The First thing I wanted to do……..

2013-08-25 12.09.47The first thing I wanted to do is………..toss this all away. Frankie was our first fatality in 4 years. Frankie was our  bright eyed wonder. We had named him “Frankie” after ol’ Blue Eyes himself, Frank Sinatra.

You can have all the right ingredients and measures but don’t think it can’t happen. We were on him immediately (that is when I noticed something was wrong). I read in my goat research that by the time we notice something is not right, it’s generally to late for the animal. Caring, nursing, watching and waiting. Waiting to see if the caring and nursing are having any effect. We love to see them jumping around and playing, happy and healthy. So when one isn’t feeling well, it breaks our heart.

Yesterday was day four.

We first noticed he was not acting his usual self, rather listless and had developed scours. With all the rain we have had we had been extra cautious about cleaning the stalled area and maintaining their hooves. When Frankie developed scours, we treated with pepto-bismol to help control it and gave him 10ml of powerade to restore his electrolytes. Watching and waiting.

Over the next two days there seemed to be no signs of improvement. He was not interested in hay or feed, when we got him up he simply stood in one spot. Over the course of these two days we had been treating him with herbal wormer in the form of a drench, powerade to build up his electrolytes, molasses mix with soda and water. and  neomycin with water solution to control scours. His stool was beginning to form, he did relocate himself from time to time. When we checked on Frankie we got him on his feet and massaged his tummy. We found that by doing this he would take in some roughage on his own. We took the goats out into the garden and woods on the third day to offer them a more diverse selection of grazing matter. The first thing Frankie did was eat some charcoal matter from a burn we had in the garden and he was pulling greens on his own. When he stopped, we massaged him and he would continue. We picked up a B-complex injectable from our local feed center and gave Frankie 1 ml to see if this would help. All my research on rumen activity suggested a B-complex and baking soda. Checking the good signs of him eating something on his own, making it through each night carried the hope that he might recover.

Day four was the hardest and saddest day here. Any loss is not acceptable (I’m still crying over it). Maybe this may help someone else. Help someone in calming their pain of a loss (as writing about it is calming mine). The clinicals of day four was that Frankie began the morning just laying down in the hay. His rumen still not active. I gave everyone breakfast and then gave Frankie a drench of baking soda and water to help balance his rumen and another powerade for a pick-me-up. I got him on his feet and massaged his tummy. Only this time the act of massage was not initiating an eating reflex. I carried him to the garden spot to see if he would pick up some charcoal or roughage, still  nothing. Watching and waiting, 2 hours passed and I walked him out in his yard to see if he would follow the others and graze. This was the tell-all that he was not going to get better. As I stood him up his hind legs went out  and would not support him. He was simply to weak. I immediately went for the injectables. A second dose (2 ml) of B-complex was given. Not knowing for sure what the ailment was, whether parasite or plant matter, you might be asking why I didn’t take him to the veterinary? The reason I did not take this action is that (my experience in the past), the veterinary in our area know as much about goat care as I do and at this stage there was not much hope of recovery. Now, it wasn’t the why and what as it was when?

It was approximately 1pm when Frankie passed away in my arms. I was grateful that I could be there with him. I gently laid him down in the hay while I prepared a location for him. Our eggplant are still flowering and I wanted him to be with something beautiful. It began to rain while I was preparing for his rest, that didn’t matter to me. Returning to the stall, I tenderly picked him up while cradling his head just as I had done for my babies. I spoke to him all the while, laying him on his bed of soft earth, covering him to keep him warm through the winter.

I thought that was the hardest thing I had to do. No, the hardest thing I had to do was to tell my daughter that he was gone.

Things can still go wrong even when you think you are doing it right so I am asking myself, why goats? What on earth am I raising goats for? Because I fell in love with my Molly.

If you are reading this post and you raise these wonderful animals you will know what I mean. They truly are a labor of love.


10 thoughts on “The First thing I wanted to do……..

