The 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.