Monday 10 April 2023

An Ordeal for a Baby Goat and Us

    This happened in 1984:

One morning while I was at Forestry, my wife went out to the barn to check on our Angora goats, some of which were giving birth and discovered that Hella, one of our newly born kids, was lying on her side, panting with her head twisted back along her backbone.  It looked like the kid had been butted by another goat and had broken her neck.

I immediately clocked off work and rode my bike home to see what we could do to help the poor baby goat.  We took Hella to Dr. Bill Sanders, a friend and local vet, who after examining the pathetic looking creature, told us that Hella had encephalitis; her brain was swollen.

    Bill gave it shots of antibiotics and thiamine.  Hella was really out of it and to us her situation seemed hopeless, but we brought Hella home and laid her in our living room on some towels.  I then after a phone call, I drove to a neighbor’s house, whose son was lactose intolerant, to get some goat milk that they had, which we then tried to feed to Hella by slowly dribbling it into her mouth using a needless syringe.

The next day I started milking Flossie, Hella’s mother.  It is the first time I had ever milked an animal, but I was successfully in getting some milk, which we kept feeding to Hella.  Hella still seemed paralyzed, maintaining the same terrible-looking position, as she lay on her little bed of towels on the living room floor.  We continued giving her the antibiotics and thiamine we had gotten from the vet.

The following day using a small nursing bottle, we started to bottle-feed Hella, who took Flossie’s milk very slowly.  I took her back to the Bill’s who gave her a different antibiotic and “cow-strength” thiamine.  The new medicines seemed to have a positive effect, because Hella seemed more aware and would sometimes kick her legs as she lay on the floor.

    More of Hella’s story tomorrow.

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