By now you’re probably hating me for leaving the last post in unknowing suspense. Did he live?? I’ll ruin it.. he has.
Overview. I got this limp, very ill baby goat last Friday, who started showing signs of illness Thursday. He was in my house for a couple days and I was treating for goat polio and listeriosis.
On Sunday, 72 hours after he had first become ill, I moved him to the barn. I was afraid he was too isolated in the house with me being gone at the hospital for 12 hour shifts and my husband being gone for a farm show for work. I had him tucked into the duck’s summer pool with puppy pads on the bottom (to soak up the urine) and straw with towels and blankets surrounding him to keep him propped up. He was still unable to lay normally without assistance and I was still turning him and changing his position quite frequently.
Treatment with IM penicillin, thiamine, and banamine continued. For the first 3 days I treated him every 6 hours with penicillin and thiamine and gave banamine twice per day. I gave the banamine because the little guy would grit/grind his teeth so loudly. It was awful and heartbreaking. He quickly became a pin cushion getting almost 10 injections a day. I rotated sites and gave some of the injections subcutaneously because I didn’t want him to get knots or tender spots. The most concerning thing was he didn’t even flinch with the injections. Didn’t struggle, call out, nothing. I felt like every single morning when I’d get home from work I would find a dead goat. I prayed and prayed that God would give me the knowledge and ability to help this poor little goat have a better life than he had had at the beginning. I know, silly to pray for a goat, but God knows me and knows how big my heart is for animals.
Monday, 2/12, began a new day. The goat, who I hadn’t named yet because I was afraid to get too attached right now, actually struggled when I gave him his injections. He gave a tiny, pitiful “maaaa” when he got poked. I attempted to assist him to stand to strengthen his legs another way that just range of motion and it was so frustrating and sad. He was like a noodle. He could put minimal weight on his front legs but his back legs were stiff and would give with the slightest bit of weight on them. His neck was still rigid and he kept wanting to turn his head to his right flank making it absolutely impossible for one person to stabilize his body, hold him up, and keep his neck straight. I would hold him on my lap and put him on his side and do range of motion to each leg on that side. 10 reps for each leg three times. Then I’d flip him over and repeat with the other side. Then I’d hold him in my lap and move his legs and bend them so he was sitting like a normal goat and help him hold that position. I’d rub and scratch his ears and give him kisses. If this little guy was going to cross the rainbow bridge on me, he sure was going to know what it’s like to be loved and comforted.
This is when I moved the little guy outside to be around friends. It was cold that night and I was headed to work so I put my dog’s carhartt coat on him and snuggled him up with his stuffed toy friend. You can see in this picture how straight and stuff his back legs were. I had just straightened out his neck and massaged it so he wasn’t rigid and turned to his flank currently.
I went to searching goat polio and listeriosis on google to see if there were other people’s accounts on rehabbing goats with these illnesses. I could find nothing on it dealing with a goat kid, as most of the time it afflicts the adult animals. The few stories I found were disheartening and it sounded like if he did recover, it would be a loooooong road and he may not every be right, normal, or functional again. I went through a time where I wonder if I was doing the right thing keeping this goat alive or if I should have let him pass peacefully and not be miserable and unable to move.
Which is why I’m posting this story. And I’m breaking it up into parts because I want each post to show a different milestone. Plus, currently we’re only a week into his recovery so soon each post will be an update on what other milestones or setbacks we have ran into.