Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Don't tell the other kids but Luna is my favorite goat. She was my first,and came from a less than optimum situation. It gave me great joy to get to know her, and to help her become sleek and healthy. To my great surprise she would seek me out when I was in the pasture, and lean against me, nuzzle me, get to know me. The more I got to know her the more I found myself falling in love with her sweet and gentle spirit. I had no idea I would ever love a goat, but I do.
Yesterday I found her behaving oddly. She didn't want to eat, and was pressing her head against the walls of the shed. She was trembling. I took her temperature and it was on the low end of normal. Her stomach was not making its normal gurgling sounds and she was not chewing her cud. Her milk production was way down. I put a coat on her, mixed her up a big bowl of warm water with molasses and began to fret. I called my wonderful goat mentor friend and she began to fret with me. Then she hooked me up with a special Facebook page catering to holistic goat care. I filled out a form with lots of information about my goat and got much input as to what I should do to help my sweet Luna. After a restless night I was up well before dawn to check on her. She was shivery and pathetic. I got her up and walked her round and round the pasture to try to warm her up. It was 19 degrees outside. She refused breakfast, but did drink more warm water with molasses. It was so hard to leave to go to work, knowing she was here, and sick, without me.
A friend called mid-day and asked if I would like her to go by and check on the goat. What a gift! The even better gift? She called once she got here and said that Luna was up and chewing her cud. That meant that she was ruminating. Rumination is the process that goats go through to digest their food. I wanted to do a happy dance.
Another friend called a few hours later. She had stopped by on her way home from work and reported that Luna was looking bright and ... (yay!) chewing her cud. I could hardly wait to get home and see for myself. (I have the best friends in the universe.)
Sure enough, I arrived home to find her lying comfortably, bright eyed, not trembling. She drank well and ate a bit.Her temperature was on the higher end of normal. After hours of worry, I was washed with relief. Keeping goats is tricky, I am learning. Most veterinarians know little about their care. If I had taken all the advice I heard I would have: given her vitamin B injections, selenium injections, oral
pro-biotics, cayenne pepper,an oral "drench" full of calcium and wormed her for a variety of parasites. That seemed like a lot to pile on to an animal that was already feeling so poorly.
My animals bring me a lot of joy. But they also bring me a lot of worry. I am so glad that Luna is feeling better. I plan to sleep well tonight.