Well, I had reported that we had nipped a potentially catastrophic goat problem in the bud, or so it seemed. Charlie perked up and then went downhill. He seems to be slowly getting worse. He has been increasingly lethargic, eating sparingly, and by Saturday had a fever. Goats temps should run between 102-103. Once his temp went to 104.5, we started penicillin immediately. Just like us, not eating or drinking normally will cause dehydration–making the situation worse. By Friday afternoon, it was clear we were losing ground. We brought Charlie into the barn for a little specialized care. I also called the vet, only to find out she was gone until sometime on Sunday. On Saturday, we started penicillin and that brought the fever down quickly. It did not seem to improve his overall health. We also started electrolytes to attempt to rebuild him. By Monday, I was talking to the vet and she came on Tuesday, scooped him up, and took him back to her place. She was as stumped as we were.
She called the very next morning to report he had passed away. It’s comforting to have a vet who is obviously broken up by the news. She said tests showed him as severely anemic. We have no idea why. We fed the right things, dewormed, etc. She and I agreed that sending the body to the Purdue Lab was the best thing. After the loss of 2 goats last fall and Charlie this fall, we need to find out what is going on.
It is easy to have livestock when you get to feed them, scratch under their chins, and watch them play, but it is quite another when you have to nurse them, watch them suffer, and even have to put them down. Having livestock is no game and they are not pets. Most people remove themselves from the equation of animals living and suffering and often dying to insulate themselves from the realities of our food system. I know Charlie was not a food animal, but he could have been. It is hard to go out to the barn 3-4 times a day to give shots, force electrolytes, and watch suffering. The bad comes with the good and both have their lessons to teach.
We miss you Charlie. You were our favorite–the one that always ran up to us, loved to be scratched and cuddled, and was carefree. We want to know what happened and why. We never thought coming to be part of this farm would cost you your life.