You may have noticed that after a deluge of baby goat photos and updates we've been relatively silent for the past 48 hours... We've been a little down, you see, some bad news arrived this past Friday night. It was about the baby goat.
After 2 whole days of milk and care, she had transformed from a lifeless rag doll to a sweet and perky little companion that had easily stolen our hearts. She raised her head and let out a soft baaa whenever we approached, nibbled preciously at grass and hay during the daytime, and somehow made waking up at 3 in the morning to warm a bottle, a joy.
Despite her great improvements, there were two things that were nagging at me by Friday afternoon. She still wasn't walking and something seemed to be wrong with one of her eyes. When she came to us, one of her eyes was swollen almost shut and goopy. I gently pulled it open and saw that there was some dirt embedded in in the fold of her third eyelid. I cleaned it out and had washed it 3x a day with warm water and chamomile and treated with an antibiotic ointment. Finally on Friday, it was alll cleared up and wide open, but something was still wrong. Her pupil in that one eye had remained dilated the entire time. It was so large you can't even see any of her iris. I googled and found that the dilated pupil could be indicative of a brain injury.
Then, while looking at her wiggling around, trying once again to get up, I noticed that she wasn't actually moving her hind legs. It looked like she was, but she wasn't. I was crushed. All of those feedings in the wee hours, snuggly naps after the bottle, and adorable little ear tosses had me pretty attached. I had been so excited and encouraged by her initial progress that I had allowed myself to imagine a future with this adorable little goat on our farm. Now I was faced with the possibility that she might never be able to walk by herself. What kind of future is that for a goat, an animal known to love to run and jump? I called my mom and cried as I told her what I thought might be going on.
I felt foolish, thinking that I shouldn't have let myself become so attached and emotionally involved. Now I wanted to take this baby goat, one that won't ever be a milker (Kiko's are meat goats) and "earn her keep" on the farm, to the vet, a potentially expensive proposition. I could tell that Scrapple was a bit wary, and I could understand why. I'm sure just imagining what sort of a vet bill a wife with a soft heart and lots of animals could rack up in just a few months was giving him an ulcer. Luckily, this time, a solution had come in the mail just a few weeks earlier - some rainy day cash given to me by Scrapple's Aunt T. I couldn't think of anything I'd rather spend it on.
I took Willow to the vet on Saturday morning and it seems that we can unfortunately be almost positive that she is suffering from the after-effects of a head trauma. In actuality, her pupil is not dilated, her eye is full of blood, darkening it.
They gave her a shot of Banamine to bring down any internal swelling and help her eye drain, BoSe in case of a selenium deficiency (I didn't have any and had instead been giving crushed Selenium tablets along with Vitamin E and D in her milk once daily but figured a shot of it couldn't hurt and might help), and some B-12 which I asked for and they agreed might help her healing although not totally necessary.
There is some good news. She does have sensation in her hind legs, she can see out of her injured eye, and other than the problems associated with the head trauma, she is a very healthy little goat.
They recommended holding her up and letting her good feet work at the ground. I had already been doing that and had made a sling to help hold her up to practice walking, so we'll be keeping that up. They also suggested filling the sink or tub and getting her to try to walk in the water with less weight to bear. My mom is a physical therapist and she recommended moving her hind legs through their full range of motion for a few minutes each a few times each day to help with circulation and keep them from getting stiff. We'll be doing all of the above! The vet was very vague about her chances for recovery, basically saying that she could be on her feet in a day or two, or it could take a few weeks, or it could never happen...
I'm more than willing to keep trying for as long as it takes, as long as it doesn't turn into a situation where I'm just keeping her going for my own emotional well being and not rightfully considering her quality of life. It seems like that could be a very blurry line though and truly, I hope we don't have to go there.
Please keep the baby goat in your thoughts and keep your fingers crossed for her!