Tuesday, November 23, 2010

There is a goat in the house

There is a goat in the house, and not for fun.
Calgary, AB was the second coldest place on earth today, right after the South Pole. Edmonton fell somewhere around 6th on the list, and one of our goats fell victim to the cold.

We were out most of the afternoon, and when we got home, we found poor Little Linus lying in the snow. He was right outside the barn, but since he still acts like a baby and never wants to be left alone, the best we can figure out is he was waiting for Romeo to come with him. So he got tired, laid down where he could still see Romeo, then got too cold to get back up.

Chris found him as soon as we got home, scooped him up, and came running for the house. He held him against his own body for probably 40 minutes with a blanket wrapped around him. Then we added an electric heater to the mix. For the last few hours he's been lying on the floor wrapped in a blanket next to the heater.

We haven't been able to convince him to eat or drink yet. So I know we're a long ways from being out of the woods. When he came in, he was limp in Chris' arms and since then, we've actually got him to bleat at us a few times and hold his head up. He'll turn his head to Chris' voice at some points. But it obviously takes a lot out of him and he curls back up and falls asleep again.

I don't know if he'll make it through the night or not at this point.

Most of the info I can find online talks about newborn kids getting hypothermia. Linus is nearly six months old. I read on one source we shouldn't be trying to force any food or liquids into him orally because...
when the temperature of the goat falls dangerously low for whatever reason(s), various internal organs begin to shut down as well - the rumen included. Therefore, it is never a good idea to try and orally stimulate a goat with food or liquid. Doing so can create equally dangerous (and often fatal) conditions by contributing to harmful bacteria build up within the digestive system itself. Always ensure that the goats temperature is within the normal limits before providing food or liquid orally. Any stimulation given to a goat suffering hypothermia should be administered intravenously.

I tried to shoot about 1tsp of molasses into his mouth when he first came through the door hoping that the sugar would help perk him back up and give him some energy. It obviously wasn't the right thing to do, but I'm not too worried about it because he seemed to let most of it run out the other side of his mouth anyways.
Right now, we have him in the kitchen in the big metal dog cage with the heater still going beside him, and blankets wrapped around him. He's twitching and shivering a bit. But I see that as a good sign, as his body is starting to try and generate it's own heat again. His breathing also seems to be deeper and steadier.

I wasn't expecting a half grown goat to experience hypothermia. I'm struggling if I should take advice meant for newborn kids that suffer hypothermia, or treat him like an adult goat. With him being right in the middle I'm not totally sure what to do?!?!

I read one article that suggested injecting them with a saline solution to ward off dehydration. I'm hesitant, because I can't find any other sources that suggest the same. So if he's still to weak to drink tomorrow, I'll probably have no choice. I need to ensure he gets his fluids somehow, but for tonight, I'm hoping he drank enough today to survive without more fluids for a bit.

So for now, cross your fingers that he makes it through the night.

1 comment:

  1. Poor Linus! I hope he makes it. Keep us posted on his progress.