Friday, January 28, 2011

Lets talk about honestly......

Today I'm posting sad news as have to tell you all that Puzzle, when purchased her was very ill unbeknownst to us. As many of you know we happily brought home our first ever dairy goat and were thrilled to have stared out herd.

We knew upon arrival at the "farm" that if we chose to take Puzzle that she would be a type of rescue project for us. We are a little known for that and I have to admit Puzzle has taught us a major lesson, one that was very important to for me to learn, "you can't save everything". She was underfeed, majorly, her coat was a mess and she had sad eyes. We thought we were doing the right thing as we loaded her up and headed home.

As we got Puzzle settled in her new home inside out of the cold, cozy with more hay then she knew what to do with and a fresh bed of straw, water at any time that she would want it and grain, which was a big difference from the cracked corn that she was eating when we met her.....She was shy but friendly.

With in a couple of days we knew that she wasn't "right" . She had come from a small herd and was currently on her own until we knew that she wasn't sick. We did let our two new Alpines visit with her in hopes of perking her up but they were not allowed to stay with her for any extended time and honestly she paid them no mind. I had a friend of mine who is a farmer come to look at her....she noticed that she was doing loads of teeth grinding and that she seemed to not care to have her hind legs touched. I called the vet right away!

We are very lucky here to have a large animals vet that works as a team and they are very good with goats and sheep as well. This is wonderful for us and I know many people find themselves with a large animal vet that deals mainly with cows and horses. After looking her over closely and checking on the babies she informed me that her fever was 105* and her worm load was crazy high. She feared then that it was Meningeal worm. This worm is a rotten little thing......It comes from white tail deer who happily pass it along in their droppings for all the snails and slugs to then eat and if goats or sheep and other animals as well happen to consume them while out in the field the problems begin. There hardly ever is a happy ending. It takes many meds and if the animal lives there is often some permanent damage to the brain and spine.

I got the run down on the signs, the meds and the road ahead of us. I worked around the clock. I made more trips then I have ever made threw out the nights to the barn......Suddenly we found her in labor......She wasn't due until late March/early April. I was thankful that I had been studying and quizzing myself on delivering the lamb for the past month. I was as ready as I was going to be and just hoped that their bodies were enough like sheep that I was doing what I needed to. A quick call to the vet was made and she informed me that I would probably have to do all the delivering since she was far to weak.

I pulled on my glove and got set up. She didn't complain, and didn't' baby was out and what I would have thought of as about the right size for the age. Another was on it's way....I helped out a little with that one and is was just so tiny.....stroking her head as she chewed away at hay, very unfazed. I was crying. Telling her how sorry I was as these tiny pink lifeless babies arrived. There was a little bit of a break before number three. Suddenly a gush and out it started....and then, stuck. This one was the bigger of at three and the heart break worsened as I then had to step in, and it was clearly kicking. Thankful my wonderful husband was by my since reminding me that not all things can be saved.

Puzzle never stood again after this.....she was eating find, no longer had a fever, drinking but her hind quarters seemed to no longer function. I called the vet again and did as she advised more strong meds, reposition her a couple of times a day and do some nerve testing. She felt that the worms may have done to much damage but wanted to try one more round of meds. Still nothing. I did a little research on my own and talked to a couple people about sling building. Rob fashioned a great one to her but alas nothing changed and again I called the vet.

This was her last visit to Puzzle. She later informed me that she (not the first vet that came to the house as there is a team of them) knew of the location that she came from and that she was very disappointed that she had been sold and without proper information. She stated that she had a history of treating her. This sadden me and yet, I knew that we had given her a wonderful home for the short time that we had her here at Bakers Acres.

I have learned so very much from this. First off again, I can NOT save everything. I've learned many more questions to ask about current and past health and how they were raised, what foods they eat, where they graze and how to take a good look at their coloring, external body temp, coat texture, smell, feet and teeth. I've become a master of taking an animals temp and giving shots. I also had a heartbreaking lesson in loss, of our animal and of her kids. We however have not given up and although the lessons that I've learned were hard and not ideal to say the least they have made me a better herd/flock owner and hobby farm operator and I'm grateful for that.

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