Saturday, February 6, 2021

Oil and Massage

An unexpected sequela of last week's storm was a very sick goat.



I first became aware that something was wrong when Mama the goat refused her special treats. Every afternoon she receives a teaspoon of powdered apple-flavored aspirin mixed with kitchen scraps. Usually she's waiting by the garage door to receive her "special treats".

It was very unusual for her to turn up her nose to the apple core, lettuce, and kiwi peelings. Perplexed I made another batch of ASA with bits of bread and COB (goaty granola), she sniffed it and turned away. Next I tried a couple of peanuts, she mouthed it, dropped it, and walked away.

Here's the thing about Mama, as The Man likes to say, "She's a tough old goat".  She suffers from arthritis and has been receiving daily aspirin which seems to help. The warmer months are easier for her and every winter we think it'll be her last but every morning she's standing and waiting to be let out of her house. On colder mornings, it takes her awhile but Mama eventually makes her way out of the pen to find some breakfast.

For Mama to refuse food something was wrong. Her thick winter coat covered her abdomen but when I placed my hands through her fur I noticed quickly there were no bowel sounds. I could not feel or hear any gurgling and her belly felt tight as a drum.

As I gently palpated Mama's belly, she didn't move away as she normally would but instead stood with her head hanging low and I could hear her grinding her teeth. It's a terrible sound, it's the sound of pain.

I thought of the stormy winds that had swept through the oak trees and then covered the property with fresh green oak leaves and wet oak moss.  I thought of the way the goats looked with green beards as they dined on the lush lichen.

We have experienced this sudden and dangerous condition before - goat bloat.

I started to rub and pat Mama's abdomen, concentrating mostly over her left side, her rumen. The Man came by and he helped me administer 5 ml of Goat Probiotic. We bedded her down in the garage, it was warmer and we didn't think she could walk the distance to the pen.

The next morning she was standing by the door to be let out. She left the garage and headed to the dog house. There were only a couple of goat poops in the garage, not nearly enough.

Mama stayed in the dog house all day. It was large enough for both of us as I sat with her and massaged and thumped on her with cupped hands. We gave her more Probiotic and 1/4 cup Canola Oil (orally with a syringe) to help break up the froth and release the bubbles. She drank water but did not eat anything and spent another night in the garage.

The next day she seemed better. She had started pooping again, her abdomen was softer, and less distended. Most noticeably she had stopped grinding her teeth. One more Probiotic dose and an occasional pat and rub when I could catch up to her.


By the fourth day Mama was back to normal - chewing her cud, eating, burping, and pooping - her usual goaty self.