March 10, 2009

Beau’s Pneumonia - For Joanna

He was an adoption from a large Fiber Farm 2 years ago and was buck wild when we got him. The poor little guy was a shy little fellow, a loner, low man on the herd totem pole and was constantly being picked on. Always stood away from the main herd, waited until everyone else ate and drank before he would indulge. He never would rush the gate when I entered and definitely did not want hugs and pets like everyone else. Over time he had settled down to where he didn’t run from me, though did not let me walk directly up to him. I could get my hands on him when I would sit with cookies as treats for everyone. Just had to bribe him to get close.
When a goat is like Beau, stands off away from the main herd and secluding himself is his normal behavior, it becomes very hard to notice a change in his health. I feel responsible for not catching his illness quicker.
He was seemingly normal one day, the next day I was outside working in the area of the Angora paddock when I heard him cough a couple of times. Coughing can sometimes be nothing (change in type of hay can cause a cough, allergies also can cause a cough) sometimes it can be something (worm load, cold or pneumonia). We checked his temperature - it wasn’t abnormal. He was due for his yearly vaccinations next week, so we went ahead and vaccinated, dewormed him etc. while we had him in hand.
We turned him back out, but I noticed he was still had a cough a day later. We again pulled him out of the main herd. He had developed a clear nasal drainage. So we started him on the antibiotic we had on hand. After a 3 day treatment of our meds, the cough had stopped, though he still had a slight nasal discharge and I thought he sounded a bit wheezy and congested in breathing.
We took him to the vet;he had a slightly elevated temp. The vet ran a couple of blood tests, said he was not anemic (means he was not ill from a worm load) and felt it was respiratory (pneumonia). The antibiotic we were giving must not have touched the problem Beau had. The vet gave us a prescription antibiotic, a better broad-spectrum antibiotic. That day we started Beau on that round of prescription meds, on the second day we thought Beau was sleeping, but he had passed away.
Over the years of owning goats I have found that if a goat is ill, it can and will go down quickly. One day they are seemingly fine, the next they are down. I also find that some goats have a strong will to live and others may just not want to fight.
I have dealt with different goat illnesses such as Coccidiosis, Listeriosis, Enterotoxemia, Goat Polio, Pneumonia – different goats can and do react differently to the same treatment. Some recover, some do not.
We also try to avoid using antibiotics. With Beau we felt it was life-threatening situation so we did use antibiotics plus when I was at the point I did not know what to do to help him we took him to the vet. The medication the vet prescribed was $75.00 for the bottle. The office visit was $30. No it was not a waste of $100.00 because I feel in my heart I did all I could do to save his life. I just wish I could or would have noticed something sooner indicating he was ill.
Not long ago I mentioned our crazy weather pattern, being in the 70’s one day and freezing rain and snow the next. I jinxed it…I said it’s a wonder everyone didn’t catch pneumonia. :-(
Beau was also the last of the "untouchables". I refuse to have another goat that is not hand tame.


Joanna@BooneDocksWilcox said...

Thank you, 'cause I'm still learning. Our Nougat went down so fast. Finally, Mike had to put out Nougat out of his misery. And, I hate to say it but money enters into it, how much can we afford to spend when it's starting to look hopeless. Yet, we purchased Nougat for $500. Tuesday I took Nougat to the Vet. Wednesday appeared like he had had a stroke and squealed from time to time, couldn't move his head though.

Yes, I've heard some coughing from our young buck but when he eating hay, same crazy weather here, and never know whether to panic or ignore it plus we aren't home during the day so to be with them.

Again, appreciate your thoughtful response Jama, Joanna

JK said...

Joanna, I just read about your Nougat. I am so very sorry.
From reading the info on your blog and the photo it looked like Nougat had Listeriosis. The symptoms include fever, confusion, circling, and facial paralysis on one side with drooping of the one ear, eyelid and lip. They will remind you of someone that has had a stoke.
It can happen if a goat overeats, sets his rumen off balance. Did he happen to get into and eat alot of poultry feed?

Mary @ Annie's Goat Hill said...

Thanks for the heads up on goat care.

I am sorry about Beau.

I also have a few that stand aside, stand back, and they always catch my eye. I have to watch them a bit longer to ensure they are acting "just normal." I understand!

Take care.

Tammy said...

It is hard when you lose one, but I always feel like they are pretty far along when they show symptoms, so you have that against you to start with. I've heard over and over that 'sheep live to die', but I think they just don't show pain or sickness until they are very, very ill. Unless you pick up on the subtle clues, it's hard to even tell sometimes. You are so right--an animal that isn't herd bound and has a solitary routine is much more difficult to tell if they are sick. This is the main reason I feed a little grain year around (since I free choice hay), so that I can tell if 'someone' has a change in the routine. Otherwise, I'd probably just eliminate grain at certain times of the year. The weather is a pistol when it's like this. Esp. it seems in the fall and early Spring. It always makes me feel a little uneasy, because of the sheepies. Take care of yourself, and I hope that you can be peaceful in the fact that Beau was warmly cared for the last few years.

Jennifer said...

Very good post. I agree, sometimes by the time they are showing symptoms their illness has progressed so far it can be difficult to bring them back.

I am convinced the stress of erratic and sudden weather changes plays a part in some health issues with goats. I have noticed over the years they handle hot weather great and cold weather even better, but when it is sunny 70 one day and rainy and below freezing the next if one of them is going to show up with a cough or problem in my experience it always seems to be at those times. I am so sorry for your loss, you did everything you could.

Joanna@BooneDocksWilcox said...

yes, Nougat got into the poultry feed and had a terrible pout of diarreha.

The comment about symptoms vs far along in the illness. I took Nougat to a recommended farm- animal Vet on a Tuesday while he could still stand. just acting lethargic, had a low grade-fever. Vet gave us some antibiotics, charged $100, sent us home.

On Wednesday early AM, Mike found Nougat in his house like he'd had a stroke. Promptly called the Vet, and that's when the Vet mentioned possible Listeriosis.

I suppose I'm the grieving Mom, looking for somebody to blame, but don't ya think the Vet may have suggested kepting Nougat at his hospital on Tuesday?

I regret that I didn't take Nougat to my usual canine Vet. And that other Vet never called or anything to check on poor ole Nougat. It about killed Mike to have to shoot Nougat and put the poor thing out of his misery.

That was our first buck and we loved him dearly.

DayPhoto said...

Oh, how sad! How very sad. You are a good and kind person. We lost our boss cow this year. Darn it. Terry couldn't part with her, so he dragged her huge cow body to the upper end and buried her. She will be with us as long as we live.