Sometimes, our best efforts fail
Sometimes, despite our best efforts, things happen anyway. It is like flu season. You do everything you can to not get sick by washing your hands and staying away from those who have it, and yet, you still get it, despite your best efforts. Well, despite our best efforts with Miracle, she has hit another bump in the road. Remember how I told you that we put iodine on her umbilical cord to prevent navel ill? Sadly, our best efforts failed. After a visit to the vet yesterday, Miracle has been diagnosed with navel or joint ill. What does this mean, though, and how did we decide to take her to the vet?
We thought perhaps she had somehow sprained her knee, although the chances of that happening could only have been when she would slip as she ventured off the carpet or towels onto the vinyl. It was swollen and hot, and she wouldn't put any weight on it. This was causing issues with her mobility as she couldn't push herself up to a standing position by herself. She could get her butt up, but that's it. Once we propped her up, she could stand, but was unable to walk. All of this occurred suddenly after she had been walking on her own. We made the command decision to take her to the vet as the weekend was approaching, and we were uncomfortable with her lack of mobility.
When we arrived at the vet, her temperature was 104 (goats are supposed to be around 101). The vet also stuck a needle in her knee to see if puss would come out--it did. They took her to the procedure room to drain the knee. She came back with a pretty gnarly looking knee (it has a drain stitched in). The vet sent us home with instructions to give her daily antibiotic shots, to keep her knee clean, and to come back on Tuesday to remove the drain. After all this, she was pretty exhausted and slept the rest of the day. The vet said only time will tell with her outcome.
One of the things that I have found important in raising livestock on the farm is to look at the whole picture. As much as I want to just look through the window that says that Miracle will be fine, I know I can't do that. There is a whole other window that has a bleaker outlook, but is just as realistic. So what are we looking at in Miracle's situation?
Navel ill is a bacterial infection that can travel, not only through the navel, but also through respiratory and GI ways. Because she got off to a weak start, she was probably more susceptible to getting some kind of infection. Navel ill can affect one joint or many. The fluid that accumulates in the joint often causes permanent damage to the joint. Right now, Miracle only has an infection in one joint. She has a better prognosis because we caught it early, and hopefully, the antibiotics will keep it from spreading to the other joints. We won't know if or how much her knee is damaged for quite some time. She may always walk with a limp. Right now, our hope is to keep it from spreading to the other joints. If this happens, her chances greatly decrease.
The good news is, she is a fighter. She is still standing and amazingly will put some weight on her leg and take baby steps. Her appetite is certainly not diminished, and she has a pretty epic battle wound.
Sometimes our best efforts aren't enough to prevent everything from happening. In the 13 years we have raised goats, I have never had this happen. Even though some efforts failed, there are plenty more efforts to give :)