I almost lost a goat Sunday morning.  I had worked REALLY hard on some outdoor projects Saturday, leaving me so sore by Sunday I could barely crawl out of bed.  I decided we were skipping church, as I couldn’t bear the thought of the hard pew and the squirmy 2 year old in my lap.  I even asked JR and M to milk for me, as I didn’t think my arms could handle it.  When they got to the barn and called in the goats, all came running except Faith.  That just doesn’t happen.  They went looking for her, and found her up the hill, tangled in a pile of poly-wire and plastic fence netting.  I had it around my chicken coop, but turned off the electricity after moving the hens into the barn.  In any case, she had gotten herself hopelessly tangled, and was clearly in distress.

JR, at 56 lbs, did his dead-level best to free the 120 lb goat, but just couldn’t.  He sent M to the house to fetch me.  So much for my morning of rest.  I really wish I could have moved faster.  I suspect that, rather than the heroic savior I would like to picture myself as, I looked more like an old granny, dressed in my PJ’s, robe, and muck boots and hobbling my sore and aching body as fast (probably just over a snail’s pace with my sore back) as I could across the pasture.  I could see long before I reached them that it was not good.  The goat was alive and standing, but I didn’t know a goat’s head and neck could swell that big!  The cord was caught and wrapped so tightly around the base of her neck, just in front of her shoulders, that I couldn’t even see it laying under the hair.  I had to dig for it.  It was so tight, she couldn’t swallow, and was making these horrific gurgling noises each time she tried.  Every part of her body above the cord, including her neck, jaws, forehead, cheeks, and chin was swollen to twice it’s normal size.  She looked so strange.  I managed to untangle the cord enough to let her swallow, but I couldn’t get it off.  I sent JR to the barn for my sharpest scissors, and cut the cord, finally freeing the poor girl.

Here's Faith's profile from a few months ago.  Nice, tapering head and very slender, feminine neck.

Here’s Faith’s profile from a few months ago. Nice, tapering head and very slender, feminine neck.

Here's Faith yesterday, with everything swollen.

Here’s Faith yesterday, with everything swollen.

If the situation hadn't been so frightening, I would have laughed.  She looked so goofy with her puffy face!

If the situation hadn’t been so frightening, I would have laughed. She looked so goofy with her puffy face!  It’s hard to see, but if you look below her jawline, you can get an idea that her neck is almost as thick as her shoulders.

She was a bit more nervous and crazy-eyed than usual, but otherwise seemed fine.  I dosed her with a good bit of Vitamin B complex–an excellent remedy for stress or if there is any issue that may affect appetite.  It just keeps things functioning like they should.   I offered her some hay, which she happily ate with seemingly no issue.  I am not yet convinced she’s out of the water.  She still has some swelling to her jaw, and weird lumps randomly located around her neck and face.  She also appears to have a mild case of scours, and her breath seems funny–almost like necrosis had begun, which I can’t explain.  If I hadn’t been in so much pain myself, I also would have given her Vit C and probiotics, but I figured I would give it later if her condition changed.  The vets I used to work with always told me that the first 24 hours after a traumatic injury are the  most critical.  If the animal survives through that period, then there is a really good chance they will be fine.  It’s basically the rule I use now.  I am, however, going to assume she will have a very sore throat for a few days, so I will be watching her feed consumption closely, and go from there.

As usual, there is never a dull moment around this place.  Sometimes, I really wish there would be!