OMG you guys! Whoooohoooo! The girl goat barn and nighttime pen is OFFICIALLY DONE! Yes! Happy dance! It's fenced all the way around with wire knot/no climb horse fence which means baby goats can't squeeze through come spring!
No breeding this week as the other two goats I wanted to breed have not come into heat yet. As a matter of fact, one of them has an little udder with milk!
We had our goat vet out on Wednesday and I was asking about that little udder on a goat that has never had babies. The vet reached down to test a teat and lo and behold, milk. Huh. So, it's either Angel Kiss has been bred through the fence, unlikely but possible, or she has a fake pregnancy. The vet took blood and we shall see.
In other news, Rayn's foot has healed up once she had some rest by herself. I did have the vet out on Monday to double check and also give vaccines and that's where the week took a downturn. Rayn had her vaccines and an exam for various questions I had. Brad brought up Sweetness for his shots, I took Rayn back and got Wynter. By the time we had wrapped up and the boys were back in the pasture (maybe 45 minutes) Rayn was starting to paw at the fence, paw at the gate. I didn't yet realize what she was feeling. I started chores and put everyone's hay out. She laid down and ignored it.
My heart skipped a beat. Rayn doesn't EVER turn down food. She rolled and got up. Found another spot and rolled again and got up.
If you aren't a horse person, this is the first sign of colic aka a really bad stomach ache. Horses can't throw up and colic can be life threatening. Rayn is 14 and has never colicked.
By the third roll, I called Brad over, by the 4th I called the vet. We gave her extra banamine (horse advil)–she had already had some because over the years she's gotten kind of owie when she gets her shots.
We started walking her and she was being so brave, walking with us even when a cramp came and her back would hunch from the pain. We urged her on by tapping her butt with a crop when she would try to roll. Can you imagine being made to walk while in the middle of huge cramps? Gawd. They say that rolling can lead to a twist in the intestine which means surgery so just keep walking.
That wasn't in the cards for us. Once she realized that stopping and lowering herself down for a roll wasn't going to happen, she just collapsed to the ground to roll instead. At this point she was covered in sweat and groaning.
I was worried about putting Rayn in my trailer as it's a two horse and we obviously couldn't tie her in with her need to roll. The vet called my next door neighbor Kelly who runs a boarding barn and has had horses since she was a child. Kelly came flying over, saw Rayn just getting back up and said, "Quick, get her to my trailer!" Kelly has a great big trailer and it was already all hooked up about 100 yards away. I started walking Rayn over and she picked up her pace to the trailer like she knew what needed to happen next—and of course she did, she heard me talking with the vet. She stepped up into that thing like she was an every-weekend-show-pony. Then she promptly pooped and dropped to roll in pain.
Because of covid, we were not allowed to go into the NC State Equine Vet Hospital with her but she went with them easily thank God.
Within about 45 minutes they were calling me and saying that she had had to be sedated 3 times to get the pain under control. With horses they can't sedate too much. Unlike with people, horses can't lie down and stay down for long periods of time. In this case they needed to sedate to keep her standing and not rolling and to be able to examine her. All tests were inconclusive and my inner voice kept saying she wasn't in a true colic but instead a horrendous vaccine reaction. After talking over the options: exploratory surgery ($8-12k) or medical support ($2-4k), I chose medical support with the expectation that if they couldn't keep the pain level down they would call me and either have to do the surgery or send her to heaven. From the way they were sounding, "We are very concerned," they weren't expecting her to pull out of this.
Luckily she survived the night and I got the phone call at 7:30am Tuesday morning that she was doing well after her steroid shot and massive doses of fluids—had pooped multiple times over night (colic means that things are so messed up in their gut that they stop pooping) so they were going to pull the feeding tube and start doling out little bits of real food! She had a fever but they were watching it.
They also said that they now believed it was a severe vaccine reaction and they were contacting the manufacturers about paying for the hospital stay.
She ended up staying 3 nights (came home Thursday morning) to the tune of $2400 which honestly, in the world of horses and hospitals, didn't seem ungodly.
The team at NCSU was stellar. They called me twice a day, sent me pictures
and a couple of the vet students even brushed all the dried mud and sweat out of Rayn's coat! The vets patiently answered all of my questions. I was completely impressed. I can see why they are so well thought of!
We aren’t sure which vaccine was the issue. She had rabies, west nile, and eastern and western encephalitis. While she was at the hospital she showed no signs of swelling at the injections sites–rabies in the right chest muscle and the others in one injection in the left chest muscle. But today when I went out to check on her I found a huge lump on the rabies side! It was about 3/4 the size of an orange. Both of the boys have had this reaction too—they've never had any reaction to any of their shots before.
I contacted the vet at the hospital and she said, "That is very bizarre that it was delayed, I wonder if she just had more diffuse swelling that went down? As long as she's still bright, eating and not having any fevers, I would just keep an eye on her, no action items for now. Keep me posted!"
I checked, no fever! I took her for a little walk outside of her pasture and she was so happy to be out and about! So, I'll just keep an eye on it like the vet said. Disturbing when the vet says, "That's bizarre!" right? Keep my Raynie in your thoughts and send her good juju please :-)
I've had lots of advice on how to give further vaccines, spreading them out over a few days has been the main one but we will not be giving her any more at all. Since we have no idea which of the vaccines it was, I won't be risking her life to try and find out. Luckily vaccines in horses are voluntary—unlike rabies in dogs, you don't have to give any of them to horses.
This girl is my baby, the one who has been with me the longest and through thick and thin, the one I clicker trained, the one I hear easiest, the one who has my heart.
This is from yesterday when she came home. She has 5 shaved spots on her from the IV location in her neck and the other 4 from the ultrasound.
Her other side looks like a patchwork quilt :-) Poor thing, she sweat through her fur coat on the trailer ride back home—happy to be home and temporarily eating out of the goat's hay but has quite the messy hairdo!
I spent the rest of the day outside in the new goat pen with her, just watching her breathe and feeling super grateful. She went back in with her herd last night.
Brad and I both feel like we've been run over by a truck after this week. You probably do too after reading all that! So here, have some pretty! Check out our beautiful 40 year old Japanese maple in our front yard—this fall it went from this:
It's called a Bloodgood (acer palmatum) and it is just STUNNING! I put 100 feet of Christmas lights on her last weekend and now she's all fancy:
Tessa SAID she would help me but like any child of mine, all I got was staring into space and complaints of being much too tired to help:
And I happened to get up extra early recently and caught this pinky sunrise over our little pond:
Hope you guys have a great week!
Love to all from the Mother Ranch,
Let me give you a big ol' hug!
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