Sunday, October 6, 2013

A couple of helpful links...

I've had some folks ask questions about this or that with the goats lately, so while I think I have posted several of these before, I'm going to do it again.  When we have any sort of strangeness with the goats (and when do we not), I try to decide if this is something that I need to call the vet about (Kitty's compound fracture being a case in point), or is this some management thing I need to figure out.  Considering our local vet is pretty expensive, even for a consult, I usually try to figure it out myself first or ask around to some of the vets who own and work goats out there in the larger Kiko community.  They may not be close by, but they "get" goats and have hands on experience with them.  I find that is key for any sort of vet work.  Vet school is darn hard to get in, but not all vets have an innate "feel" for animals.  That goes for doctors, too - especially pediatricians.  When you find a good one, you stick with him or her.  We are fortunate in the Kiko community to have some very good goat vets among our number.  I appreciate all the long distance advice they have given me over the years.

Since I am sometimes on my own on a weekend or in the middle of the night with an issue, I have found some websites that offer what I consider to be helpful information.  I am not officially endorsing them as the be all end all, and I know some vets that cast a dim view of them, but I will let you decide for yourself and offer the suggestion that I use - if it doesn't agree with my own animal experience and own sense of what make sense - I don't try it on my goats.   That being said, I have been able to glean helpful information from the following non-vet sites: (this one has scientific backing)

I also search and read the goat chat boards.  Sometimes you read crazy sounding stuff, but there are some mighty experienced goat people out there, and much can be learned from reading the exchanges between producers.  I of course still love to read The Goat Rancher and always learn from it, although I have less time to really enjoy it now that I am always re-reading classroom texts. 

I hope these links are helpful to anyone having a problem and unable to get veterinary help.  Again, I am not a vet and don't claim to be.  For better or worse, I have had many animals over my years, and had horses when I was a broke college and graduate student.  I learned how to take care of a lot on my own in those ramen-noodle filled years.

We have recently used my experience gained while keeping a horse at a stable with gravel on a hill to the pature, and a farm worker who thought it was cool to turn my horse out last so she would run like a bat out of you know where to get to the rest of the herd.  I had lots and lots of stone bruises that turned to abcesses to work through that year - and even had one work its way up and out my horse's coronary band.   Ace and Tonto had a fight a while back, and Ace's hoof must have been bruised, because now, he has had an abscess just like my mare used to have.  This is pretty inconvenient as it is breeding season, so I suggested to Chuck to use an epsom salt poultice to draw out any infection.  I think a lot of epsom salts for drawing out infection.  I think much less of Tonto causing trouble.  He does not love being the mature buck who has no does.  Not even a little bit.  Luckily he is easy to catch, but he doesn't lead terribly well and he is much stronger than I am, so the Gator helps me tote him back where he needs to be.  He moves along with the Gator pretty well, although we can tell from his expression that he is just fuming about the indignity of it all.

I move Tonto however I can when he decides to be where he ought not be.  He really needs some does of his own.
Chuck described Ace as less than appreciative of the attention, but he did seem to enjoy the warm soak.  After a day or two, we thought we would use another home remedy that draws infection well - bentonite clay.  Chuck spoke with a particularly helpful vet who knows goats, and he suggested supplemental antibiotics.  Chuck had already given one shot to him, so he continued on.  Hopefully it will heal completely with time.  I remember losing a lot of training time with my mare to those blasted abscesses.

Ace, being pitiful with his sore foot
Today, I am hobbling around because I tried to take a flying leap to catch one of our new does that is in quarantine.  She has been sticking her head through the fence, and I had the bright idea to tape a stick to her horns.  She zigged and I zagged, and my old foot twisted a direction it apparently could not go.  Great.  I just love goats.  I will be reminded of just how much when I have to go up all the flights of stairs to get to my classroom in the morning. 

I wanted to leave with a picture of one of the toxic plants we have on the farm.  Seems we have more than our share, and this one has normally been relegated to the shady pasture edges, but the soggy summer has it growing even out in full sun this year.  This is Perilla Mint, and it really does have a minty aroma when cut.  It causes symptoms that mimic pneumonia.  I have seen our goats take a bite or two of it, and although I freaked out, it appears to not always be immediately deadly.  I read somewhere that the toxicity could vary.  Keep an eye out for it, as it was introduced as a landscape plant and went invasive.  This picture was earlier in the summer, but this time of year, it is tall and has a skinny seed spike.
Perilla Mint - just another toxic plant here in the Southeast

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