I don't want to jump to any conclusions, but Clove (the buckling we intended for our own personal table this year) has two small, suspicious looking lumps on his shoulders, in the place that would be called his withers if he were a horse. They are hard, non-mobile, and apparently tender.
Monday, June 22, 2009
The conclusion I don't want to jump to, for all you non-goaty folks, is CL. That's a systemic, recurrent infection caused by a soil bacterium. It's quite prevalent in goats, enough so that most reputable breeders test for it yearly, and enough so that I should have insisted on seeing test results on every goat I bought. What it does is cause abscesses, sometimes superficial ones in the lymph nodes and sometimes internal ones on the lungs, liver, and other viscera. While the abscess is encapsulated, it isn't contagious, but when it ruptures, it is extremely contagious. And you don't want it in your soil: it can live six months in the soil and infect any goats hanging around.
How could he have got it? He's only ever left the farm once - to get his horns burned off - for about two hours. So it must have come from one of my goats. If that's what it is, of course. If my goats have got it, I'll have to cull. Ruthlessly. All of them.
Oh god, I'm not sure I can handle that.
So I'd better call the vet and see what to do. Here's the problem: She could aspirate the cyst and culture it for CL, but then it would be "ruptured" and Clove would need to be quarantined until fully healed (or until the results come back negative, I guess). He's only 8 weeks old, he isn't weaned yet. Or, of course, he could be culled.
There are questions I need to ask the vet. Does CL have any potential impacts on human health? In other words, could we still eat him, assuming the cysts are superficial and can just be peeled off with the skin (oh God what a disgusting thought. Real appetizing, Aimee)? As far as the other goats - none of whom have any lumps or bumps or abnormalities I can find - will a blood test suffice? What about the other kids? I've heard that a CL blood test isn't reliable until 8 months of age. As long as they don't have any cysts, can I just wait and let them grow up without fear for any goats who have tested negative? Or do they need to be quarantined for the next six months?
Aaargh! Goats are supposed to be easy!