Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Miniature Houdinis

Last week we found ourselves at the Cotati Large Animal Hospital... again. It seems that the ladies are perfecting some escape artist antics that they've been working on. Ethel has been struggling to nudge past me at the gate and during one instance in which I blocked her from a new life on the lam, she lost her footing on the deck and poked her eye on one of the stairs. I didn't notice anything was wrong until a couple days later when she was having difficulty keeping her eye open and was laying around in the igloo. I also saw that the iris of her injured eye was cloudy. I made an emergency appointment with the vet and north we schlepped.

We didn't see our usual vet as she was off castrating sheep. Instead, we saw Dr. Harlan who gave Ethel a thorough going over at my request. She seemed to have contracted the same cough that Lucy had and I was concerned about pneumonia, a potential problem with goats of this age. Aside from her messed up eye, she was running a fever and had a bit of rattling in her lungs. The doc loaded her up with all kinds of meds: a super strong antibiotic called Exceed, a triple antibiotic steroid boosted eye ointment, and another round of Naselgen. The docs up at Cotati Large Animal seem to be really jazzed about the latter, having given both goats a dose on their last visit and again at this one. I could swear I saw a strange twinkle in Dr. Harlan's eye when he began to sing the beatitudes of this vaccine. He claims it's the bomb in preventing illness and uses it all the time with organic herds. His love affair with this little nasal spray struck me as a bit odd, but hey, to each his own. I, myself, am completely enamored with my totally energy inefficient Wedgewood stove for its ability to dehydrate anything, make yogurt, and sprout tomato seeds. So I don't judge.

I asked Dr. Harlan to check Lucy as well just to make sure her congestion wasn't lingering about. Her temp was normal, but she still had a bit of crud in the chest. We'll keep an eye on her. And since I had the doc there, I couldn't resist asking him about Lucy's very special body part. Lucy, you see, has a double teat and I wanted to know whether or not that would cause problems with milking. The doc said the extra teat had to go and that it would be a cheap and easy fix on a goat this young. He advised doing it now rather than later. I agreed, but was concerned that there wouldn't be enough time thinking that this would be a bit of a "procedure". OK, so the totality of this "procedure" involved me holding Lucy's front legs and vet assistant holding the rear, the vet taking a scissors of sorts and clipping off the adjunct teat, and then giving the fresh wound a good shot with a spray on bandage. Poor Lucy was so shocked by the pain that she jolted and then went completely stiff as if she had given up. Or maybe she was just doing her best imitation of a fainting goat.

Over the next couple days, Lucy was acting up, being a bit more goaty than usual. I suspect she was pissed about that lopping off the boobie thing. She would nibble at my clothes and shoes... while I was wearing them, of course. And she would make a break for the gate, which had never been part of her normal behavior in the past being the shy one of the two. And then last Thursday, I found her roaming around the yard outside of the goat pen. She was racing about, jumping on top of absolutely anything that was higher than a foot off the ground. I have no idea how she got out. Poor Ethel was left alone in the pen, bleating frantically for the return of her pal. Lucy seemed to be enjoying her freedom a little more than I would have liked to see. Looks like we better get a move on finishing the landscaping, otherwise the rains are going to wash all of our dirt piles down to Mission street and there will be goats running wild through the neighborhood. Oy vey!

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