As many of you know we have had a very tough year with our herd this year. They say that loss comes in sets of threes and for us that has been sadly very true. We had three buckling's that had not sold by September of this year, that I had scheduled to be wethered. Mid-September when the vet came to wether them, one of the bucklings our sweetest little black one Frank had not eaten his grain that morning. This was very odd for him, so we elected not to wether him that day and since the vet was coming. I had her take a look at him, she treated him with Nuflor, thiamine, probiotics and banamine and we assumed he had a mild case of pneumonia and that he would bounce back. By the next day he was back to his old self, so we called to reschedule his castration which wasn't going to be for another 2 weeks just due to scheduling. We had a trip booked for the weekend to go to Beaver Creek Ohio to sell our BBQ sauce, seasoning rubs and goat milk fudge. So, we left on this trip where we encountered so many issues. Not only did the caliper bolt fall off of the front drivers side break of our truck, but we also got into a bad parking lot situation with our horse trailer, because of construction down by OSU. " We went to pick up Momma's belongings and ashes." This ended in us scraping the skylight on our new trailer because of a low hanging underpass. All in all, poor Rob found us a replacement caliper bolt after dropping the trailer at OSU, we picked up Momma's belongings and ashes and he found a firestone tire in Columbus that would loan him the tools to fix the truck and get on our way. This meant a trip that should have taken 4 hours ended up taking over 8 hours with all of the issues we encountered.
We got to the festival and had a wonderful time and did well for ourselves, however, I got the call Sunday morning from our farm sitter that Frank our little black bucking was acting drunk. I immediately told her to give him thiamine which she did as it sounded like polio, and I called our only emergency vet in the area and they did not have a large animal vet on staff that day, so we elected to wait until Monday when we got home to take him to the vet. Which we did and he was admitted for Polio. Frank steadily improved and by Tuesday evening was ready to come home, he was wobbly but was standing on his hind legs eating from the hay rack. A vast improvement from the previous day and a half. By Thursday we noticed that he had begun to show signs of going downhill again, so we called our regular vet Sunny Ridge, and they were able to get him in. At this point he had severely degraded to the point where we were at do or die, his head was thrown back, and his poor little body was stiff. Sunny ridge gave him a sedative to help relax his muscles and also gave us an IV to administer his dexamethasone and thiamine and to give him fluids to keep him hydrated. Thursday evening was incredibly difficult, he would get himself stuck in his stall and scream for help. Rob sat outside holding him and rocking him on for over an hour to give him some sort of comfort. Around 2:30 AM we finally were able to get him propped up in between two bales of hay to keep him as sternal as he would remain. By the time his 6 AM shot rolled around, he was significantly relaxed and showing signs of improvement. We continued every 6-hour treatments of thiamine and dexamethasone and also gave him nuflour every other day for three doses. Along with Penicillin and de-wormer doses as directed by our vet in case it was meningeal worm or listeriosis. By the time the following Tuesday rolled around Frank was able to stand and enjoy some mild grazing with the herd. He could not be out unsupervised, because he needed to be rescued a few times when he would get into an area that was not flat, but we were hopeful that he would improve and be a happy whether living out his days here.
We religiously continued with his thiamine and backed off on the Dexamethasone as directed by our vet, going through over 100 needles and syringes with his care, but after four weeks of intensive care Frank was at a standstill. He could get up and down, eat, drink, chew his cud and be happy, but he could not walk other than pushed up against his stall in a counterclockwise manner. Both Rob and I had said to ourselves that if he was not better by the time, I went into labor we would put him down. This was for two reasons; one he would have been receiving treatment for over six weeks and two we did not want his care to suffer because we were focused on our new addition to the family. The interesting thing about this is neither of us told the other we felt this way. As Frank continued to remain steadily handicapped, I again called our vet asking if there was anything we could do. She asked for the weekend to research it and then would get back to us. On Monday she called suggesting we add Prednisone to his treatment protocol to see if that would help with any remaining swelling, but that his case was very odd because usually goats were either better or had passed away by this point, not usually in a limbo state like this....
So, we decided to press on with this last treatment effort. Frank loved his bananas where we put the pills and we had added probiotics to his diet a few weeks before which he also enjoyed. The crazy thing was through this whole process Frank was still a happy, kind and loving goat. Every time we would come into the barn he was happy to see us. I think there are a lot of people that could learn from this level of love and resilience. We will conclude the story of Frank the Tank in next weeks blog. I hope you all are having a great breeding season! Best of luck and Happy Goating!!!