"United we bargain, divided we beg."

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Goat Crisis Part II

I had to leave in the middle of the last post for church. Home now. Okay, as much for my own records (my blog is my farm record, hah!) here is what I'm doing for Xana and how she is responding so far. 

-5 mL injections of B complex TID (IM yesterday, now SQ)

-Drench with molasses-water into which I have crushed 700 mL thiamine and 750 mL calcium with D, TID (this is a pain in the ass. The first and second day she was easy to drench, but now she is so much improved that she is fighting me hard.)

Penicillin injections have been suggested but I'm holding off because her rumen is so screwed up right now, I don't want to do further damage. I guess the idea is kind of a scorched-earth approach: nuke the rumen with antibiotics and then rebuild with probiotics. I'm going straight for the probiotics without the nukes. Probios in the feed and tablespoons of yogurt.

My poor goats. They all have some level of coccidia, which is a bad bacteria that causes diarrhea and weakness. I was banging my head against the wall trying to figure out where it came from - well, it is present in all goats to some degree, but not usually in amounts that will make them sick. Why did my goats suffer from such a heavy infection? Why did they keep getting re-infected after treatment?

Finally it came to me. This property used to be a cow-dairy. A heavy intensive dairy with confinement pens and the whole lot. I also know from other clues that the owners were not particularly good husbandry-men nor stewards of the land. Dairy cows - calves, particularly - are very susceptible to coccidiosis. These folks were dairying here for forty years. And Coccidia lives in the soil "basically forever" says my vet.

Of course! This soil was saturated with coccidia before I ever put my goats on it! There is absolutely nothing I can do about that. If I put animals on the land, I will deal with coccidia. All I can do - I think - is make sure my animals are as healthy as possible, so that their systems can cope with the coccidia. This is not a disease that usually harms healthy mature animals. Kids are susceptible, and sick, pregnant, or otherwise immuno-compromised animals are susceptible. I need to make sure that my animals are well nourished, vaccinated, wormed, and generally supremely healthy. Even so, I will most likely need to treat them occasionally, when pregnancy or something else temporarily lowers their immune system.

Is coccidiosis what caused Xana's "goat polio?" I don't know. Did she get ill from a combination of the stress of peak lactation, a heavier-than-normal load of coccidia, a few resistant worms, and the lack of woody browse? I don't know. 

Thank goodness, at least she is responding to treatment. The trembling and staggering is gone. She is much more alert, generally. Her hydration status is good. Her gums and eyelids are pink, although somewhat pale. I think she can see at least a little bit more than she could a few days ago, but I know that her blindness will persist, most likely for several weeks. But she is producing milk and nursing her babies, which is good, because they are at a terrible age to lose their mother: too young to be weaned and too old to learn how to bottle feed. I think she will pull through if I continue the treatment for another week or two. 

These goats are wearing me out. 


TheMartianChick said...

I'm glad to hear that she is improving. I know that they make coccidiostats for poultry (medicated feed)... It's a shame that there isn't something similar for goats. Unfortunately, your goat is a victim of all of those nasty farming techniques that we all seek to avoid. Who would have thought that the prior owner's misdeeds would carry forward long after they were gone?

Jennifer said...

I am so glad to hear she is responding to treatment and doing better! If you feel like you might have an ongoing problem with coccidia due to what your land was used for before you got it there is feed with decoxx or rumensin in it to prevent cocci before it gets a chance to get bad. I don't personally like medicated feed because we raise meat wethers too, but it is an option and lots of people swear by it.

Aimee said...

I can't use it while I'll milking, but in the winter when the does are dry I'll have to consider it. Thanks for the tip.

AnyEdge said...

If you do have to get rid of the alpacas, you should have everyone try to call at six. Remember the Great Goat Giveaway?