Monday, 6 June 2011
Yesterday's encounter with a swarm of wasps faded into insignificance, if feeling like your scalp is bathed in acid is ever insignificant, compared to later events. I went out at around midnight to check Pam the Mangaliza and wasn't surprised to find a deficit of piglets, but as I stood by the gate wished instant pig birth a strange sound echoed around the smallholding, an eerie wailing that made everything freeze and listen. In the maximum security unit Geisha, who had to be fair alerted us to the likelihood of poorlyness earlier on, was now very ill. We had tried to sort her out during the day, a succulent selection of greenery freshly cut was turned down. Not a good sign. We put on her favourite Marillion album (Anglo Nubian's prefer prog rock to heavy metal) but she lay in the corner and refused to perk up. Now, at the start of the small hours she was wailing with tummy ache.
This is where Darwin's theory is seriously flawed, survival of the fittest and all that, the origin of the species is lacking a chapter on self combustion in goats. Goats are, for the uninitiated, mobile chemical reactions on legs. Every second of the day their internal chemistry set bubbles and fizzes away, always on the point of critical mass, threatening to self destruct. Too much of one foodstuff and they explode. Literally. Their internal organs go to war against the host and usually the first thing you know about it is a goat that has ceased to be.
As we are now seasoned campaigners in the chemical war we know what to look out for. A goat failing to be cheered up by Marillion's Fugazi is one, but secondary signs like scouring (runny poos) were absent. Now, just past the Witching hour Geisha looked like she was lining up for the mother of all chemical reactions. Having tried to revive her and failing the fourth emergency service was called and the vet responded within minutes. Over a much needed cuppa tactics were discussed and together we tried to get Geisha to stay away from the light. Pipes were stuck where they shouldn't be in any goat and soon she was giving off a foul smelling gas, injections to relive the pain, combat the infection and prevent muscle spasms were all administered. By 3am she showed no real sign of rallying but was breathing easy and her heart rate was down. Still no poo which was a worry, Geisha can out poo the horses, combined on a good day.
We left her to it and in the morning at first light (still no piglets) Geisha was alive, and moving around. Experience warned against hope. Luckily I could do my work from home today, and between phone calls, letters sent and meetings organised I checked on the med bay. 10 am saw me back at the vets getting more injections and liquid paraffin to drench her in a final bid to clear anything causing whatever it was, but even as I tipped the goo down her throat her eyes told me it was pointless.
Lunchtime and I thought she had gone but she woke with a start and tried to stand. This was pitiful to watch and she gave up preferring to be stroked where she lay. Her breathing was slow and laboured and we were in the final stages. By 4pm she seemed to be in fresh pain, the drugs wearing off perhaps, or worse symptoms showing them self so a call to the vet to come and end it. Tracey my beautiful and oh so patient and very tearful wife went into the med bay to say goodbye at which point Geisha gave a final mew and passed on to the great vegetable garden in the sky where gardeners are happy to see her and welcome her ravishing of the ever growing crops.
Another call to the vet to cancel his trip over with the humane killer, thankfully there was no need to shoot our pet. I caught up with him later on, both of us had had a bad day, and we chatted about life, the universe and exploding goats. His view was she had got some catastrophic gut complaint, like a twist which meant she shut down and died. Anglo Nubian's do quit sometimes. Nothing could be done. We have had a run of bad luck, Rainbow the foal, Jester the lamb hit by a bike and now Geisha. With a pig about to farrow and a Bernese Mountain dog about to have pups we are hoping the run has ended.