Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Playing doctor is not as fun as I thought!

Sasafras and Buddy using the fence as a step stool before the 'apple incident'.

Before I get into this, let me start by saying that I really appreciate all the support from everyone. Sass is doing better. She greeted me at the gate this morning, ate some grains/ration (for the first time) and generally appears to be on the mend. She did NOT want to get on the milking stand, but after last night, who can blame her?

Let me back up a bit. When my H brought Sass home from the vet, he brought with him a big bag of medicine. He said that he learned how to give her injections and that we'd have to do it quite a bit over the next few days. I was hesitant since I didn't get a lesson on how to do it, so I was content with letting him be the goat doctor. Well... what I hadn't realized was that he had to travel for work on Wednesday (today) and wouldn't be home until late. I had to learn how to do this, STAT.

So last night, after we made a run to the grocery store, I started sifting through all the meds. Between the invoice from the vet and the labels on the bottles, I was able to make out everything. I did a little research and figured out what each item did. I was also able to set up a mental schedule for us...which meant that we had to give shots immediately. So we collect all the supplies (good thing for big pockets on my 'farm' coat!), grab the lantern, and head out to see Sass. She has an idea that something is going on and does her best to avoid us. H manages to get her on the milking stand and gives her a little grain (which she proceeds to ignore). Then we start with the SC (subcutaneous: under the skin) fluids. This is a bag of saline that we administer to her by injecting it slowly under the skin on her shoulder. First we do 2 ml on one side and then 2 ml on the other side. It was slow going: H holding in the needle and trying to hold Sass steady while I kept the bag elevated and made sure it flowed. Once that was done, we gave her one more shot in the shoulder/neck area under the skin and then we gave her 5 cc's of Probios (to help equalize her rumen) in her mouth. She had less issues with the needles in her skin than she did with the syringe in her mouth...even though it supposedly tastes good! I'm not exactly sure how I'm going to do this alone, but I'll figure it out.

Then we let her down and made sure she had fresh water. She didn't seem to worse for the wear after this, but I was tired. Unfortunately, I spent most of the night tossing and turning and imagining that we did that all wrong and that she was either in horrendous pain all night, or that she'd die on us! It was awful (for me). Luckily, it was all my stupid vivid imagination!

Tonight after work, I'll have to give her two shots and some more Probios. I think we can skip the SC fluids since she seems to be drinking water just fine now.

In our little medical bag of goodies, we also got dewormer injections for both goats. We are going to hold off on that until we are sure Sassy is back up to speed. I don't think she needs even more things for her body to worry about right now. We will treat them both at the same time, and then start them both on an herbal de-worming program that is safe to use on pregnant goats but that the worms will not develop a resistance to (like they can with orthodox ones). We did make sure that this injection we got from the vet is safe for pregnant goats, too.

My H and I are both feeling pretty guilty about this whole thing. I knew about bloat and I knew that too many apples could cause it in horses and that it can be life-threatening. I also knew that it is important to keep a goat's rumen in balance. BUT, I thought that goats were supposed to be able to do this on their own. I didn't know they could over-eat something like apples! We obviously still have a lot to learn when it comes to raising livestock. Hopefully Sass, Buddy and all the chickens will survive the learning curve!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Awww Catherine, you're being awfully tough on yourself. I'm sure Sass is going to be just fine. You are a wonderful "mother" to her. Good luck with the shots. Boy you really are learning a lot. And I totally thank you for sharing with us neophytes. {{{HUGS}}}Barbara