On a Cold Winters Day

It’s a cold, cold morning here, and the weather kind of fits how I am feeling inside right now. My sweet Miley, our doe with Listeriosis, lost the battle yesterday and my heart is broken. Some people may never know how much an animals spirit can bond with their own. But I am not one of those people. Luckily, the losses around here are very infrequent and rare.

Night before last Miley kept me awake all night long. She just could not get comfortable and she was obviously miserable. I had hoped so much that the paralyzing effects of this insidious bacterium would resolve with treatment. But it only got worse. It was around midnight that I felt her not wanting to be here anymore. It was too much for her and I made the decision to call the vet early that morning. He was able to come yesterday and agreed with me that we had done all that was possible and she was ready to be free. And we let her leave this world as gently as possible.

I have spent the last two days crying. This is only the second doe I have ever lost in 10 years of raising goats. I might not have felt so bad if Miley was old, but she was only 8, and my favorite goat to milk, ever. She had a soft and quiet voice and absolutely never stood at the gate screaming like some of the other goats do. I still have Miley’s mother and daughter, and her two buck kids from this year. Everyone else in the herd so far remains perfectly healthy.

In consulting with my vet, we were trying to pinpoint possible places where she could have picked up enough of the bacteria to make her so ill. Listeria, as I have learned, is everywhere, even inside of an animals mouth, and in humans too. It is when they are allowed access, my vet feels, through a possible cut in the mouth, such as from a thorn or hay that is too course, that they get into the blood stream and then into the brain.

I am taking her for necropsy today, hoping to learn something that may help prevent this in the future.

On a brighter note, Cherry is expecting kids soon! She was due yesterday, but my girls usually go over a couple of days. She is huge though, so I am thinking there are possibly three in there. Thankfully, she was happily chewing cud this morning with no signs of kidding today, which means I can get necessary things done this morning without worrying about her kidding in the freezing weather, unassisted….If I am lucky, she will hold off until tomorrow so I can be here all day.

I am looking forward to the early spring as predicted by Punxsutawney Phil, Weather Prophet Extraordinary. I hope he wasn’t joking!

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