Wesson with Ryder, in the middle, & Sandman, on the right.
Wesson stretching it out to get the best ones.
Wesson & Rocky playing around
Wesson & Sandman
A special thanks to Sam Boba, overseer of The Goat Care Unit on Facebook, Deb, The Goat Lady, overseer of Med-A-Goat911 on Facebook, & Linda Suit, Wesson's official Fairy Goat Mother. Each one played an important part in helping me with Wesson.
Sam was great at helping me diagnose Wesson over the phone while he was taking care of his own goats. He is a wonderful person of knowledge & I appreciate his help.
Deb, The Goat Lady, let me know that he had a chance. Don't give up, he had a chance. I'm so glad I met her and without knowing me or Wesson, she had the right things to say, when I needed to hear it.
Linda, you are amazing! You have a heart of pure gold & always willing to help. You took time out of your life every day for me, a total stranger with a very sick goat, & now I consider you a dear friend. I wish you & I lived closer as I will never be able to repay you, but I owe you greatly. Thank you from the bottom of me & my family's heart.
Wesson May 2015
As the days went by, we were able to get him outside in the backyard so he could get some sunlight and fresh air. We used pallets to prop him up and left a leaf of hay by him just in case he wanted to try to eat. Some days he enjoyed watching the others from the backyard other days he tried to crawl around the backyard away from the pallets. He never made it further than 6-8 feet, but I know he felt like he had accomplished something. Wesson also started making noises again even though the right side of his face, mouth, & eye on right was paralyzed. He also started trying to eat hay, which I think it was because he was sick of turnip green baby food & started to drink water on his own if you had the container at the right height. I was so afraid he was going to come all this way and then drown in his water bowl, so he had water from a container mainly when we could hold it for him and by syringe after the turnip green baby food. He couldn't get up without assistance, but I knew with him crawling around the backyard that it would be a matter of time before he would be out of the kiddy pool and scooting across the floor. We needed to move him out of the house.
When we had chickens, we had a small barn made out of pallets in the backyard that was just sitting empty. So that became the Bachelor Pad. We loaded it up with hay, a heat lamp, endless supply of hay leafs, & water at his height. Even had a small fenced in yard that is about 6' x 6' in size. PERFECT!!!! Wesson was still close enough that I could go out & check on him, give him shots, and make sure he was warm. It was great! After we got Wesson moved into the Bachelor Pad, he was up with our help mainly to the fenced in yard but he seemed to be happy there. The girls pasture shared the fence so they would come up to the fenced in yard and talk to him and lay down and sun with him. Soon he was stronger and able to get up and down without our help, not very sure footed as he would tip over some, but still progress. Once I felt he was strong enough I would let him go with me on the weekend to do chores in the girls pasture; that way I could keep an eye on him and them. Then when we were sure everything should be okay, we started letting him go into the pasture with the girls as since he was still slow moving, he wasn't interested in the fact that they were girls. I was afraid to put him into the pasture with the other boys as he couldn't head butt & I didn't want him to get hurt.
This went on for alittle over a month; shots before I went to work by spotlight, fresh hay and water, & then with the girls until I got home; then back to the Bachelor Pad. One morning, while examining Wesson's mouth, he closed his eye. This was the eye that he hadn't closed for over two months. I was absolutely over the moon!!! He was still holding hay in-between his cheek and teeth on that side, but that was okay, I knew then he would be okay. I also knew in a short amount of time, he could be put back in to the pasture with the other boys without an issue. Finally, the light at the end of the tunnel!
That weekend we put him in with the other boys. They were so glad to see each other and they romped slowly & head-butted gently without any problems. Wesson even followed Rocky up to the roof of their house to sun. Rocky was so happy to see Wesson, as this was his buddy and he missed him. I think Rocky realized Wesson wasn't back to normal, so he took it easy on him and played nicely. I felt like a proud goat-momma & I knew he was going to be fine.
These days Wesson is one of seven bucks that we have; Wesson & Rocky are the only two that are grown, so both of them are busy teaching the others how to play, head-butt, & what part of the pen is off limits and when they can be on the spool and when they can go on their house to sun. Wesson still calls for me when he hears my voice outside and I'm happy to go out to the pen and love on him everyday. He is as gentle as a newborn kitten and loves his scratches behind his ears and hugs. Wesson still moves a little slower than the others, occasionally has a strand of hay stuck in his mouth, but he's still my special boy & I love him! I can't wait to see what comes in the future for Wesson. If he sires any kids, well that's just fine; if he doesn't, he still has a place here at our farm as he taught me an important lesson....never give up. No matter what, never give up.
Along the way, I found thru Facebook, Wesson's now fairy goatmother, Linda Suit, & Debbie the goatlady. Both of them gave me a lot of support as not to give up & try everything.
Debbie told me how she had several goats go thru this at one time and was only able to save half, so I knew she understood what I was going thru.
Linda was a wonderful cheerleader & always had the right words to say when I needed to hear them. Both of them were happy to see such progress & it made me feel like we could get thru this even if I didn't see the light at the end of the tunnel yet.
