Saturday, June 23, 2012

Sam, the Dog

Sam is a great dog. He's the kind of dog that every kid should have.

Big, fluffy, clean, and happy to let little (or big) kids snuggle next to him.

He's even great with the bummer lambs we sometimes have indoors in the spring.

That's why we took him to the vet to have his cancer removed.

In February we brought him into the vet to have some bumps checked out. The vet took some samples (with Vet2Be helping) and checked them under the microscope. They were fatty tumors and weren't a problem. Lots of dogs get them.

About 6 weeks ago one started growing fairly fast. It doubled in size in about 6 weeks so we brought him into the vet again. The vet drained the fluid out, just to see what was in there and to see how much fluid there was (alot!) Then he suggested that we have the tumor removed because of it's size and how fast it grew.

Vet2Be was in the surgery and not only got to watch, he got to take photos and videos.

When the vet started the surgery, he could tell that the tumor was probably malignant. The tests came back on Friday and the vet was right, it was malignant. Good thing we brought Sam in!

This is what the poor dog looks like this week!

We're spraying his surgical site with silver to help it heal. The vet saw him on Friday and was pleased with the progress.

We take him back again next Friday to have the stents removed, but the staples stay in for another week after that.

We're really hopeful this took care of the cancer.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Udder Problems

Because of the way this year has hit us we didn't vaccinate against mastitis as we usually do. One of the benefits of using Lysigin is that it also seems to reduce or eliminate staph infections on the doe's udders. This year we didn't do boosters and we didn't vaccinate Misty (Vet2Be's Jr. Best in Show last year).

We did what we could while waiting for the vet to be able to come out about a week after I called her.

I didn't start taking pictures right away. I wish I had. The first set of photos already show some of the healing taking place.

These photos show some healing that has already started. The infection started about 4 days before this photo was taken. The infection started with a few pimples that had pus in them. Then almost overnight (literally), the scab covered quite a bit of area between her two teats.

I started soaking her udder in 1 cup of epsom salts mixed in 1/2 gallon of water with some experimental silver particles for 5 minutes twice a day after milking her out. This isn't the colloidal silver (however high in quality) you can buy at the health food stores, although that would probably work, just not as fast as the new stuff does.

We also continued to wash her udder with an udder wash before we milked her each day.

After soaking her udder we sprayed her with Vetericyn.

We also boosted her immune system with Mineral Max Ultra Paste, which we are able to find at our local CAL Ranch store. I found it a few days later much cheaper (called Mineral Max EAD Paste) at Stearns Vet Outlet, which is a mail order site.  

(update 9/13/12: I called Stearns Vet Outlet today to order more Mineral Max. They said it is no longer being made. The company is coming out with something new..... but the Stearn's Representative didn't know what it was or when it was coming out. She said they had to wait for the manufacturer to contact them.)

We also kept her in a tee-shirt with the sleeve covering her udder. You can see another goat wearing one here. We didn't want dirt getting on her udder, and although it hadn't spread through the herd, we didn't want to chance it spreading either. She got a clean tee-shirt each time we went through 'the ritual' as Prion so aptly named the process!

Two days after the above photo her udder looked like this.
We didn't touch her udder with bare hands, they were gloved just in case we could catch this. We also opened the scabs after each milking to get out any pus. The large sore on the right side of the udder was a hard area that was always filled with pus. The look of the sores made us worry that it might be a staph infection.

This is what her udder looked like the day the vet was able to come. I showed her the 'before' pictures so she would have reference photos to work from.

The vet recommended that we continue to use warm compresses (or soaking is better!) twice a day on her udder, to continue to wash her with a sanitizing solution (chlorhexadine if we wanted to try something different), and to continue to open any scabs to let the infection drain out. The vet gave Misty a shot of Excede, which I had never heard of before. It's a long lasting (5 day) antibiotic.

After reading about it's use in horses, I'm not so sure I would have let her use that on Misty. However, Misty hasn't had any problems with the shot and as of today there is no pus coming out of any of the sores.

