Monday, March 22, 2010

Goat Doctoring

My daughter was home for Spring Break a couple of weeks ago and had various friends visit over the course of the week.  One friend hadn't been to the farm in a while and was surprised by the number of goats.  She asked our daughter when had our goats multiplied.  Seems we have become full-fledged goat farmers.

A couple of weeks ago we had another sick goat.  Maggie, our "beta" goat, the alpha goat's side kick, came down with mastitis.  Not knowing much about how to treat it, I had the vet come out to look at her.  He put her on some antibiotics and all seemed to go during her treatment.  By the second day off antibiotics, she had a relapse so I called the vet.  This time, Maggie was put on the same antibiotic but for a longer treatment.  By yesterday afternoon, I knew the medicine wasn't working - she had shown no signs of improvement and in fact, had gotten worse.  Maggie is normally a feisty goat and is mean to the other "lesser" goats in the herd and often makes me mad.  She had become so lethargic that I was wishing and hoping we'd see signs of the old Maggie.  Since the antibiotic wasn't working, I didn't bother to give her any yesterday.  I had even accepted the fact that she probably wouldn't make it through the night.  

First thing this morning, Bill and I headed to the barn to check on Maggie, expecting the worse.  Bill even told me not to look in the stall, that he'd check.  Of course, Maggie is my goat and I had to check on her as well, no matter how we found her.  To our surprise, she was still alive, although didn't seem any better.  As soon as I was able, I phoned the vet and asked about a stronger or different course of treatment.  Within the hour, I was back home with two antibiotics, some yogurt, and a little more information on treating her.  (The yogurt is for probiotics which a goat needs to properly digest food in their rumen.)

So, we've begun this new course of treatment.  I'm being hopeful but realistic.  Goats are tough animals but when they get sick, they really get sick.  Part of it is that they are prey animals and cannot show any weakness  for fear of attack by predators.  Once an owner notices a goat is sick, it's an uphill battle - one that I lost recently with my goat Marla.  This time, though, I thought I caught it in time.  Hopefully, Maggie will hang in there long enough for the new course of antibiotics to do their job.

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