Wednesday, February 10, 2016

And, so it goes...

Remember the barn cleaning I had planned for Sean? The removal of any spider webs ::shudder:: from the barn? Surely, attempt three would be the charm in getting that done. Keep laughing, Universe. Tomorrow is another day.

Today was spent in getting Levi back on his feet. For the past couple weeks, Levi has been acting "off". He is eating normally, rumen is functioning fine, no signs of illness, fecal counts came back good [57 total egg count; Barberpole (Haemonchus Strongyle) & Coccidia], and eyelids are a nice, bright pink. His main symptom is that he is weak. We thought that perhaps Asher and Eli were bullying him causing Levi to not get enough hay. To remedy that, we offered extra hay in the field where the larger bucks could not get to it. That didn't seem to help. After finding Levi down on his side, we separated him out into a private stall to try to build his strength back. Our course of action was: all the hay he wanted, water available 24/7 and we added 1 cup of grain to his diet in the morning. Additionally, we gave him an injection of 5 CCs vitamin B subcutaneously and 5 CCs of Propylene Glycol orally. He seemed stable, but not gaining ground until yesterday. Our spending so much time in the barn has the added benefit that we are able to really watch all the goaties. I remarked to Sean that I thought Levi had turned the bend. He seemed much stronger. Apparently Levi heard me. This morning we found him stiff, cold and on his side. I thought for sure he was dying. So did Sean.

Sean picked him up and we headed inside. We injected 5 CC's Vitamin B sub-q, got 5 CCs Propylene Glycol and 3 CCs CMPK drench into him orally. We attempted to take his temperature, but found our brand new thermometer was not functioning(!). I felt inside his mouth. Levi's gums were wet and pink. Eyelids a nice, healthy pink. His mouth felt warm to the touch, but not hot. His breathing sounded good, nice lung sounds. His heartbeat was slow. We got a blanket on him and settled him in front of the wood stove. Levi showed no interest in eating hay and could barely hold his head up. I warmed some penicillin (just in case we needed it) and Sean called our veterinary, Dr. Arena and left a message with her. He laid curled in a ball for about 5 minutes and then, began chewing his cud in this position. So weird!

There was nothing else to do for him at this point, we left him to rest while we fed Anna's new kid and got the rest of the herd their morning hay. Meaghan and Kristen were inside. We asked them to keep an eye on him and if he started to cry or call at all, come get us.

When we checked back with him an hour later, after the morning chores, Levi had started to perk up a little. We gave him another 5 CCs oral Propylene Glycol and I mixed 5 ml Probios in a cup of apple cider to offer him. If his rumen was off at all, the probiotics might be of use. He still was not interested in eating or drinking and couldn't stand unassisted. This was a critical situation, we were just throwing anything we could at him at this point- anything that might help. Sean grabbed a cup of grain and I cut up a fresh carrot. Levi could not hold up his head unassisted, but with Sean's support on his neck and me holding the dish, Levi ate a cup of grain and an entire carrot. We offered hay, but he did not want any. Sean messaged Dr. Arena again.

Another hour passed and Levi started to get a little stronger. Sean carried him outside, where he both urinated and passed perfect pellets. I messaged our friend Shea to pick her brain for what else I could be missing. Shea offered to loan us a pet thermometer and agreed to run another set of fecals for us. She also offered a flake of the greenest hay she had in her barn. I can't say how grateful I am for Shea's friendship and her willingness to help- however it is needed. Levi seemed willing to eat, just not hay, so we gave him a couple celery stalks and a few small pieces of brocolli- just trying to get anything into his system resembling food. I know browse/hay is the best food for him, but I felt that we were at a point that anything was better than nothing.

When Sean returned, we checked Levi's temperature. It registered 98.8. We took it a second time, 98.6. The normal temperature range for a healthy goat is 102*-103*. A temperature this low is critical and is, in itself, life-threatening. We gave him a 2nd injection of vitamin B (5 CCs) and decided to give him an injection of the penicillin. While I didn't think he had an infection, I just didn't know what was going on and doing something felt better than just waiting. I figured best case, he had some kind of infection that was causing his weakness and we got a jump on it. Worst case, he didn't need the dose we gave him and Dr. Arena would let us know that when she called back.

As it turns out, we were way off base with this one. Based on the symptoms, Dr. Arena believes that Levi contracted Parelaphostrongylus Tenuis or Meningeal worm. We checked all the right things to start with, but missed this one completely having never come across it before. Our experience told us to check eyelids, gums, fecal count for worm/parasite load. The problem is, this type of worm does not show up on fecal exams because they do not live in the gastrointestinal tract. They live in the muscles of an infected host and move towards the spine. This is what causes the tell-tale signs of weakness, usually presented in the hind end first and progressing towards the front. For those interested in more information about this, you can check out this link to read about the identification and lifestyle, clinical disease, prevention and treatment: (Meningeal Worm). The article is not long and it was very helpful to my understanding of how my goat contracted this worm and what treatment ahead would look like for us. The sooner it is identified and treatment is started, the better the chance of recovery. Our treatment course is .5 CCs banamine injected IM once per day. .8 CCs Ivomectin injected sub-q once per day for five consecutive days. Dr. Arena may also prescribe a steroid to help Levi in regaining his strength.

It looks like it will be a long road ahead for this guy, but he is able to stand and that is a good sign that permanent damage has not set in. Dr. Arena warned us that he may look worse before he gets better. We'll let you know how it goes.

In better news, we got to have some goat kid play time in the barn today and I have some great video of the nine goat kids playing together. I'll try to get that posted for you all tomorrow. I'll also post some pictures of the new chickens, too. That is, if everything goes according to plan. Laugh away, Universe.

Thanks for popping in for a visit today, friends. We are glad you are here. ♥
~Sean and Sonja

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