The vet said this was a bacterial infection, but she wasn't sure it was staph. She could tell it wasn't a viral infection like Sore Mouth or Orf because none of the kids had it and none of the other goats got it, either.

Soaking the udder! I use a Glad container, the cheap kind you get at the grocery store. I have a timer and I set it for 5-6 minutes. I don't cheat on the time, saving her udder is much too important.
I'm not sure I could soak the udder on a goat other than a Saanen. They are so mild tempered (usually) that they take all kinds of messing-with in stride. She's not thrilled when we pull the scabs off (after soaking) but if I hold her leg up, Vet2Be can take care of the rest without getting kicked in the face.

Vet2Be also goes out in the middle of the afternoon and sprays down her udder with the sanitizing solution again, so she's 'sanitized' three times a day.

We also cleaned out the stalls and put down fresh shavings even though they weren't that messy. We cleaned them out less than a month ago. We wanted to reduce the chance of spreading as best we could.

Every day I run all the milking equipment through the sanitizing cycle on the dishwasher and all the towels and udder cover tee-shirts through the sanitizing cycle on the washing machine.

The next time we see any pimples with pus anywhere on an udder our first response will be to start the soaking right away instead of waiting to see if the goat can fight it off herself.

One other goat had a few pimples on her udder between her teats, but the soaking cleared them up enough that the vet didn't want to take a look at her (and she could have made an easy $40 by looking!)

Oh, and in case you are wondering, we've been throwing the milk away. I haven't even been giving it to the chickens.

As soon as Lysigin is available again (it's on backorder everywhere!) we will get some and give booster shots to all the older does and start Misty on her set of shots as well.

We also vaccinate with J-VAC, which takes care of mastitis caused by e. coli.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Sam's Paw and Foxtail

We have been overrun with foxtail this year.

We hate foxtail!

It gets stuck in everything.

Thankfully we haven't had any goats get foxtail stuck in their throats, they generally don't eat it.

In the past we've pulled it out from between Sam's teeth. (Sam's a fluffy large mutt dog who is gentle and kind unless you are trying to get into the house and you don't belong here!)

Sam's been licking his paw raw. We couldn't see anything in there. Sometimes he gets nervous and licks his fur off his paws. So we put a 'cone of shame' on him. That usually does the trick.

This time it didn't heal.

I decided to soak his foot in epsom salts to see if we could sooth his foot as well as pull out any infection. We were able to get some of the infection out. But his paw was still hot and shiny.... a sure sign that something is still wrong inside.

Vet2Be decided to soak his paw again today, and see what happened. He was able to see the very end of a piece of foxtail. You can see it in the picture above, it looks like a little "V".

What a good dog! He'll let us soak his foot, poke it and squeeze it (gently) to see if we can get anything (or any pus) out. He just sits there!

If we couldn't make some progress on his paw today, we were taking him to the vet tomorrow. Vet2Be has seen many dogs who have paws that look like this. The diagnoses is almost always a piece of foxtail that has worked it's way into the paw.
Vet2Be soaked Sam's paw again later. We'll do it twice a day for the next few days until it looks nice and pink instead of shiny and red. We've also been spraying it with a disinfectant, and then with Vetericyn. If you haven't tried Vetericyn on wounds for animals before, you might want some in your animal first aid kit. It's wonderful stuff! Kills 99.9% of lots of different types of infection from staph to MRSA. Click here to see what else it kills.

Since the 'cone of shame' is so awkward and hard to eat and drink through, I found a pattern for a dog bootie on the internet. This stays on much better than a sock or any other bandage we tried (which is why we went back to the 'cone of shame')

The dog bootie stays on well and it doesn't seem to bother Sam much at all. You can find the pattern (easy!) at Tammy's Craft Emporium. She has a great tutorial! She makes them for her Springer Spaniel who needs boots when she's running around in the snow.

