Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Mastitis...it's not just for women

Rosie has been feeling poorly for about a week. I noticed it a week after kidding. She ate her alfalfa pellets and black oil sunflower seeds with little enthusiasm. I had wormed her so though maybe that was the problem, especially since she started perking up a few days later. But she still wasn't back to her normal self and she was kicking her kids off quite a bit as they were nursing on her CONSTANTLY.  About 6 days after I noticed her feeling badly, I gave her some B-Complex and a antibiotic. She ate well that evening. Something prompted me to check her udder, and sure enough, it was lumpy. I taped her teats that night so I could do a mastitis (udder infection) test in the morning. By taping her teats with first aid tape, the kids can't nurse on her. If they are nursing I get zero milk.

Morning comes and at 6am I'm out in the barn trying to get Rosie on the milk stand. She is pretty weak and falls getting on the stand with her head in the restraint so she would basically strangle herself if she didn't get up. So I had to help her and let me tell you, she is HEAVY! 150# I'd guess. Once all is under control, I follow the instructions and squirt milk in the mastitis tester cups (she didn't have much milk even though she was taped all night - she should have had a full udder). Then I put in the appropriate amount of blue testing solution, then I swirl.  Within 30 seconds the liquid becomes the consistency of pudding that hasn't set up yet - if it remains liquid there is no infection detected. I quickly get online and ask the people in my favorite goat forum what I should do. I'm basically doing the right things but need to add an antibiotic teat infusion, an oxytocin shot (to get her milk flowing better) and massage her udder frequently. And since her milk production is low, her babies aren't getting enough to eat so I got out the bottle and got one to take it (it is always a challenge to get kids to take a bottle when they have only been nursing - same as with human kids) but the other couldn't figure out what to do with it.

On my way to work I got the infusion from the feed store. Thank goodness they open at 7am!. I was scared because the applicator is much larger than the hole it needs to go into. All morning I was thinking about how unpleasant it would be for her. So after all that worrying I get home and it really wasn't that bad. She didn't even notice. So then I got to spend 15 minutes or so rubbing it up into her udder. Then I taped her teats so that the kids wouldn't suck all the antibiotic out. Meanwhile, Paul managed to get the other kid to take a bottle. Boy was he hungry!

I repeated the infusion 12 hours later but had to keep up massage and milking her frequently. I kept her separated from her kids for a full 24 hours but once she started feeling well enough to call for them I decided to reunite them. Plus they can do the frequent milking instead of me having to do it.  4 days after the infusion she still has pretty good sized lumps in her udder but they seem to be loosening up, which is a good sign. I've also been giving her vitamin C and probiotics as well as some aspirin to help with the inflammation. I was hoping to see faster improvement. I read online that goats love garlic and it can help clear up mastitis. We had some old dried up garlic and I offered it to her and sure enough, she ate it. Daisy was LOVING the garlic and kept trying to get it from Rosie.

I hate to say it, but Rosie has been a problem every year since I got her. The first year after she kidded all of her hair fell out and she got mites so I had to treat her for that. The second year she didn't get pregnant at all so she wasn't earning her keep. This year she has mastitis. It might be time for her to go to a retirement home. She is 8 years old after all, and most breeding does only live 10 years or so and die from kidding related complications.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Always trust your gut instinct!

You know those days when your gut tells you one thing but you don't listen even though you know you should? Friday was one of those days.

Rosie was due to kid on Thursday. No signs of kidding. Friday morning I check her and I think I might see some goo but it could just be the poor light. P checked her all day long every hour or two. Nothing to note except that she stayed in the barn all day. Before he left for work he said she was just standing there looking at him. That was at 2:45. I usually get home from work at 4:30. Well, since it was a nice day out and the boss was out of town, I was able to leave at 3:15 so I decided I'd go to the gym and get home around my usual time.

I get home all sweaty and in my gym clothes still because I figured I'd wash my car and then shower, so I go inside and drop my stuff off, get a couple of rags for washing the car, put them on my trunk on my way to the barn to check on things. I open the door and see Rosie standing there with a baby stuck halfway out!!! I drop my phone and my sunglasses into a flower pot by the door (it took me 24 hours to remember that's where my sunglasses ended up) and go grab gloves out of the birthing kit (thank goodness I have one of those so I know where to go instead of frantically running around looking for gloves, towels, etc.) and head into the stall. The kid is out up to it's shoulders with one leg sticking straight out. It's been stuck long enough that all the goo is off of it and it's breathing and bleating. So there I am, in completely the wrong clothes, trying to figure out what the heck I am going to do. Can't push it back in to reposition it because it won't be able to breathe. So I put my hand in to feel around. Can't feel the leg at all. I decided the first thing to try is pulling. I grab onto that slippery little leg and pull. And pull. I dig my feet in and pull with both arms on that poor little leg. I'm worried that I will dislocate it but that's better than not getting the baby out. Rosie is screaming in pain and is pushing as I'm pulling. Finally we make progress and the kid comes out - a buckling. Rosie immediately starts cleaning him. Seems no worse for the wear but I really should have listened to that inner voice that told me to go straight home and hit the gymn later. Phew!

Ok, time to breathe for a minute. I go get a chair and put it in the stall because I know she has another baby in there. She is just too huge for there to be a single, especially since this buckling was average size. Sis-in-law walks over to keep me company for a bit as I'm waiting. I see Rosie start doing some pushing. She is shaking she is straining so far. But after 20 minutes there is still no baby. I'm starting to worry that the second one is in a bad position. I get online and go to my favorite goat page on Facebook and post a message. Within seconds people are giving me advice, but before I have a chance to do anything, Rosie lays down and I see the bubble.

Let me explain the bubble. In my experience, a goat's water doesn't break prior to birth (unlike humans) so the first thing visible is a bubble. Inside that bubble you want to see a nose/mouth (usually the tongue is sticking out for some reason) resting on two hooves. That means proper presentation. Anything else is bad news and means going in to reposition - thankfully I haven't had to do that before.

So there's the bubble which means the baby will be out soon. But what does Rosie do? She stands up!!! I forgot that she kids standing up. Which means if I'm not there, the kid will fall 3 feet to the ground! She isn't the brightest goat in the barn. Anyhow, that kid comes out fairly easily, though I did pull gently just to help her a bit since she was pretty exhausted. Another buckling. I was really hoping for a doeling since Rosie is getting older and I want one of her girls to raise as a milker. Oh well.

I check out the kids and get them standing and notice that one of them has really floppy legs. His knee joints bend both ways. One leg is much worse than the other and he can't stand on it without it flopping forwards. So I get onto my goat forum again and ask what to do. Selenium they all say (Western Wa is deficient in selenium which can cause fertility problems, difficulty kidding and muscle weakness). I had given Rosie and injection in December AND in May so I was surprised her kid was deficient. But it won't hurt to try because I don't have any other options. I inject the newborn kid with selenium which, let me tell, you isn't easy since they are so squirmy.

The next day he is standing and walking but one leg is still funky. They say to give him a second dose. The following day, he seems to be all better! Both legs are working properly and he's playing with his brother.

Kidding season is now over and I just get to enjoy their antics. Next up (starting in late August) is breeding season!