Monday, February 22, 2010
Anne kidded Saturday night, but I'm afraid her story will have to wait, because Wilbur Wright, the yearling Shetland ram, had a little accident. This morning when Katherine was doing chores, I saw her out there chasing the little ram. I had no idea why he was in the wrong pasture, and after half an hour, I stuck my head out the window and yelled at her to stop chasing him and just finish her chores.
When she came inside, I asked her what was up with Wilbur, and she said it looked like he'd been attacked, and she took him out of his pen to check his leg, then he got away from her. I told her I'd help her catch him, but she scoffed that if she couldn't catch him, it was an impossible task, and my assistance would be of no use.
When I went outside to check on Coco, the only doe due to kid this week, I saw smoke coming from the walnut grove. I walked out to the pasture to see what was happening and noticed that our new neighbors were having a cook-out. They must really be excited about their new property, because this is not cook-out weather. It's in the mid-30s, which means all the snow is disgustingly slushy, sloppy, and muddy. Anyway, when I was heading back to the barn, I saw Wilbur in the little goat shelter. It has a 10-foot opening, and he easily slipped out. I knew I couldn't catch him by myself, but I had a plan.
I came inside and told Katherine that we could give him a little time to hopefully return to the shelter, and with two of us, we could trap him in there. I told Katherine that we'd have to outsmart him since we couldn't outrun him. Unfortunately, he realized the error of going into the shelter and did not return, so Katherine and I used the goats to sneak up on him. Okay, we didn't exactly use the goats. The la manchas are just so darn friendly that they heel like dogs, and they were stuck to us like glue when we headed out there. Between them and us, we were able to corner Wilbur and grab him. And Katherine admitted that this old lady was helpful in catching the ram.
When we realized how much fight the little guy had in him, it was hard to believe he was injured very badly, but we knew it was important to get him into the barn and check it out. I held his front end, and Katherine held his back end, as we walked him to the barn together. I was able to hook his horn behind my arm and stabilize him, but she definitely had the more challenging half, as he wouldn't stop kicking, which is why two of us had to carry him together. He weighs less than a 50-pound feed bag, but feed bags don't kick and throw around a pair of sharp horns like he does! We took him into an empty stall and stood him on top of an electrical spool that is a goat climbing toy. It's painted white, and that's when we realized just how badly he was injured. A big drop of blood was falling every second, perhaps faster.
Since we don't have hot water in the big barn, Katherine carried him to the little barn, so we could properly wash his leg. That was not fun. I kept worrying about him hurting Katherine with his horns, because they haven't started to spiral much, and the way he was thrashing, he could have easily stabbed her. There is a white cord hanging from the injury, which I think is a tendon, but apparently it's not a very important tendon, because he can still walk.
Before leaving the big barn, I had grabbed the VetWrap and non-stick wound dressing from the first aid supplies. As soon as I washed his leg, I wrapped two of the non-stick pads around the wound and wrapped it snuggly with the VetWrap, which I might add is eight years old. I bought it when we first moved out here, and I'm glad to report that it still works. It still sticks to itself! I had to chuckle at myself, since I had one roll each of pink and blue wrap. Yeah, I would have done that eight years ago. Since the blue one was already open, though, that's the one I used.
Considering how fast the wound was dripping blood, I was really worried that it would bleed through the bandage in about five minutes, but even after a few hours, there wasn't any blood seeping through, so hopefully the pressure of the bandage has stopped the bleeding. I will re-dress it tonight. I also gave him a shot of antibiotics, which was challenging since he is in full fleece, and his fiber is as long as my hand.
As far as what happened to him, my best guess is that the freezing and thawing of the ground caused their shelter to heave up enough that he was able to slip his hind leg under the metal siding when he laid down. When he went to stand, his leg got caught and cut on the metal.
Katherine now has her coat and blue jeans soaking. That was the other disadvantage of holding his back end -- he bled all over her. Somehow I managed to avoid getting blood on me, even when I was cleaning and washing his wound.
I called the vet today because Trouper is still peeing blood, and for the past four days, he's been incontinent. The vet said it can take a week or two for a dog's insides to heal after being hit by a car, and he suggested I check Trouper's gums to see if they're pink or white, which would be a sign of anemia. His gums did look really pale, so I checked his eyelid, which is a more accurate way to check goats and sheep for anemia, and they were a darker pink color. The vet didn't seem to think that dripping bloody urine when walking or spewing bloody urine when sitting was terribly surprising either. Trouper is still happy and eating and drinking, so we'll keep hanging in there, waiting for him to heal up completely.