Touch & Go

It’s been a worrying day. 

I had felt quite positive about Zuskie’s recovery, yesterday evening; I’d shut the door of the goat shed with a sense of relief, glad that at least she appeared to be on the mend at last.

However, on visiting the pen first thing this morning she was again unwilling to get up; although she did so eventually.  Again, she was not too enthused by breakfast (almost unheard of in our greedy goats!) although with her temperature at 39.7°C, whist it was up it wasn’t at the dizzy heights of the previous day.  However, the fact that it was up – & had increased since I’d taken it the previous evening – was not a good sign. 

I rebedded the pen & she carefully settled herself into the soft, deep straw; & to my relief started munching on a few mouthfuls.  I called the surgery again for advice.  The vet I spoke to was not actually on callout duty; & admitted her knowledge of goats, was sparing – not exactly welcome news.  

Unfortunately, despite the strongly upward trend in goatkeeping with commercial herd numbers increasing all the time, the UK is woefully behind the rest of Europe in terms of the training of vets & licencing of products.  Indeed there are virtually no veterinary medicines licenced for use in goats over here, & those which are, often have far longer withdrawal periods than they do on the continent – wormers being a case in point:  the same product in France has a ‘nil withdrawal’ for milk & yet in the UK, we cannot use the milk for seven days if we use exactly the same prescription.  So bear this in mind, when you buy French dairy products, for example – it simply isn’t a level playing field. 

The vet suggested I continue to observe Zuskie; & call again later, if I was still concerned.  Whilst the poor goat did perk up a bit during the late morning (by which time at least the placenta had started to dislodge), by early afternoon she was clearly deteriorating again.  Her temperature had risen to 40.9°C – she needed to see the vet, & urgently.

Clara arrived, as soon as she could; although again she too has only had extremely limited experience with goats.  She was tempted to see if she could pull out the remains of the retained placenta, which was still hanging down; but this is a BIG ‘no-no’ as if it breaks off inside the goat, the remainder may not be expelled & could fester, leading to a build-up of toxins which may well kill her.   Besides, Zuskie was again groaning in agony at even the gentle insertion of a thermometer. 

So, poor Zuskie was given a headier cocktail of even stronger drugs, than yesterday; & all I could do was watch, & wait, & hope.

By the time I shut the door of the goat shed with a weary sigh as dusk cloaked the Ffarm this evening, Zuskie again at least seemed to have perked up, & the remainder of the placenta had been completely expelled although there was still a lot of muddy-coloured liquid, & the whole pen had that horrible ozone-like, wet blood odour despite my repeated mucking out of any discharge & the liberal application of armfuls of fresh straw.

So whilst things are tentatively looking up, she certainly isn’t out of the woods yet….


About LittleFfarm Dairy

The LittleFfarm Dairy Team: Jo - Goat farmer & Gelatiere Artigianale, plus General Dogsbody; Tony - Airline Pilot & part-time Herd Manager, Product Taster, Accounts Secretary, Handyman etc!
This entry was posted in Animals, Diary, Farming, February 2008, Goats, Life, Livestock, Smallholding. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Touch & Go

  1. How lovely to find a comment from you on my blog. I haven’t got time now, but I will be back later to catch up on all of your blogs and have a good look around your website.

    Best wishes,


  2. katie says:

    Hang on in there, Zuskie! Hopefully she’s on the mend now.

    Best wishes


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