June 19th -A Great Loss
Feta was the perfect goat. When I first looked into goats I decided I wanted a Nigerian Dwarf, I fell in love with the breed. I decided I must have one with blue eyes and a buckskin or dun color would be the perfect. Husband didn’t share the same excitement but agreed that we could have a goat. He stuck me with a $100 budget, probably thought I wouldn’t be able to find what I wanted and give up? However, after looking for one week I found a blue-eyed dunny colored goat! I put a deposit on her and was excited to bring her home once she was weaned. Feta came home with me and was immediately a hit. Husband ended up falling in love with her too and eventually she gave us baby goats and plentiful milk. We couldn’t ask for more from our $100 investment turned family member.
Pan forward 4 years, 10 kids, countless gallons of milk and many batches of delicious cheese.
The weekend before June 19th went from being a normal weekend to a complete disaster. We celebrated our Dads did some yard work just a normal weekend, until Sunday morning.
Sunday morning I woke up before Husband, thinking I would be sweet I got up quietly to make coffee and do the morning chores. As I walked out to feed I thought I can’t wait until we have milk from Feta again just another week and we will be back in our milking routine.
I fed the chickens first and turned on their cooler. When I approached Feta’s pen I noticed that she hadn’t touched her dinner, not her Chaffhaye, lactation supplement, or grain/pellet mix. She came out of her house and looked really bad. Her face was swollen her eyes looked bulging and she was clearly dehydrated. I immediately went in and got a Benadryl thinking that it must be some sort of insect bite. I gave her that and changed out her water in case she was just not liking the taste of it, Feta was notorious for refusing things that she thought were off in some way.
After watching her try to drink I started calling vets, Sunday morning being off hours I called about 10 clinics. Finally, I was able to talk to a vet but they couldn’t send someone out. So Husband and I loaded Feta and the babies up in the car and I took them to the clinic. The vet there reminded me that she was an equine vet and didn’t normally deal with ruminants but would do her best. They ran blood work and came back with the conclusion that she had no infection, and simply was dehydrated and low in calcium. They gave her I.V. fluids and pumped electrolyte water into her stomach through a tube in her nose. She perked up and they sent us home and told me to get her to eat and drink. They had no idea what started the issue, it just important to keep her eating and drinking.
She had no interest in hay or grain and struggled to chew Swiss chard, celery and beet greens from the garden. She was grinding her teeth and clearly in pain. I quickly realized we were not out of the woods yet. With in a half hour, she went down hill again and we brought her and the kids inside. Once there I started trying to get a hold of another vet. I needed someone knowledgeable about goats. The clinic we had been at that morning called me and set me up with a vet from Whitman, a town about 45 minutes away. It was 3 pm at the time and she couldn’t come out until 6:30. So we waited for her. When she arrived she wasn’t concerned with the swelling in Feta’s face, just the dehydration. We were a little frustrated when she just wanted to get her hydrated and not trouble shoot anything else. She gave us fluids and Banamine to us administer, sewed in a central line and left.
After the fluids, Feta perked up a little and wanted to be with her babies and walk around a bit. Though she was interested she still wasn’t eating or drinking. I sent videos of her trying to eat and drink and the pain it clearly caused her to the Vet but she didn’t seem concerned at all. She said, “let’s get her hydrated and then we can access the eating and drinking”. She was hydrated though because she was peeing a ton. The vet said she would come out the next afternoon, we went to bed but woke up the next morning and Feta was not looking good at all.
We noticed immediately that she was bloated, so we gave her a bloat remedy. By now she couldn’t swallow and her mouth was more swollen. The remedy didn’t seem to help at all. I called the vet and she said she couldn’t get to the house until the afternoon. I had to run to the feed store to get some items the vet wanted to give Feta so I had my neighbor Susan sit with her and the babies while I was gone. She called about 20 minutes after I left and said that Feta had what appeared to be a seizure and that she was able to lay her down on her side. Susan said she didn’t look good.
By the time I got home it was clear that Feta had Frothy Bloat she was in a great amount of pain and would flail, grown and grind her teeth when she had cramps. I called the vet back to figure out her ETA and she said 3 pm. I knew Feta was suffering so I tried the original vet again. Mondays are better for getting a hold of Vets and they were able to send out a knowledgeable ambulatory vet. After speaking to him I made the decision that what was best for Feta was to end her pain.
When he arrived he went over the options again. He could treat Feta by suctioning the existing foam out of the rumen, then creating a hole in her side and rumen he would install a valve to release foam and feed her through. The surgery would be extremely expensive and she would have a 50/50 chance of survival. If it happened to be a neurological issue with the rumen she would never fully recover and would need to be euthanized. I called Husband and we decided to go through with euthanizing her. After he euthanized her he told me we had made the right decision and that it appeared the issue was neurological. He affirmed our decision and said Feta was ready to go.
We still don’t know what caused the original symptoms that led to dehydration and neurological complications but we suspect she was stung by a scorpion or black widow. We would have loved to have had a necropsy performed on her but after spending $1000 to try to save her the extra $200 was too much of a burden financially.
The Following week was miserable, walking outside expecting her to call to me like she always did, feeling like I had forgotten a huge chunk of chores morning and night. Not being able to go out and see my little goat when I need a break has put me in a somber mood.
Feta’s babies are doing well, we were able to transition them onto the bottle successfully and two have already sold. One will be right across the street. The last little boy is still looking for a home but has a lot of interest.
People have been asking if we would keep one of the babies or get another goat? For now, we just need to regroup and my heart needs to heal. Feta was the perfect goat and will not easily be replaced. Our home is just not the same with out her.
Feta had quite the following online and the well wishes have poured in, we want to thank those of you who lifted our family up in prayer and sent kind words. Your kind words and prayers were like a refreshing spring of water in the hot desert.
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