Ahhh, things to be thankful for in summer...
and most of all...healthy goats!
You've probably seen these little faces before...Tardis, Bud, Glowbug, and G.B. They've been on our farm just about 2 years and are a fun bunch. With only a few escapes to their credit, they've been gentle and sweet, and come running when they see us. Both kids took goats as 4H projects this year and we've all learned a lot.
With that said, this is the story of Listeriosis.
As I said, each morning (noon or night!) when we visit the goats, they are eager to see us. They know a handful of grain may be coming, along with some treats or a welcome scratch on the back. However one morning in June, Bud didn't come running...he held back from the others and wouldn't let us near him.
Everyone else eagerly ran for breakfast, but he stood apart. Knowing this wasn't his usual personality, I watched him for a few minutes. One eye was partially closed, his head tilted, and he was grinding his teeth...a sign he was in pain. Some quick reading told me these symptoms were probably Listeria or Goat Polio, a quick call was made to our vet and she was soon here. She confirmed that it was Listeria.
As she took his temperature, she laughed...that temperature wasn't possible, she must have forgotten to shake it down. She took it again and it read 107 degrees. She was stunned...telling me Bud shouldn't even be alive at this point. Immediate treatment was critical-antibiotics were given and were to be continued for 3 days. To our relief, in a couple of days he was eating and back to himself. However 3 weeks later, we found him the same as before. Another call to the vet...she needed me to take his temperature (remember when I said we all learned a lot?!) And so additional antibiotics were given (I now know the difference between SubQ and IM injections) and he came out of it again. It's been several weeks with no sign that Listeriosis is returning...and we're very grateful.
So, what have we learned..
-keep a close eye on hay...it must be dry to prevent the bacteria that causes Listeriosis
-keep a goat first-aid kit on hand...there was no time to waste driving to our local feed store to buy a thermometer
-stock molasses or Kool-Aid to add to water to help keep sick goats hydrated. All the medications possible won't save a goat if it dies of dehydration.
-read, read, read and have a great farm vet
And so that's been a part of our summer on the farm. Many lessons learned and grateful hearts for a healthy little herd.