a preponderance of punctuation marks (reedrover) wrote,
a preponderance of punctuation marks
reedrover

Yesterday's vet report TMI

Yesterday's visit to the vet took a lot longer than anyone had expected. I took Gyre, Constantine, Aster, and Berry off to be removed from the gene pool. The reason I went to Rosehill rather than them coming to me for this round of castrations was that Berry has a retained testicle. The vet had to open up his abdomen and go hunting around for it, and really preferred to do this at the vet hospital rather than on the barn floor. I could respect that. This ended up being a full surgery, with tracheal tubing, anesthetic gas, heart rate monitor, etc. I was quite impressed by the setup and the care they took with him.

Berry was the first goat up for castration, with the arguments that 1) the vet and his assistant wanted to get it done while they were energetic, and 2) it would give Berry the most time to recover before going home. They shaved his neck and gave him two cc's of D---? to knock him out, then heaved him up onto a trough-shaped table. They shaved his entire stomach/abdomen area for the surgery. By the shape/evidence of the testicle that was available, it was the right testicle that did not drop out of the inguinal cavity. The vet intern, Emily, laughed and said that she bet it would be behind the kidney or something.

She was right. And it was a helluva time.

Dr. Vandry opened Berry up and started hunting. By the time he finally located the dwarfed and obviously deformed testicle, he had removed most of Berry's intestinal loops and laid them out on the surgery cloth so that he wouldn't tear them while he was hunting. He was literally digging around underneath and behind the various internal organs to find the missing testis. As the vet said afterwards, we did as close to drawing and quartering a goat as he every hoped to in his office, since the goal was to put him back together into a living single unit after the fact.

(ETA: The photo of Berry's deformed testicle, sitting next to the regularly formed one, is here. Note that they are missing their skins and so you are looking at the actual testicle, not the scrotal sack safely hidden underneath hair.)

I didn't stick around to watch all of this. It was making me want to cry. I didn't want to see Berry with his tongue clamped out of his mouth and his stomach opened up. It made me feel helpless and in pain for no good reasons. Usually, I'm pretty good about veterinary surgery with my goats. I can watch normal castrations and help when/where needed. But this was a little too much. Fortunately, no one was feeling rushed or nervous about it all. Everyone was in a good mood - jolly, even - and the lack of stress was a lightness in the air. We told stories and talked about scientific history and politics. Conversation ranged from Loki's dislocated toe to the design of birth control pills.

During the really gross/digging-around part of the surgery, I sat on a bench nearby and read Once a Hero for the most part, though once in a while I would fetch a trash can or other can't-touch-once-scrubbed-up object for them. (I'm useful that way.) My problem was with the heart rate monitor. Every once in a while it would get bumped and scream in protest. I'd glance over to see what was going on with Berry's surgery... ick. I told Dr. Vandry that the monitor was fucking with me. He just laughed and said that he thought it was nice to have a monitor that worked correctly and told you when you were knocking it loose.

After the surgery was done, I sat with Berry underneath a heat lamp to try to get his temperature back up. He had sunk from his normal 103-ish all the way to 94. We put him halfway onto his chest and along my leg for support and warmth, and I talked him out from under. Dr. Vandry and Emily did the other three castrations while I sat with Berry. Believe me, Berry was in no hurry to wake up. He was still not standing up at 1:30 PM when we all agreed that we needed to call it a day and move on to other things. Dr. Vandry was concerned enough to run the sonogram to make sure that the stitches were holding and that Berry wasn't having internal bleeding issues. He wasn't. He was just not interested in moving yet, thanks.

We finally got impatient and loaded Berry into the trailer, where he promptly stood up and complained. That was a good sign.

By the time I got the boys home, none of them were in any shape to argue about life. They all just wanted to curl up in the sun and recover. That was fine with me. I walked the three others back to the yard and turned them loose. Then I gave Berry a wheelbarrow ride to the barn to his own fenced-off corner. (Berry has both internal and external stitches from this little adventure. He's segregated by himself for the next two weeks until the stitches are taken out by the vet, rather than by another goat's horns.) He started shaking from cold again, so I tucked him into a dryer-heated towel with two hot water bottles. He was doing much better about an hour after that, and I think he's going to be ok now. He was out in the pasture this morning. I'm sure he's in pain, but I think he'll bounce back pretty well.
Tags: angoras, goats, vet_visits
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