Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Huge Relieved Sigh

An alternate title for this should be 'Meet the Herd: Oliver'... but it didn't really fit... 

When we brought our buck home, we finally got a good look at the little guy (and boy, howdy, is he little for a 13 month old buck). He was bony and losing hair. He also had a boil, bubble, abscess, whatever-you-want-to-call-it on his cheek. Since it wasn't on his jaw bone, a friend of ours didn't think that it was CL. A couple days later it burst without our knowing it. 

So we sent off a little vial of blood to the lab to be checked for CL. Just to be sure. An ounce of prevention... If it was CL, we didn't want the other goats to be anywhere that the buck had been. After a week of waiting, the tests came back negative. 

Then, a week and a half ago, he got another one. It was bigger, it was rounder, it was more swollen, and it was on his jaw bone...

We interrupt this post for random factoids: 

CL stands for 'Caseous Lymphadentitis.' Translation - it's a ruminant infection that ends up in the lymph nodes and then creates abscesses in those areas (jaw bone, shoulder, rump, etc...). The microbes that spread CL from animal to animal are released when the abscess ruptures. We had three different locations that the first abscess could have burst. 

And now back to your regularly scheduled post...

Long story short - Mom and Dad spent 4 hours of Mom's birthday at the vet. When she (the vet) lanced the abscess, she said that it was about a day away from exploding (rupturing is a nice way of saying it) and that it was highly suspicious for CL. So the abscess material was sent off to the lab. Apparently the puss test is more accurate than the blood test. Mom was about ready to throw in the towel and put the little guy down. Dad wasn't quite ready to raise the white flag just yet. The vet made the point, "Would you be okay with putting Oliver down only to find out that the test comes back negative?" Okay, we'll cross that bridge after we get the results... 

In order to lance the abscess, the vet trimmed up little Oliver's beard. But only half of it. So he was a lopsided Chinese wise man until we decided that he should get an even haircut. I won't humiliate the guy by posting pictures of how pathetic he looked after his 'spa' day at the vet's.

We waited. And waited. All the while, treating the buck like a biohazard. Only one person goes in to care for him. That person cannot work with the other goats. The clothes that the person wore had to be cleaned asap and kept separate from the rest of the laundry. The special person also has a special pair of shoes that can only be used in Oliver's pen. There is a shovel that can only be used in Oliver's stall and the bedding material cannot go to the compost pile - if we took it out then it's to be burned. 

For a week we toiled, all the while holding our breath hoping that it wasn't CL. If it was, our little goat adventure would be done, and the cow just might have to come home... We hardly had even a glimmer of hope while waiting. Dad decided that he should dig out a deep hole in the back of the property since we had the neighbor's excavator. Wouldn't want to be digging a 6-8 foot deep hole with a spade. Finally, we had to call the vet, "Have you gotten those test results by any chance? No? Do you know when those will come in? You'll give them a call in the morning? Okay. Question for you - how often do you see a CL blood test come back negative and the culture come back positive? Oh really... That's interesting. Well, we'll have to look into that. Thank you!" So... What did the vet tech say?! I didn't find out until later...

The fated phone call finally arrived. Should we answer it or let them leave a message? Inhale, exhale, repeat. Hmm... Here, run and give the phone to Mom! :cue drum roll: We're CL negative!!! :D :D :D

But what caused those boils on his face? One of our does was getting bumps on her side now too... Well, the vet tech's sister-in-law had similar problems and dealing with the same conundrum that we were.

Lo-and-behold, there were thistles in the alfalfa.

You read that right. Thistles. We reached in to their feed and got ourselves stuck with the nasties too. We've been running around in circles and bending over backwards, and it's thistles. They had lodged their spiny little stickers into the goat's cheek, or in our doe's case, she was sleeping in the alfalfa - hence the scabs and bumps... oh the little stinker. 

Looking back on the last couple of weeks, the verse in Proverbs where it talks about how God will make foolishness of man's wisdom pretty much sums it all up. Yeah, we've learned that one first hand. :P

Until next time!


  1. Glad the little guy is ok.
    I've got to come out and start learning from you all. Long story-share later.
    Tell you Mum hi!
    Take care

  2. Oh man, at least you have a lesson you can share with the rest of us... that's crazy, Sarah. So glad he is CL negative :)