Copper toxicosis in dairy goats

Discussion in 'Dairy Goat Info' started by, Nov 9, 2007.

  1. New Member

    Copper toxicosis in dairy goats

    Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
    August 15, 2007, Vol. 231, No. 4, Pages 586-589

    Copper toxicosis in a dairy goat herd
    Jennifer Cornish, DVM, DACVIM; John Angelos, DVM, PhD, DACVIM; Birgit
    Puschner, DVM, PhD, DACVT; Grant Miller, DVM; Lisle George, DVM, PhD,
    Department of Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine,
    University of California, Davis, CA 95616 (Cornish, Angelos, George);
    California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory System, University
    of California, Davis, CA 95616 (Puschner); Sonoma Marin Veterinary
    Service, 1120 Industrial Ave, Ste 13 and 14, Petaluma, CA 94952 (Miller)
    Address correspondence to Dr. Cornish.

    *Case Description*—A closed herd of 400 mixed-breed dairy goats was
    examined because of a decrease in milk production and increase in
    mortality rate. Nine animals had died within a 1-month period.

    *Clinical Findings*—Clinical signs were evident only in lactating goats
    and included anorexia and recumbency. In the most severely affected
    goats, signs progressed to neurologic abnormalities and death. Serum
    aspartate aminotransferase activity, ?-glutamyltransferase activity, and
    total bilirubin concentration were high in clinically affected does, but
    no evidence of hemolysis was found. A diagnosis of copper toxicosis was
    made on the basis of high liver and kidney copper concentrations and
    histologic evidence of hepatic necrosis. Goats were found to have been
    fed a mineral mix containing 3,050 ppm copper for 9 months prior to the
    onset of copper toxicosis. Overall, there was no consistent relationship
    between serum hepatic enzyme activities, serum copper concentration, and
    liver copper concentration.

    *Treatment and Outcome*—Clinically affected goats were treated with
    penicillamine, ammonium molybdate, sodium thiosulfate, and vitamin E.
    Penicillamine increased urine copper excretion in treated does versus
    untreated control animals. An increased incidence of infectious disease
    was identified in the herd 9 months later. Liver vitamin E concentration
    was low in 10 of the 12 goats that underwent necropsy.

    *Clinical Relevance*—Findings suggested that penicillamine may be an
    effective treatment for goats with copper toxicosis. Production losses
    months after the diagnosis was made suggested that the intoxication had
    a prolonged animal welfare and economic impacts.
  2. MayLOC

    MayLOC New Member

    gosh! Very interesting; thanks for the post.

    I have been feeding our dairy gals our beef mineral that has 3000 ppm copper and they have slowly but surely become deficient. They have the fish tail, white around the eyes and and copper toned casting to their coats now. Those affected the most have been the heavier milkers (saanen and sable) and ones that I have had a little less than a year and believe they started out that way but have worsened here also.

    The nubians have all been sold now, but I never did notice any of the signs in them; not that that means they were good. The goats all chow down the mineral. We do have pretty high iron water.

    I am going to be bolusing shortly and was thinking of giving the two most affected a whole bolus to start out with. Maybe I will think on the amount more. thanks.

  3. Sondra

    Sondra New Member

    I sure wouldn't do a whole bolus/ stick to recomendations and go by weight.
  4. New Member

    I don't have any more information than what was passed on here...but curios as all get out if it's a bolused herd that is still using that incredible amount of copper in the mineral. If anything I think this shows just how dangerous the whole copper sulfate craze really is! If a little works, use a whole lot more. Vicki
  5. whimmididdle

    whimmididdle Guest

    This article is interesting, but lots of holes in it for me to ask ??? about. I think that I could assume with 400 animals, that this took place on a goat dairy farm.
    Without knowing other circumstances surrounding this herd that might be going on too, I'm not sure how many conclusions that I could draw from this.
    I do however get some concerned that many of us are to quick to jump on board with some of these "fads" that get started, that go outside and beyond what is natural or normal.
    I'll probably not live long enough to see what we are creating in goat generations to come by doing such things that go outside the realm of being normal, but I almost wonder if we are not helping to create "junkies" with some of our ways of doing things that we often call making improvements.
  6. Little Meadows

    Little Meadows Guest

  7. New Member

    Notice all the copper sulfate references. Vicki
  8. Jo@LaudoDeumFarm

    [email protected] New Member

    Trace mineral salt is not the only culprit that may cause problem. Goats are more prone to copper poisoning when their diet consists of feeds manufactured for other species, especially dairy cattle and horses. ~ from the Kinne article.

    Frankly, I would wonder why the dairy would have been using beef cattle minerals instead of dairy goat minerals. Mismanagement and an expensive lesson learned for them.

