I've been quiet here for a few days, because I've been dealing with another goat health crisis. Xanadu, my obnoxious LaMancha and the mother of twins Sandy and Tutu, suddenly became very ill. It was odd. One day I said "hmm, Xana's losing weight. Must be because she's at peak lactation, I'll up her grain a little." The next day, I said to myself, "what's that weird, dark mask on her face? Her whole face has changed color. And she's even thinner. Something odd is going on. I'll have to research that." Next morning, "Oh my God!"
Sunday, June 7, 2009
She was trembling and stumbling when she walked, and she appeared to be mostly blind. She walked right into the horse. She walked right into the side of the barn. Even when I gave her grain, she ignored it until I held it right up to her nose. This is when I got on Goatbeat and put up an emergency post.
The consensus - which came back in minutes - was that she most likely had something called "goat polio." Let me say right away that this is a stupid name and it ought to be changed because it has absolutely nothing to do with the polio virus. It's an acute thiamine deficiency caused by disruption in the flora of the rumen, which normally produce thiamine. Thiamine is a co-factor in reactions in skeletal muscle, and so deficiency produces trembling and weakness. I don't know the pathophysiology behind the blindness, but a bell in my head is ringing "beri-beri," which is a B vitamin deficiency disease in people that causes blindness.
In any case, the treatment is thiamine, and lots of it, along with calcium
Posted by Aimee at 9:42 AM