The Summer of Medical Emergencies

I don't know about y'all, but here at Solace Farm, medical situations only seem to happen at the most inopportune times.  Yesterday - Saturday, of course - we had 2!  And they are hopefully the last in a long string of them this whole summer.  

I should preface all this with the fact that, in terms of non-routine medical care, we've had a vet out to the farm once for a cow with mastitis and once for one with a retained placenta (we've since learned we don't need to bother for that), 8 years ago took a cat to the vet with what turned out to be Round-Up poisoning, and 7 years ago took our dog Kaylee in for Lyme's disease.  I sliced my finger pretty good with a scythe 6 years back but no stitches (on my insistence), and Liam has had stitches once from jumping on the bed into the windowsill.  We sewed him up in the bathroom.   Malachi tore the end of his thumb off, and we just had to wait for it to grow back in.  That's it for vet or doctor emergencies.

As far as I remember, this summer it started with our rash of goat deaths - we lost 5 does to what we and the vet believe, after an autopsy and research, was black locust poisoning.  Almost at the same time, we lost one other goat doe to getting hung in a tree, and had a calf disappear, never to be seen again, on the same day.  

Mid-summer, Hugh the alpaca got the staggers - but we treated that successfully.  Then, just recently Dolly choked, got better, and then died with little apparent reason, and a couple of days later I found her cria Willie's horrible hole-in-the-side (totally healed now, by the way - can't even see it!) and had to take him to the vet.  

In September, on the day a WWOOFer arrived, our dog Kaylee trotted up, with a bit of blood on her leg.  I looked closer, and she had somehow torn an 1.5" gash in her armpit.  I basically showed the WWOOFer the house and her camper, and headed off to the vet to get her sewed up.  I would have loved to just get Caleb to do it, but she had to be sedated for something like that.  

A couple weeks later the WWOOFer tried to break up a dogfight and got a pretty good slice on her leg - of course on a Sunday evening.  Thankfully, she was comfortable with Caleb fixing it rather than an emergency room visit on a weekend, so he sewed her up here on the porch.  

The latest (and hopefully final) installment:  Saturday morning, we did our usual routine - I milked, Caleb fed the alpacas and sheep, and then went off to move the cows.  Afterwards, he said that Reba was staggering and we armed up to go treat her for the usual - thiamine deficiency/meningeal worms.  It turned out to not be Reba (thank goodness, she's the mother of the other surviving cria!) but instead to be Hugh, who we had already successfully treated earlier this summer.  We dosed him up with everything - Safeguard wormer, banamine, thiamine, B12, and selenium - and then as he walked away I realized he appeared to be wearing a pannier on his right thigh.  We quickly snagged him again, and checked - sure enough, his whole thigh is swollen to at least twice what it should be.  He's putting some weight on it, so it doesn't seem to be broken, but otherwise we don't know what it is.  We gave them all shots last weekend of preventative wormer and thiamine, so it's possible he either got infected, or has a huge hematoma, from the injection. We gave him yet one more shot, of penicillin, and we'll repeat that on Monday.  If it's not looking better by then, we'll probably have to get the vet out.  Fortunately, nothing we gave him unnecessarily should be a problem, most of it is just supplemental boosting, and really the banamine should help with the pain and swelling.  

And wait, we're not done!  Saturday evening, our dog Whitney showed up rather bloody about the head and shoulders.  This isn't that unusual, after all the dogs' job is to discourage other animals from visiting our farm, and they're good at their job.  Often, it's not their blood, and even more often they aren't wounded themselves.  

Sidebar: a few weeks ago, we all went on a walk and the dogs started trailing something.  They all went into a blackberry thicket, it exploded in snarling and shrieking, something obviously died - and then they all came out quite happy and unscathed, and trotted along with us again.  We guessed it was a 'possum or raccoon, but never saw it.  As I said, they're good at their job :)  

Anyway, Saturday - as I was just getting into cooking dinner, Caleb examined Whitney a bit closer just to be sure - and she had a gash on her sternum that made her mom Kaylee's look like a papercut.  This one was at least 2", probably more, and right on that ridge on her chest, so that it just peeled back into a flap.  Since it was, of course, a weekend evening our options were the emergency vet clinic in Chattanooga or do it ourselves.  Yippee!  So - we strapped Whitney up with a "muzzle" of webbing straps, sat on her, and fought enough lidocaine into her and bits of debris out of her that she actually laid pretty still for the stitches.  She looks fine today - we were worried she'd just lick and worry the stiches right out so we smeared a special ointment with anti-licking properties around the wound - AKA sriracha sauce :) - and she hasn't bothered them yet.  We didn't think of it until we'd released her, but when we check the stitches later we'll dab on some of the Scarlet Oil that was so successful on Willie's wound.  

I really hope we can make it until spring without any more stitches, deathes, or medical emergencies that I haven't even thought of...

Comments

holy cow!

Goodness, I heard about some of these, but it does make an impressive list! Tickled about the siracha sauce--thai food tonight and several of my dining companions enjoyed eating it!

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