Greener Pastures and Bloat

Contented grazing Shetland flock on the new pasture

New pasture on Wednesday, trouble with the goatsies on Thursday.

Both Marcia and Patricia had developed chronic diarrhea in the night and did not want to go out to with the flock in the morning.  Standing in the doorway of their stall, only Lu was interested in eating any hay or grain.

The diarrhea concerned me, of course, but I tried to stay calm, saw that they were somewhat ambulatory and decided I would just give them a little time before going to the books. By the end of the day, Marcia was much better and eating hay.  No diarrhea.

Spot the bloated goat

However, Patricia had removed herself from the herd and found a quiet place to rest.  She didn’t have diarrhea anymore, but her eyelids were slightly swollen and pale.  Char and I had to pick her up to move her around and so I delved into my goat-books for remedies.

Laying low in the morning. It was a bad sign that only Lu wanted to go out.

Marcia diagnoses the patient

Tummy troubles – too many greens aren’t always good for you

The first remedy we tried was to force feed her some peanut oil.  Supposedly it would break up the bubbles and give her rumen some relief. Not practiced with stomach-tubing, we tried to feed her by mouth. She took a bit of it willingly, only a bit, and we were supposed to get a cup of it down her throat.  So we then tried a bit of baking soda, which she hated, and then vomited up the bit of oil with it.  Neither of us knew a goat could throw up.  That was a lesson.

Next we got a turkey baster full of peanut oil and while one held her, the other inserted the baster and let it trickle down into her mouth.  Though I was concerned with it getting into her lungs, resulting in pneumonia, we carefully managed to get 1/2 cup of it down and then  walked her about some more.  Listening to her stomach revealed some gurgling every now and again.  We let her rest for the evening.

Next morning she was standing, but not interested in eating and her ballooned sides had not decreased in size. A nagging anxiety as well as a lot of reading had me second guessing that I shouldn’t be hitting her with a stronger, faster acting formulas for improvement.  I worried I might have let it go too long and that she would have lasting repercussions of a ruined rumen.  Reading will do that to me…

I called my sheep vet, but he and his son were both on vacation.  I called another vet that I’ve used before that travels from farther away.  He was available and down to the farm in a couple of hours.  First he gave me a tongue lashing for not calling sooner and also for attempting the home remedies.  He made this 47-year-old lady feel like a two-year old.

I am properly shamed by thinking that I could have adequately nursed my bloated goat back to health.

Then Dr. C chatted about his granddaughter’s achievements in the world of equitation and gave us the run-down on her trip to Oklahoma, that day, to compete in a national horse competition.

He shared about his years in the military, his family of veterinarians, his children’s accomplishments, his several dogs, his associates accomplishments, his philosophy on life, his recipe for good healthas a senior…all before finally commencing to give a sub-cut dose of a combination of a steroid called “Dexamethazone” as well as two flavors of Penicillin called “Procaine & Benzathine” for short-term and then long lasting antibiotic protection.

The injection took less than 5 seconds but the build-up, the play-by-play, the lecture and then Q & A session took about forty-five minutes.

Char & Dr. C give Patricia an Rx for Bloat

Dr. C is a nice guy – I’m o.k. with getting my wrists slapped in the interest of healthier livestock.  I’m not so sure I’m all that evil for trying the home remedies first because the fact of the matter is, I know my animals and often I have been correct about how I handle their ailments and also have been successful in nursing them to health.

But the great news is that this morning Patricia was up and at ’em, leaning on the door of the stall when I walked into the barn, greeting me in her old, enthusiastic ways.  And she had a great appetite!

Peeking into the paddock

Breakfast yet?

Patricia on the road to health, sampling hay

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4 responses to “Greener Pastures and Bloat

    • Thank you! This morning my regular sheep/goat vet called me to check because he’d gotten the message in his office. He and I had a good chuckle about how his manner differs from Dr. C’s, but it’s all good because Patricia is QUITE back to her old tricks this morning! Thanks for the note and thanks for the visit!

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