    It's more of a warning not to use minerals made for other species, I think. It's not difficult, nor prohibitively expensive, to go to a nutritionist and get the feeding program analyzed for dairy goats either. I've got to wonder why the dairy didn't do that?

    The article doesn't mention where the dairy was. that would have been interesting to know.
  9. New Member

    With a mineral with a copper level of 3500 PPM of copper, mostly made up of copper sulfate. That's simply crazy high in any species.

    It shows how we give good information, try to temper it with our experiences, and then the more is better kicks in. Upping your copper sulfate is not how you treat copper defficiency, you have to bolus if you can't keep your goats in good levels with a normal amount of copper sulfate minerals. Moving to products with chelated minerals is just smarter. Drinking water copper sulfate is the same thing when is it, plus minerals, plus their grain too much? Vicki
  10. whimmididdle

    whimmididdle Guest

    Was just wondering if anybody has any links (maps) that show copper values in areas accross the US.?
  11. Sondra

    Sondra New Member

    What people don't understand is that most of us FEED our animals are not free range and regarless of what maps say you don't get an acurate count of any mineral unless you do biopsy[s of your older animals We have no idea what the ground is like even in the next county over where maybe our oats or hay was grown. So we have to supliment when needed.
    And Jo I disagree with you as far as species specific minerals But read the lables and know what your feeding.
  12. LMonty

    LMonty New Member

    The other thing that istn clear to me is from the comment "the goats were fed a mineral..." Did they have it free choice, or was it mixed in their feed? If mixed and with that high copper level, that might also explain it. They also don't state what their other feed was, and if that also contained some mineral which some commercial feeds do.

    Sad story, but IMHO theres just not enough info to really extrapolate from .
  13. Jo@LaudoDeumFarm

    [email protected] New Member

    Sondra, you can tell from soil and feed analysis if there is going to be adequate copper in the diet or not. You can also tell if there is an excess of other minerals or inhibitors in the feeds and the soils where the feeds are being grown.

    I guess if there are products made for goats then they should be used before other products made for a different species. I wouldn't take a vitamin made for a gorilla or a monkey.

    This should really be done before any supplements are considered.
    There are more than 10 different pre-made dairy goat formulas out there. Virtually every area in the u.s. has a dairy goat formula. I guess I don't understand why they would choose to use a beef formula instead.
  14. New Member

    Nobody is choosing to use a 'beef' formula. At least when you want to disagree with virtually everything I say you could at least READ the information. Tech Master Complete is labeled for cattle, horses and GOATS! It's virtually the first mineral I have ever seen in 21 years of DAIRY GOATS that specifically gives information that goats are not sheepandgoats that their mineral needs are much closer to that of their larger cousin, cattle. In reality goats metabolisims are even faster than cattle, but it sure is close. No other mineral out there also has kelp, yeast and chelated minerals in it. It also doesn't contain the vast amounts of iron most red minerals contain. Vicki
  15. whimmididdle

    whimmididdle Guest

    I just think we are missing out on a piece of the puzzle when it comes to copper and it's uses. Goats have survived for a few thousand years without any additives given in their diet. Now in the last 50 yrs. or so, we seem to know what is better for our animals and we manufacture it and feed it to our goats.......We are constantly having to make adjustments trying to keep optimum levels in their nutritional needs, and now we supposedly have goats that are dieing from the effects of having a lack of copper, and some that are dieing from to much copper.
    I realize that goats for the most part, are being kept in penned areas and are not allowed to browse where they can pick and choose what they need naturally, but goats have been one of the hardiest animals on the face of the earth since the beginning of time, and have survived in a lot less than optimal conditions for the most part. I just got to believe that we are missing some crucial information somewhere when it comes to keeping our goats at optimal nutritional levels.
  16. Kaye White

    Kaye White Guest

    But, what you're not taking into consideration,Whim, is that the goats we manage are being asked to produce MUCH more than goats in other areas of the world. Yea, we could turn them loose to fend on their own, no supplements,
    no grain, no alfalfa, no minerals, no chemical wormers or drugs when they're sick and let the fittest survive...but we don't. And personally, I'd really hate to see the resulting caprines left when it was all said and done. You also don't mention that the goats in other areas are nomadic...meaning they are seldom in the same spot for more than a day. Kinda' like rotational grazing to an extreme. We can't feasibly do that. The neighbors would get very irritated and sue. :sigh
    Again, the feeds made specifically for goats is formulated by people that specialize in cattle. The bottom line...we,goat breeders, are not backed by enough $$ money and organizations to receive the attention needed. Their way of looking at it, just like goat medicine has been for years...a ruminant is a ruminant. So, to try to get the most adequate nutrition and mineral balance to correspond with the dairy goats and their stages of lactation, condition, and environment, we use the research done on dairy cattle and *tweak* it to help manage our animals.

