I took today off from work to take Summer-goat down to the vet clinic. The clinic facility is about an hour in the opposite direction from work. So consider the hour to get there, the time the appointment takes, the hour to get home and change, the hour-plus to get to work and the hour-plus to get home, and it seemed that it wasn't worthwhile to try to get to work at all today.
achaosofkittens helped me get Summer into the car-crate before he left for work. For anyone's reference or curiosity - My car-crate is a BargainHound 24" and fits exactly onto the backseat of the prius. There is no other larger, commonly-sold (available in a store that I could visit) model that will fit in the 2005 prius. The reason I use the back seat rather than the hatchback is that the distance from the seat to the roof is higher than the distance from the back deck to the roof, and there is less of a slope so there is more volume in the crate size allowed.
I took Crest Hill Road down to Zachary Taylor - it's a lovely drive, though getting stuck behind a truck and a bus was annoying and slowed me down considerably. The "new" facility at Rosehill Vet Center is really nice. They have indoor stable boarding as well as pastures for any large animal that they might have to house. The indoor stable includes a nifty pulley system that allows them to hook a horse up to an IV and still let the horse loose in the box. They have only one "small" animal stall that looks like an afterthought, but it is plenty big, has light and shelter, and the gate is low enough to stop a regular-sized goat or sheep from getting out.
But I digress... The reasons I took Summer to the vet are varied, but all are important.
For anyone who missed the previous posts - Summer came down with mastitis in her right teat sometime last weekend. By Monday she had a temperature of 108 and a full-blown infection. We were given penicillin, banamine and oxytocin for injections, and spectramast as a teat-suppository (it's goo to squirt directly into the teat). Our instructions were to inject penicillin twice a day, banamine once or twice depending on fever, and oxytocin about 5 minutes before trying to milk her out to help with her milk letdown. We were to milk her out as completely as possible prior to squirting in the spectromast. If her teat turned cold and blue or her udder got harder, we were to call the vet again.
Ok, so we aren't perfect at it, but between the two of us we were getting most of the work done, and Summer was acting better at least. But I was still worried that we weren't doing things completely right because we aren't vets. So I called Rosehill yesterday (Thursday) about getting a follow-up visit for Thursday or Friday. They were booked solid except for after-hour emergency calls, and this wasn't quite an emergency, but I was told to call back this morning (Friday) to see if they had an opening locally at the clinic.
Last night we came home to a phone message from Dr. Vandry telling us that the culture of the bacteria indicated a staphylococcus- based infection that was susceptible to the drugs he prescribed. And if we needed anything, to give him a call.
After listening to that message, we went out to dose and treat Summer for the night. CK could not get much of any milk out of her *left* teat. That sealed it for me - Summer was going to see the vet today regardless of how long I had to drive because she could be getting worse. She could be drying up, but she could be getting worse.
I called Rosehill this morning and there was even more of an opening at the clinic than they had expected (thank you for a lack of emergencies!), and so I was welcome anytime after 11 AM.
I brought Summer in to see Dr. Monica O'Brian. The vet tried to milk her out and got cheesy stinky grossness - total proof that Summer was not well at all. The real problem was that the grossness was from Summer's *left* teat. Just as we had suspected, the infection had spread. Summer's temperature was back up to 104.3 as well, which was another indicator that she was getting sicker. After a short and predetermined conversation with Dr. O'Brian, we decided Summer would stay over at the clinic for at least the weekend.
While I had hoped for the best answers, one of my reasons for taking Summer down to the clinic rather than have another farm call was to ensure that, if she wasn't doing better, I could leave her in professional care. So Summer is now being boarded at Rosehill while they fight the infection with all the latest in veterinary resources, including enthusiastic farmer-girl-sized vet techs who can wrestle full-grown cattle. Additionally, Dr. Vandry is the vet on call this weekend, and he knows all about Summer and her history and her current problems. This makes me very happy. He is a competent and dedicated professional, and he already knows the whole story.
I will try to visit Summer this weekend, and specifically take back the medication that I already have. That should hopefully lower the bill by about $100. Boarding at the clinic is $30 a day and the daily treatment is $20 plus medication (or is it $20/$30?). Her stall is about 3 feet wide by about 14 feet long, and reminds me of a dog run. It is completely sheltered from any wind by being not only inside, but against the inside wall where all three of her stall walls are concrete. Unfortunately, but by design, she has no company. More unfortunately, there is no one even that she can see from her stall. I expect she is going to cry a lot this weekend. I'm tempted to offer to take down another goat for company for her, but I don't want to have to pay for that too. By the time Summer is well, I'm estimating a total out of pocket cost for her care at about $350.
Side note of unhumorous amusement - $350 is about what a middle-ranked, registered/papered white angora would cost to purchase. Summer was $75 as an out-of-season kid with an unknown sire.
Yes, I'm whacked to be spending this much care and money on "livestock" but there are self-obligations of emotional responsibility that I refuse to ignore. As I said back when we took Puck in for emergency surgery, we have an emotional and moral obligation to care for our animals to the best of our resources and abilities. We can afford this; there is a 100% chance of near-complete recovery once this episode is over; she is less than half her life old (she turns five in June); and I got her for a pet rather than for any particular job. Killing her is irrational at best, and emotional anathema at worse. Since I don't plan to breed her again, if her udder is scarred or unusable, that's ok, so long as it doesn't hurt her.
(And I have another killer headache. I am so sick of being sick.)