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Paging Dr. Palmer

There's one inevitable truth about raising animals - eventually they're going to get sick or hurt.  And since we have a menagerie of critters here, I've seen more that my share of hurt and sick creatures.

Luckily, our animals are usually healthy.  Still, over the course of my adult years I've had to do plenty of doctoring.  This goes against my very nature.  I dislike blood, wounds make me woozy, and it literally kills me to see anything in pain.

But when I have an animal that is sick, or wounded, and in pain, and I'm the only one standing there, there really is no choice.  Plenty of times I've had to steel myself, cowgirl up, and just get in there and take care of it.  I also have to act calm about it, because I'm acutely aware that my children are watching and taking cues from me.  I can't run away screaming like a maniac even when inside I'm doing that very thing.

I used to take my animals to the vet for everything, because I didn't know much.  But by watching and learning, and gaining experience over the years, I've gotten more confident in my abilities.  I can take care of most problems on my own now, and I'm pretty sure I know more about goat health than my vet does. 

I've also found that a glass of wine or a couple bottles of beer helps when I need a bit more courage.  This welcome discovery served me well when I had a chicken with a wing nearly ripped completely off her body by a neighborhood dog.  I'd quickly down a few before cleaning up the wound with a sea salt solution laced with tea tree oil.  Chicken Jane survived and even has movement (although somewhat limited) in the affected wing.

But the last two weeks have been trying.  Our old man dog Scout was having urinary issues.  A few doses of apple cider vinegar didn't help, so it did warrant a trip to the vet for a course of antibiotics.  Unfortunately, those don't seem to be working.

Then, last night my spirit-horse Meadow, colicked.  She was fine yesterday morning but wasn't looking quite right by late afternoon and stopped eating.  Just as evening hit, she started lying down, sweating and groaning.  I was this close to calling the vet out when Meadow pooped and seemed to improve.

Needless to say, I didn't sleep well because I was out checking on her every two hours, but by 11:00 pm she was much better, eating and calling for more food.  (I was only feeding her a pound or so of hay every few hours so as not to try her system).  Although she looks back to normal this morning, I'm still watching her like a hawk.

What's even got me more worried is Hazel.  She's had a nose issue for the last few months.  Her normally cute little pink nose is covered with big, nasty-looking scabs.  Why?  I don't know.  The vet's diagnosis, and I quote, "I have no idea.  That'll be $125."  (OK, I ad-libbed that last part.)

It's happened to her before and I've treated it successfully with a salt water rinse followed by triple antibiotic ointment.  But this time, it's resisting my every treatment.  I've tried iodine, tea tree, Vet Rx, Desitin, every topical ointment known to man.  I've even put her through two doses of different antibiotics. It's only gotten worse.

I've talked to anyone who knows anything about goats.  No one has ever seen anything quite like it.

I'm worried because it's painful for her.  I don't want her to be in pain.

So, I've done a ton of research and mixed up an ointment myself that I'm calling Hazel's goop.  I haven't managed to get it on her nose yet.  I cleaned it with iodine this morning which left her feeling super sore.  She's spent the rest of the morning hiding from me.  I may give her a day to recover before trying to apply the goop.

The whole of today has been spent taking care of sick and hurt animals, and I'm drained.

I'm seriously considering forcing my kids into vet school.                   

   


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