We’ve been nursing a sick goat for a week now. Poor Zelda has been in the barn, away from her other goat friends and her baby goats, trying to bounce back from a bad case of worms. Despite our routine of checking the herd for early signs of parasites, Zelda seems to be suffering from an overload of what are commonly called barber pole worms. Here in Duck River, Tennessee, July has brought a mixture of humid, rainy, and extremely hot days. This type of weather can be tough on dairy goats in our area because it creates the perfect condition for barber pole worms to proliferate. These tiny beasts get into the guts of their hosts and rob them of nutrients, causing anemia and many other complications. Usually proper goat management can prevent sickness but sometimes problems arise as a result of worm overload. That is the case with Zelda.
We were surprised and concerned when Zelda didn’t go to the feeding bins last Sunday. Instead she stayed in the barn away from the rest of the herd. Zelda is our largest and greediest goat of all so we immediately knew she was a sick goat. She seemed depressed and was grinding her teeth, which is a common symptom of pain. Nate checked the color of her bottom eyelids. If a sick goat has worms, her eyelids will be pale pink or whitish instead of a deep reddish-pink. Sure enough, Zelda had pale eyelids.
We gave her a dose of de-wormer right away. She’s also been having symptoms of acidosis, a condition, that could have been caused by the worm infestation, and which caused the ph of her rumen to become unbalanced. To combat this problem and hopefully prevent further complications, we’ve been giving her regular doses of baking soda, antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medication, probiotics, vitamin b, fluids, and a nutrient drench.
Right now, our biggest battle is to lift her spirits. Attention and pampering are critical to a sick goat. We bought some all natural fly repellant that really seems to keep the flies from bothering her. I also plugged in a small fan so she has a nice breeze. She loves her fan!!! Companionship is also critical to a sick goat. Goats really need the company of their buddies or they will sink into depression. A depressed, sick goat has a much harder time bouncing back. Depression can cause them to give up on eating and they will lose their drive to survive. To lift Zelda’s spirits, I’ve been spending time with her and giving her treats every hour. She’s slowly beginning to eat fresh leaves and will even eat some hay every now and then. She likes her Tums which help calm her belly and taste good. She also likes her baking soda. Lately, I’ve been giving her raw goat milk yogurt too. She really likes it! It has good bacteria in it and lots of protein. She had made a lot of progress as of yesterday but today, she seems sad and doesn’t want to eat much, not even her treats!
Zelda is a sick goat. Please send some good thoughts her way. She needs lost and lots of positive energy and love. We are not giving up on Zelda, even if she’s a greedy pig, hahaha. Her babies need her and the rest of the herd misses her too. Hopefully, with enough TLC we can get her on her feet again.