Up with the (late) lark,
& having retired to bed just before 5am for a couple of hour’s snatched kip after an almost all-night vigil, I was anxious to reassure myself that poor old ailing Thistle was much improved by morning’s cock crow (& our magnificent Welsummer, Myrddin, makes sure I’m well aware of his presence between 0430-0500 at this time of year – come rain, shine, snow or blow…& even earlier, during the Summer months. Bleurgh).
The ‘pick-me-up’ jab she’d received the previous afternoon had revived said typically voracious caprine appetite (albeit briefly); & my nocturnal hourly checks in the dimness of the Dairy Complex’s specially-engineered ‘nightlight’ had reassured me she’d tucked herself up quietly with a few warm, close caprine friends.
But whilst stumbling across the ffarmyard, scrubbing the sleep from my eyes & grinding the heavy bolt across the Dairy Complex’s formidable double doorway I nevertheless felt an anxious concern. All I wanted was to find a much-restored Thistle, contentedly munching on whatever-at-the-time took her fancy; it really didn’t matter to me what madness & mayhem the rest of the goats might be wreaking behind the scenes, so long as Thistle was well & happy.
But she clearly was not.
Again, there was that dull, listless look in her eyes; & she was decidedly unwilling to stand. In spite of the early hour I hastily punched the vet’s ‘hotline’ code into the telephone keypad. Angus agreed to call in on his way to work. He arrived just before 9am, giving me an anxious further hour-&-a-half casting concerned glances at Thistle whilst trundling around the remainder of the chores. There was the typical breakneck spurt of gravel at the Dairy Complex doors to herald Angus’ hasty arrival.
“Hmmm….she’s very toxic.” Angus thoughtfully folded his stethoscope back into his pocket. “It’s gone right through her system….not good.” An array of needles & bottles of antibiotic was assembled, & he set to work. As soon as the drugs had been administered I needed to carry out a radical stripping-out of her udder, followed by an intermammary tube (plus as ever I also gave her an udder massage & hot cloth treatment, which always seems to ease the discomfort significantly).
Unfortunately the most efficacious intermammary tube wasn’t available from the depths of Angus’ capacious car boot; I’d have to travel into town to collect fresh supplies. And I’d need another complimentary antibiotic to work alongside it, as well – plus collect a sample pot so that we could send some milk off for laboratory analysis. The sooner we can detect the specific organism causing the mastitis, the more effective treatment we can administer – all the better for poor Thistle.
By evening she was evidently feeling a little better & ate a few mouthfuls of warmed, soaked sugar beet shreds;, although she did not appreciate my repeat udder-stripping & was still not really inclined to eat hay or concentrates, only taking occasional sips of water.
It’s going to be a long old haul…I only wish there was more I could do.
Meanwhile the drama didn’t pause in the Maternity Ward; with our wonderful ‘favourite’, Armeria, giving birth to a little boy & girl (her first daughter, fantastic); along with cheeky ‘Eek’ popping out two adorable little daughters the moment my back was turned. Not to be outdone, Eek’s best friend ‘Agro’ also kidded: a single little boy; but with Mum & baby both fine – which is of course by far the most important thing – it still put a relieved smile on my face.
Incidentally, Armeria isn’t our ‘favourite’ for nothing. Apart from the very close bond we formed with her when she first arrived here as a kid, contracted a virus & lived for a few days with us in the house which rendered her apparetly inseperable from us thereafter; she is the most superb goat imaginable. She is an incredibly prolific milker; an excellent Mum; & a very ‘easycare’ goat as well, always standing placidly & unrestrained to be milked; & in fact being the Matriarch is officially the first goat up in the parlour every session, leading the others by encouragement & example. What a lady – if only they were all like her! Although; I suppose life would be all-too-easy for me, if they were – & we couldn’t have that, now, could we….?!
Meanwhile, please – Get Well Soon, Thistle; we all miss your amiable personality perking up the pen.