Monday Max got sick. Really, really sick.
I went to open up the house, and he was laying in the corner, which is not like him at all--he's usually the first one out of the door. He tried to get up, and fell right back down. He tried again, and stood like a drunken sailor. He was foaming at the mouth.
Right away, I thought "Foamy Bloat"--we opened a new pasture on Sunday, and though I made sure that they ate lots of dry hay before going into it, Max was very happy to stuff his face. Too many wet (inside water) leaves and grasses will trap the bubbles and cause the foam. It was possible, since he had taken it upon himself to clean that pasture out, that this was the case. I ran to the house, and pulled out what I needed. I got back out to him and listened to his stomach--not a peep. Max is a LOUD digester. I pumped him full of Milk of Magnesia, which is the treatment for foamy bloat, different from "dry bloat", which would be treated with oil. His rumen started to move slightly, but he tottered around like a drunken sailor for a while. Finally, he just collapsed.
He was still alive. He could not get up and was still foaming at the mouth. Did you know that poisoning and foamy bloat pretty much look the same? I had no idea what I was dealing with. The rest of the day (and I mean the entire day), I spent running back and forth, pumping Max with Vitamin B Complex, C/D Antitoxin (because foamy bloat can turn into enterotoxemia--fun), simethicone, baking soda and strong tea, and activated charcoal from a fish filter I ripped open. There were many points in the day when I thought about where I might bury Max, should he die. It was looking bad.
Later in the afternoon, I had just finished giving him another round of tea and baking soda with a syringe, and I filled it with cool water. His eyes just lit up. I gave him as much cool water as he could drink--even filling a baby's bottle with it (Max LOVES the bottle---still! He's always trying to steal it from Amelia and Olive) and giving it to him that way. Eventually the foaming stopped, but Max still could not stand.
I had no idea what was going on. His head wobbled, his legs could not hold him up. I made a quick guess at Goat Polio, which is a thiamin deficiency. The symptoms did not exactly fit, but that's all I had. I pumped that little guy full of vitamin B. I kept pumping him full of the Antitoxin as well. I kept at it the rest of the day. Finally, finally, at 7:30 that night, Max stood up, went outside, and walked around. Slightly drunkenly, mind you, but he was up.
Yesterday, he was pretty much Max again. Complaining, noisy digestion-ing Max. My boy. Today he looks ok as well. He's still getting the Antitoxin once a day, as well as a nice dose of vitamin B, but today may be the last day for that. When you have an illness that serious, you don't just stop the treatment outright. You taper, just in case of relapse. I'm hoping he'll be ok. He's a sweet and beautiful boy, and I just love him.
I spent the entire day caring for him on Monday. And as I did, I kept thinking, "should I be going to all this trouble?" Would a farmer on a large farm be running back and forth, racking their brains on what to do this for one goat? You know what? I don't know. I would like to think that they would, but maybe if you had a farm with 100 Maxes, you wouldn't be so worried about the one. I've only got the one. And as I said before, this is a homestead, not a farm. Every life is valuable. He deserved me doing anything I could possibly do to try and help him. I am thankful that it seems to have worked for him. But what would you have done? Would you have spent the day on your one little guy? Or would you have treated him as best you could and said "Ok, it's up to you now"? I'd love to know.