnancy.



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