We've also been dealing with some udder infections on the goats. One has staph, so she's in a tee-shirt to cover her udder. The other one still has the tee-shirt on to keep whatever is causing her allergic reaction off her udder.

It's been a long few weeks!

I'll have some photos of the udder in a few days. We've been soaking both goat's udders in epsom salts, too. It's helped alot!

Thank goodness they're Saanens!

Gentle and easy to work with, even when they are under stress.

Monday, June 4, 2012

New Chicks Hatched

We didn't have any broody hens last year, but we had one this year. It's so nice to have the hen take care of the chicks instead of us having to do the job! The chicks hatched on Sunday before church.

She ended up with 5 living chicks. She managed to smash 3 and one just didn't hatch out right.

The hen is a Arucauna x Rhode Island Red (not an Americauna). Our friend raised pure bred Arucaunas for a while and crossed them with Rhodies. This hen is actually fairly mild tempered and good to have around.
We've got two ducks sitting on clutches, too. Last year they didn't hatch anything out. We'll see if they manage the job this year. Hopefully!

I could get all preachy about hens and chicks and gathering under wings. Having live hens with chicks and watching them grow up together is a living parable and brings to life the words I read in the Bible. I love to see the Gospel in everything, but I imagine that you have your own parables and things that lift and strengthen you, which is as it should be.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Kids 2012

Just some photos of the kids that were born this year.

Three bucklings and two doelings this year. One buckling was wethered, the other two will be sold intact because they have good breeding as well as being beautiful bucklings.

Prince. He is beautiful! I wish I could get a good photo of him so I could show off his straight, strong back and his good legs.

He's got a cute face, too! And he's a gentle, sweet buckling. He's got his dad's personality and good looks!

The S'nubian wether.

The one with the yellow collar is the other buckling. He's good looking, too, but not as nice as Prince is!
Vet2Be will keep the two doelings and show them this year. Then he'll have to decide which goats to keep and which to sell since we are only allowed six large animals on the property.

Animals under 6 months don't count, so we're fine until November!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Ginger's Udder Cover

Ginger has an allergic skin reaction on her udder. We've been trying to get rid of it and the infection for about 3 years.

Even the vet is at a loss as to what to do.

We've paid more in tests and vet bills and biopsies than the goat is worth in the hopes that we will learn something that will heal her udder and be of future help to Vet2Be.

Earlier this week the smell was horrible! We were almost ready to call the vet to have him put her down.

But we decided to try something we hadn't done before we made "the call."

Often we have washed her udder with plain water and a washcloth, but we've never used a hose on it. That's what we started to do on Wednesday.

And we wanted to cover it with a bandage, which we've never been able to do. How do you stick a bandage on an udder without it coming off?

Here's our idea:

I took an XL tee shirt and cut the sleeves off, leaving the seam ON the shirt (not on the sleeves).

I sewed one sleeve shut at the hem to make a bag. I sewed half of the open end of the sleeve to the bottom of the shirt. Then I attached two pieces of elastic that is 12" long. One end went on the shirt, one end is attached to the udder bag.
After hosing her off twice a day for two days, the smell is much less. She doesn't mind being hosed off (I think that the cold water made the sore feel better).

And she doesn't mind the shirt at all! She seems to like keeping the sore on her udder from rubbing the inside of her leg.

She's the first goat that Vet2Be bought with his own money. And she's the sweetest goat we've ever had! Gentle, kind, loving, and a fantastic milker.

We milked her through for 3 years. And it was worth going out to milk her! The only reason we stopped was because we couldn't get rid of the sores from whatever allergy she has.

(Yes, we've changed bedding, food, everything. Literally everything!)

If anyone is interested in seeing a step-by-step tutorial of how I sewed the shirt, please leave me a comment. I've got a few more to make (I want to have 4 so I don't have to wash so often!) and I don't mind taking photos of the process. It takes about 10 minutes to sew one up, so it's a really quick project!