As the days pasted, Wesson continued to decline. Most of my family and most of my friends thought it would be best to put Wesson down and out of his misery that it couldn't be good for him to be curled up in the kiddy pool getting shots several times a day. A friend of mine, Yvette, & I were talking about cows & when they get sick, you have to do everything that you can to get them up on their feet or they'll die from pneumonia. This gave me the idea that I had to get Mike to build some sort of swing to get him up but I wasn't sure how to describe what I was thinking. As these days were passing, Mike was doing as much research he could as what we could do for nutrition; Wesson could only take liquid by syringe in one side of his mouth. His mouth was acting as if it was paralyzed so we couldn't get it open very far to get a tube in him & when we did, I wasn't sure on placement since he was in a ball. We gave him 60cc of electrolytes as often as we could, but we knew he needed something more. Then Mike realized that we could blend up turnip greens with electrolytes and that would make a slush that we could feed him thru a syringe. The article that he found stated that turnip greens are high in thiamine which is what we needed. So Wesson got turnip green slush as often as we could get it in him.
After that, Mike's next project was making something we could use to suspend Wesson by pulleys. Mike made something out of saw horses with extended legs and straps that are used to keep saddles on horses. After we tested it, we used it to suspend him over his pool. It was good to see our boy up, even if it was by come-alongs. Also gave my a chance to clean the pool completely and check Wesson for any skin breakdown. Even though he's on puppy pads, his urine is really concentrated & a skin breakdown could be possible. No skin breakdowns, yah!!!
As the days went by, we continued our injections of Thiamine & Penicillin, syringe feedings of turnip puree and electrolytes by syringe, & standing by his own swing set. Wesson wasn't getting any worse, but not better. Then one afternoon after work, I had Wesson in his swing for about 30 minutes & it was time for his turnips. When I put the pulleys down, Wesson continued to stand, and stand, and stand. He stood by himself for about 45 minutes. I was so happy I was almost in tears.
I had a plastic ice cream bucket under his chin to keep his head up so he could see what was going on around him. As the night went on, I discovered that his mouth didn't work nor could he close his right eye. I knew that he was extremely sick & chances were he wasn't going to make it. Allie kept telling me that we had to try & we had to let the medicine work. I started a post on Facebook with The Goat Care Unit, the group Sam moderates, so I could reach out to others for guidance & support.
As many farms know, the Winter of 2014 was very unpredictable in it's temperatures and moisture. In the process of trying to prepare my boys for a three day stretch of below freezing (yes, here in Florida), we move our boys to a pen that had heat lamps and could be seen from our backyard.
On Thursday afternoon, Allie told me that when she went out to check on everyone. She told me that Wesson was in the exact same place as he was that morning. After I went out to see him, he got up and came to me and walked around the pasture. Acted completely normal. Allie & I decided that he was in a corner with the heat lamp on him & was probably just nice & warm; but we were going to keep an eye on him just in case.
On Friday, Mike & the girls kept an eye on him while I was at work. He still liked that spot, but would get up if someone came out there to see him. Friday afternoon, I went out and walked around the pen with him before feeding everyone. It was already in the 30's and was suppose to get even colder, so we gave them more grain than normal.
Saturday morning I was out to the pasture to check on everyone first thing and Wesson was acting as if he wasn't feeling well, so I checked his temperature. He was low, so I knew I had to get his temp up but I couldn't bring him inside as he & the dogs don't like to share space. So I got blankets and a heat lamp and we cuddled under the heat lamp all day. I got his temp up to normal, gave him JumpStart before dark, & he was back in his corner with two heat lamps for the night of below freezing temps.
Sunday morning, out to the pasture to check on him & Wesson was up & walking around like normal. Then, the longer I was out there the more I noticed that he was walking in circles. I knew that this wasn't normal, but didn't know what it meant. After returning him to a shelter with heat lamps separate from everyone & some fast research, I made a call to a friend, Sam, who told me what I was afraid of, he either had polio or listeriosis. Both were bad, but the second was the worst. At Sam's instruction, I called the vet for Thiamine & Penicillin. As soon as I had it, I started with doses every 6 hours, around the clock. I also moved him into the my mudroom at dark as I was afraid he wouldn't stay warm enough during the night. To move him, I had to load him into a wheelbarrow & carry him into the house because he couldn't walk & was curled into a ball. Wesson was walking 8 hours prior & now he wasn't, I was so scared for him. Luckily we had a plastic kiddy pool which I lined with puppy pads and that was going to be Wesson's home for now.
Wesson, pictured to the left, was 5 months old in this picture. He was exploring the new home that his Daddy was in process of making for him. Since then, Wesson has grown up to be a very beautiful boy that we have always hoped would be a great sire to our herd.
As with all stories, it's best to start at the beginning. Wesson was born on our farm late one night in June 2013; he & his brother were our first bottle babies that resided in our laundry room. Smith, Wesson's brother, didn't make it as he was the first case of cocci that we had on our farm and we let the vet take care of him. After we lost Smith, Wesson became even more dearer to us and we even spoiled him slightly.