Silver Lining (our buckling Heart is okay!)

Aug 25, 2020

aka finding the gift among the rubble. Living with lots of animals around, we get to experience the "circle of life" every so often and the only way I can manage it is to find the gift. Learning new things and new ways is my way of softening the blow. Not that I don't sometimes collapse in a sobbing heap, but once I'm standing again, I move forward in finding the silver lining, the gift, the learning.

Sometimes it's not ignorance that creates that "circle of life" moment, sometimes, death just happens. Allowing the grief to flow is no fun, but I've learned, even then, there is a gift, if you look...

If you've been following along with my vlogs, you know that we lost our sweet ram Worf a few weeks ago.

It was ignorance on the part of everyone involved, us and the vet. The bacteria that caused his death (Bibersteinia trehalosi) was not even given a separate name from the group of bacteria it belonged to until 2011 and we, as 4 year old ranchers, and the vet of 25 years, had never seen it. After Worf's death, the vet and I were in a mad scramble to find out more. Turns out, not a lot of info out there about it. :-/

So, when Heart, our 4 month old buckling (that we plan on breeding), came down with an abscess along his jaw, we jumped on the phone and the vet was here in 30 minutes.

He treated it as if it was what Worf had: a needle aspiration and then giving him a cyclosporine antibiotic, the only kind that kills that bacteria. Brad took it up to the CSU vet school diagnostic lab and we got the results back yesterday and good news! Nothing grew! HAPPY DANCE!!!

What a huge relief! When I asked the vet what he thought the abscess was, he thought maybe he got kicked or head butted by another goat, both the bigger boys have "scurs" which are nubs of horns from a disbudding that wasn't done well enough—
We caught the abscess so early that the bacteria hadn't yet had time to take hold.

We are on high alert for all the sheep and goats now, watching for anything odd at all. From what we've learned, this bacteria is often in the throats of ruminants and, under stress, can bloom. Stress can be anything from a move, weaning, sudden poor air quality (hello, wildfires!), etc.

So, the silver lining to Worf's death is that we now know to jump on an abscess with lightning speed, test it, and treat it as if it were that bacteria. Is that overkill? Possibly. But for now, that's the plan. Although abscesses could be any number of simpler things, now that we've had this experience, we will be extra vigilant! We've been doing this for 4 years and this is our first experience with an abscess and boy did we get a doozy for the first one.

Hope your week started out with a happy dance too!

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