  1. Thanks for this post. I’m crying as I type. I’m truly sorry for your loss. I know how painful it feels having lost a goat or two myself over the years. Every time I have lost one I also re-visit the “why do I have goats?” As you stated, we also have guess work vets around this area, when it comes to goats. It feels as if they go into the back room and read the book I have at home and just guess as I do. No more medical knowledge than I have. The best one we have actually apologizes to us for our having them as he says he really doesn’t like goats. Not funny but true. I hope you find healing and peace but hope you never give up on your love of goats and would like you to send that same wish back to me. I struggle every time I loose one because the pain is immense and the depression and guilt are over whelming. I feel I should know more and should be able to do more. A friend of mine who does my breeding, (I don’t want to keep a buck), just simply put it to me as this….sometimes you just loose one and there is nothing to be done about it. I lost a set of babies at birth (not a day old) a couple years back and a doeling to bloat, that same year. I almost through in the towel, I felt so bad. I didn’t and am glad I didn’t but still dread that pain. Peace be with you and God bless you.

    • Thank you Vivian for sharing your experience. Yes, I also feel there is more I should know. I remember getting my first doeling (Molly), not knowing anything about goats. When I asked what does she eat? The person said anything. Almost lost her 3 times that first year. We are constantly being educated through our experience with these beautiful creatures and talking with others. I feel I did all I could but there is always something more isn’t there? I went out to our animals last night and loved on them all the more and found a new determination to do better. Yes, it does happen but it’s not something I would want to get use to. I feel so blessed to have found wonderful and supporting goat friends like you and all the others. There is truly something magical about these lovely souls. Thank you again, Vivian.
      Blessings to you and yours
      Linda and Jaime

  2. Sorry about you loss, it does suck. I would have given him some LA200 That would have help knock out pneumonia. With all the wet weather. 2nd I give my herd vit B with thiamine (vet) 1ml / 40lbs Can’t overdose, the pee the excess out. This vit B helps with polio/listeria. I would check the temp of the goat. If it’s high, definitely LA200 Not trying to lecture, just helping in case you have a sick one go down in the future. 🙂 Hope this helps

    • Thank you YIP for posting, wasn’t taken as a “lecture”. Any information is good information. I guess I received mine a little late. I knew vitamins and minerals were essential, just didn’t realize how much. I had also given a dose of penicillin thinking I could knock it out of him. Molly had a urinary infection which had produce similar symptoms and 3 days on penicillin and she was fine again. Thank you again for the good information.
      Blessings to you and yours
      Linda and Jaime

  3. Please don’t think all DVMs are clueless about goats. Contact AASRP to see if small ruminant dvm in your area. Sorry for your loss. Sometimes no matter what you do you just can’t save them. How old was Frankie? Any vaccinations (cdt)? Coccidiosis prevention? Thiamine good suggestion. I’ve had good luck with Baytril (antibiotic) for pneumonia. Also Banamine helps them feel better, reduces fever and may start eating. Also high dose CD Antitoxin immediately especially if no vaccine. Just a few thoughts…

    • Thank you so much for your suggestions. No…I’m sorry to give that impression. It is more “myself” that is clueless not realizing how much there is to learn about goat care. They truly are not the trash can goat. With my first brush with the death of my first goat, I went to the veterinary in our and it was take a seat and we will call you when my goat was dying (or so I thought) in the back of my car. Frankie was 12 weeks old. I try to stay as natural as I can with them without to many shots (I’m not very good at giving them) but I can see that it is necessary with all the crazy elements out there. I had given his to late. Still learning and no where near touched the surface. Maybe in another 20 years or so. Thank you again.
      Blessings to you and yours
      Linda and Jaime

  4. There is no such thing as a goat expert we all do what we have learned works for us. There is Nothing that can change what has happened and give back your baby so don’t beat yourself up too badly over it. With any scours I assume Coccidia. I treat it with sulmet, If it doesn’t respond to that my next move is Valbazen because worms also cause scours and by the time they do “herbals” will not work. I only use Veterinary Kaolin Pectin if the scours last more than 48 hours and I have started treatment with sulmet. Some human diarrhea treatments will stop rumen function and KILL goats. Typical Times for dying from coccidia are as 3 week olds and at weaning but seasonal changes can stess them out enough for coccidia to take over and kill them if they have not raised on a coccidia prevention program.

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