    Like someone said...there's just not enough info. and too many holes, in the beginning post to make even an educated guess. No offense intended...but dairies are in a profit/loss situation and every penny counts. So naturally, they are going to try to cut expenses in the most costly area- feed/minerals.
  17. Feral Nature

    Feral Nature Active Member

    Goats have survived on their own for thousands of years because they are hardy and intelligent animals. They are opportunists and not specialists when it comes to diet...for instance they will eat almost anything whereas a panda bear will only eat bamboo (which is one reason it is almost extinct). So goats are survivors. Just look anywhere, there are feral goats in all parts of the world.

    However, in the last "50 years" or so, mankind has done a huge amount of manipulation of the gene pool making the dairy goats we have today FAR removed form the wild/feral goats that are still thriving all around the world. Fifty years can be 50 generations in goat time. Lots of changes can take place with all of our "culling". We often cull the very goats who would be able to survive without mankind's intervention, leaving us with goats that NEED us. They are huge producers and we have made them that way with our selection for this trait. They cannot possibly supply themselves with the nutrients and elements they need to do this.

    If we let well enough alone, turned our herds out loose in the woods and checked back on them in several generations, they would begin to look like their ancestors did. And surely in 50 generations they would be unrecognizable as dairy goats. Anything that could not glean enough copper out of its diet, or anything that demanded high copper to succeed, would not reproduce or reproduce successfully and so on til all that was left would be hardy goats that did not need us to help them. They would have smaller udders, smaller body size, harder hooves, smaller hardier kids at birth.

    Nature fixes what mankind messes up...if given the opportunity.
  18. Jo@LaudoDeumFarm

    [email protected] New Member

    Vicki, I'm sorry I spoke without having the facts at hand. I thought we were talking about the article in the AVMA. What I had heard was this: This was a dairy in northern California, had been instructed to feed a beef cattle mineral mix to their goats. This was a mix designed for free range beeves.

    What you posted was the summery of the article. The actual article is much longer and has many interesting details in it. Also, it has some information about how they tried to treat the excess copper. It's interesting that the the herd also suffered losses 5 months later due to an infectious disease too.

    They were working with a nutritionist too, who it seems gave them bad info. It's not clear to me whether or not they thought the mix just had too much copper in it, or wether they suddenly thought that feeding it to the goats was a bad idea.
    I can't remember what the good levels for copper concentration in the livers is, but on the 4 initial does that they tested the levels were from 251-327.

    I think you are right, it would have been far safer for them to bolus than to attempt to feed a mix with such a high concentration of copper.

    (from the article which can be attained at avma.)
    "To identify possible sources of copper exposure in
    the herd, copper content of samples of hay (12 ppm),
    water (< 50 ppb), grain (34 ppm), and mineral mix
    (3,050 ppm) was analyzed. According to the National
    Research Council,1 the recommended total dietary intake
    of copper for a lactating dairy doe weighing 70 kg
    (154 lb) is 61 mg/d. Assuming total dry matter intake
    of 2.5% of body weight, daily grain intake of 0.91 kg
    (2 lb [31 mg of copper]), and daily hay intake of 0.84
    kg (1.85 lb [10 mg of copper]), then a doe would have
    been able to ingest only 6 g of the mineral mix (20 mg
    of copper) before exceeding this daily requirement. The
    nutritionist working for the mineral mix manufacturer
    had instructed the dairy owner to withdraw the mineral
    mix from the pens at the time doe 1 was examined at the
    Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital because of safety
    concerns related to the product, which was labeled for
    administration to beef cattle on pasture. Previously, a
    local distributor for the mineral mix had recommended
    this product to the owner of the goat dairy."
  19. BlissBerry

    BlissBerry Guest


    Please put your location in your profile.

  20. Aja-Sammati

    Aja-Sammati Active Member

    I think the dairy was on the coast near the bay area- not my idea of 'northern' CA ;) Maybe they weren't testing each load of hay before it was used, and got some from a different supply?

    I disagree about soil and forage testing on your land giving a complete picture- it you are really letting your animals forage, you can have drastically different results on soil and forage tests, even on just a few acres. A classic example from our county is a beef producer with copper deficient cows and their neighbor with no problems at all- same water source, same minerals, same forage type- different soils, even in the same terrain/area.

    My sister has been bugging me to bolus her doe- I won't do it until after I do liver biopsies on the butcher wethers this winter. I am feeding techmaster concentrate- 4,000 ppm of copper- I won't bolus until I get a better picture.

    Survey maps aren't accurate at all- they show our area as being ok on selenium- but everyone is Bo-Seing their goats 2-3 times a year here??

    Oh- and I haven't found ANY dairy goat or even goat mineral mixes in our area yet- the nearest ones are for southern Oregon and Reno, NV- neither of which have the same climate, forage, or soil that we do. And I think CA is the goat capital of the world :lol