Onion Creek Ranch, Lohn, Texas
Suzanne W. Gasparotto, Onion Creek Ranch, Lohn, TX
Lohn, Texas
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BRAIN ABSCESSES

A five month old buckling developed symptoms of what appeared to be pneumonia. A recent dramatic change in weather from hot to cold and back to hot again sometimes results in pneumonia in recently-weaned kids. I brought him to a pen at the Vet Building and medicated him with Banamine until his high fever subsided and with the antibiotic Nuflor Gold for five consecutive days. He never went off feed even though he initially had high fever. I was encouraged that he would make a full recovery.

About two days after the completion of the pneumonia treatment regimen, he began to have a lop-sided gait and trouble with his balance. His fever returned. His appetite decreased. Occasionally he cried out in apparent pain. This was a very odd cry. The symptoms didn't all fit, but I decided to treat him for Goat Polio/Listeriosis. I use the same thiamine/procaine penicillin/dexamethasone treatment for both diseases. He was not responding favorably, so after 36 hours of treatment, I decided to call my veterinarian.

My vet said it sounded like a brain abscess. He was seeing similar symptoms in goats in the fall of 2014. Apparently something in our changed weather patterns had brought forth the bacteria that causes brain abscesses and some goats had gotten infected. A treatment regimen of Nuflor, Excenel RTU, and Thiamine (Vitamin B1) was prescribed.

Two days into this five-day treatment, the kid was getting worse. He was miserable. He was getting injections three times a day but showing zero improvement. He was in fact deteriorating and nothing I did stabilized his condition. Experience had taught me that if he did get better, his non-typical symptoms would likely recur and one day I'd find him dead in the pasture. I was certain that he was not going to be the hardy breeding stock for which I am known. I began to consider euthanization. I called a close friend and shared my frustration as well as guilt for thinking about putting him down . I don't like giving up, and I didn't want the primary reason for killing this kid to be my exasperation with his illness. I try to do everything within reason to save a goat (especially a kid) before giving up on it, but this lack of response to treatment was getting to me. I stopped all medications so I could evaluate its impact.

In a short period of time, he was on his side, eyes closed, occasionally moving a leg, and not making a sound. Usually a goat in that condition is paddling and moaning. Not this kid. His neurological system was apparently so damaged that he wasn't aware of his surroundings. He was almost comatose. I decided to follow the old rancher's advice that "you can't do live stock if you can't do dead stock." I put a bullet into his brain.

The right thing is often the hardest thing to do. That's why so few people do it. I did the right thing for the kid and for the health of the entire herd. In a managed environment, when Nature cannot cull, we have to do it ourselves.

Suzanne W. Gasparotto, Onion Creek Ranch, Lohn, Texas 10-5-14

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All information provided in these articles is based either on personal experience or information provided by others whose treatments and practices have been discussed fully with a vet for accuracy and effectiveness before passing them on to readers.

In all cases, it is your responsibility to obtain veterinary services and advice before using any of the information provided in these articles. Suzanne Gasparotto is not a veterinarian.Neither tennesseemeatgoats.com nor any of the contributors to this website will be held responsible for the use of any information contained herein.

The author, Suzanne Gasparotto, hereby grants to local goat publications and club newsletters, permission to reprint articles published on the Onion Creek Ranch website under these conditions: THE ARTICLE MUST BE REPRODUCED IN ITS ENTIRETY AND THE AUTHOR'S NAME, ADDRESS, AND CONTACT INFORMATION MUST BE INCLUDED AT THE BEGINNING OF THE REPRINT. We would appreciate notification from any clubs or publications when the articles are used. (A copy of the newsletter or publication would also be a welcome addition to our growing library of goat related information!)

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