Saturday, April 21, 2012

Back From the Dead

                          See this goat? This is Jett. He was born on Wednesday.
On Thursday he was dead. At least, I was sure he was. Don't worry - he's not.

This is his story.
When I found Jett and his sister Wednesday morning, newly born, I immediately sensed something was wrong.  I honestly thought they were dead. They were lying on the ground, Jett sprawled out and his sister (yet to be named) curled up. When I lifted him up I was reminded of a term I had heard before - Floppy Kid Syndrome. He was lacking muscular strength and was limp in my arms though he could stand. I brought both kids over to their mom, who had never nursed before and was a little nervous. As you can see in the picture, the female began to head in the right direction and nose about while Jett hung back and never did show any interest, even when I placed him under his mother's udder. He was clueless.
I brought the three goats into another pen so that I could watch them together, to be able to milk the mama so that she wouldn't become engorged and to bottle some of her fresh colostrum to feed Jett, which he did accept. He did ok throughout Wednesday.
On Thursday morning friends stopped by and, as you can see, Jett was taking the bottle, though not greedily.

Several hours later I returned with another bottle to feed Jett, (you should feed newborn goats every four hours for the first week or so) only to find him lying in the barn, stretched out, limp, listless, eyes glazed. Again I thought he was dead and was surprised to find that he wasn't. I tried to feed him but he wouldn't take the bottle in his mouth. I forced it in but he wouldn't suck. I sat on the barn floor with this poor little goat in my lap waiting for an imminent death. After a bit I decided to lay him down, off the ground on a table in the shade while I ran inside to look up Floppy Kid Syndrome to see if there was anything else I could do.  Here's what I learned.
Floppy Kid Syndrome, (FKS), generally occurs 3-10 day AFTER birth and is characterized by lack of muscle control and an unwillingness to nurse. Treatment is sodium bicarbonate and tube feeding.
But upon further study I saw that there is another newborn malady called Weak Kid Syndrome, and this occurs right after birth. This can have a variety of causes: prematurity, cold, wet weather leading to hypothermia, smothering or crushing by other goats, but the symptoms are akin to FKS : inability to stand and nurse. The prescribed treatment is to warm the goat and to rehydrate it.
I had no hope for the survival of Jett. When I laid him down on the table it was just to keep him out of the dirt and away from flies. When I walked back outside, low and behold he was standing on the ground alert and ready to eat! I still can't believe it.
Today is Friday. Jett spent the night in the warm house; Bob woke up and fed him during the night. He sleeps alot, but he stands and he eats. And, against all odds, I think he's going to make it!


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  2. Oh how frightening that must have been. I'm glad Jett's going to be okay.

    And while I enjoyed reading about him, I most enjoyed the photo of him being fed from a Heineken beer bottle! It made me smile!