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  • Writer's pictureConstance Wilmoth

The key to success is adaptation!

This past week has been one that fits with the status quo of our lives. One of my horses that has a chronic lameness issue suddenly became much worse to the point he could not even walk to get his grain. This triggered a call to both my farrier and my vet. Thinking, it was just he got long in his feet, the farrier reset him and he was no better, even a bit worse sadly. The vet was able to come out on Wednesday and did a full lameness exam, and determined my horse of 18 years likely had laminitis. To say I was surprised was an understatement. This launched us to change our routine and the way I care for my animals drastically.

Traditionally, spring, summer and fall the horses are out 100% of the time unless the weather is just too hot and buggy. The vet wanted Owen off grass, and on a low starch grain. This meant my poor goats had their world upside down! For anyone that has been to my place knows we do the best with what we have where we are at now. This means things are constantly moving in order to accommodate the needs of the moment. Right now half of my 24 by 30 "barn" is taken up with all of our winter hay storage. The other 3/4 of it are two large stalls that the goats enjoy, however, these are also my only "horse stalls". So when the vet asked for Owen to be stalled I immediately started thinking about how we were going to accommodate my whole herd!

Many would think, well if you only have one horse in the goats can have the other stall, and while I wish it worked that way. Owen has severe separation anxiety from Elle and will absolutely break everything including himself if she is not next to him in the barn. This means my poor goats are relegated to using the isle and the back stall as their main sources of shelter and relaxation until we can get Owen's condition under control. This stress and change also seemed to trigger a small bout of soft stool from MJ. This is always an area of concern for me, especially with her! Thankfully, after two days of probitotics and one day of a baking soda drench she is back to making goat pellets!

Adaptation was key this weekend when we had planned to go camping. Knowing that we always keep the goats locked in their stalls when we leave, posed us some challenges. We discussed how we would manage this while still keeping Owen off the grass, and after many rounds of discussion we decided to take the horses and keep them on a tie line in camp in order to keep the goats in the barn. We even tossed around the idea of taking the girls with us. We truly enjoy spending time with them and I am sure they would have had a blast, but we ultimately decided against it.

The vet called me this morning and said the blood work confirmed his suspicion, that Owen had elevated insulin levels. He was shipping me thyroxin and to get a grazing muzzle along with decreasing his bute levels. Thankfully Owen seems to be walking comfortably again, and we hope all of the new management practices will help him continue to thrive. One thing I have learned from raising goats and horses is, ensure you are flexible, and observant. Taking action when something is not right very quickly is usually the key to making a recovery and a potential negative outcome.

Thanks all and Happy Goating!

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