We spent yesterday tending to our Lilly Goat, Lilly, Lilly Love Bug, Lilly-Wa, she answers to a lot of different names of affection. The vet came in the early afternoon, and we were relieved to have Lilly seen. Dr. Zenella ruled out listeria, which is a huge relief. Our little sick goat, Flora, suffered through listeria and lived to tell about it. That was several years ago, and to this day, her health is not 100%. It was a terrible disease, and it broke our hearts to see her suffer the symptoms. It was a tremendous amount of time, care, and effort to nurse her through, so we were relieved it was not listeria.
The good doctor believes that Lil suffers from the dreaded brain worm or meningeal worm. Meningeal worm or brain worm is caused by a parasite that deer carry. This parasite is passed in the manure and picked up by an intermediate host of snails and slugs. Goats pick up the parasite when they eat tiny snails or slugs on pasture grasses. Although our pastures have been deer-free for years, there is no way to monitor or deter slugs and snails. With our limited knowledge, we initially ruled out the brain worm because it is winter. However, Dr. Zenella told us winter is the optimal time for brain worm to appear because the parasite could enter the goat’s system in the fall and move its way through the body, and manifest symptoms in winter when the goat’s system is strained due to cold temperatures. That right there is one more reason not to like winter.
The doctor told us we caught the symptoms early, and she is confident Lilly will make a full recovery. She prescribed a very strong dewormer to kill the nasty parasite, steroids to alleviate swelling in the spinal cord, and thiamine to help balance her rumen. I’m sure Lilly feels a bit like a pincushion with all these shots. She is not her usual attention-seeking self when she sees us coming. In fact, she rather dreads seeing us and tries to make herself scarce. It is going to be a full week of treatment and a long week for poor Lil.
We went out at bedtime to give her a second dose of steroids, and she was resting comfortably off by herself. Not even her kids want to be with her. After receiving her shot, the other goats crowded around to see her and get scratches from us. Lilly promptly took to pushing, biting ears, and making deep, guttural scary noises. This sent everyone scrambling except little Merribelle, who is an incorrigible pest. Maribelle’s ears were nipped and chewed on, and for good measure, Lilly bit her tail as she was running away. Lil definitely is not the most accommodating or pleasant patient. The Bean informed me I have been acting like Lilly the past few weeks. Sigh. I promptly pinched her ear and then her squirming little butt as she scrambled away from me, laughing. I understand entirely how Lil feels.
This morning, Lil was not any worse. She may be a bit better, but it’s not a vast improvement. The good thing is she is still eating, making water, and her feces are normal. Caring for animals is a lot like caring for babies. I never thought I would be so concerned with bodily functions until we got Jordan. I still have the notebook where I recorded what Jordan ate, how much she ate when she defecated and urinated, and how much with dates and descriptions. I was either the pediatrician’s dream or nightmare. I did this her entire first year until the doctor told me it was safe to stop monitoring her so closely. I told you I was diligent about caring for things I love.
With time, medicine, and care, our beloved Lilly-Wa is going to be just fine. I asked the doctor for extra medication to keep on hand if any other goats show the same affliction. A quote from The Bibbed Wonder best sums up my motto: it’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. Please keep Lil in your thoughts as it will be a long week for her.
As always, dear reader, stay safe, be smart, be diligent, and keep washing your hands.