Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Some decisions just suck

As much as I love my homesteading lifestyle, there are times when it just sucks. Now is one of those times.

Last week, our intern told me that Sadie was crying out when she was peeing. I went to the barn and watched her, and within a couple of minutes, she was squatting and screaming, and only a few drops of pee came out. I was puzzled as I have never heard of a doe having a urinary stone. Then life interrupted, and I forgot about her until the next day.

I called the University of Illinois veterinary clinic, and of course they suggested I bring her in, which I did. They ran a lot of urine and blood tests, which all came back normal, which meant she did not have an infection. She also did not have a fever. The interesting thing is that whenever anyone put pressure on her bladder -- whether under her belly or on her sides -- pee would squirt out of her like a water hose on high! They did an ultrasound, which showed an abnormal uterus, and Sadie had given birth five weeks earlier. They hypothesized about the contents of the uterus, and I learned a lot listening to their brainstorming. But they said we could learn more about the contents of the uterus by doing a CT scan. It would be about $450, and our bill was already up to a couple hundred. Even though the solution might lie in a hysterectomy, which would mean she could never have kids again, I agreed to do the test.

It showed that Sadie's uterus was filled with fluid. They're fairly sure that it's not pus because of the color, so it's probably blood or some other type of fluid. There are only two ways to get the fluid out. One is to give her a shot of prostaglandin, which should hopefully cause her to go into heat, which would open her cervix so it could drain. The other way to drain her uterus is surgically -- make a small incision and suction it out. However, will it fill up again?

I opted for the prostaglandin, and they gave her an injection on Saturday. As of Monday, she had not come into heat, so they gave her another injection at a higher dose. As of Tuesday afternoon, she had not come into heat, so they're planning to give her another injection today on Wednesday. But they said we should probably start thinking about surgical options. Other than draining her uterus, which may not work long term, a complete hysterectomy is the best way to eliminate the problem.

But then I'll have a dairy goat who can never get pregnant again. So, we could milk her until she dried up from this lactation, and then she would be worthless as a dairy goat. The bill is already up to $1100. Surgery would be another few hundred.

This is when you realize that being a grown up is not as awesome as you thought it was going to be when you were 12. This is when you wish that you had enough money that a couple thousand dollars didn't mean anything to you. This is when life sucks.

I want Sadie to be able to pee on her own, and to come home, and to continue nursing her three beautiful doelings that have already grown so big and strong during their first five weeks on their mama's milk. We've been trying to feed them milk from the other does with a bottle, and some feedings go better than others. Sometimes they seem to get it, and sometimes they have no clue. They're only getting about 50 percent as much as they should every day. Even though they're eating hay and grain, their immune systems are still very immature, and with the stress of losing their mama, I'm very concerned that I'll soon be seeing poopy butts caused by coccidiosis.

What if we pay for the surgery, but when Sadie comes home, she no longer remembers her kids and won't let them nurse? What if the stress of all this causes her milk to dry up? Or, what if she dies in spite of the surgery -- or because of it?

I suck as a business person. A good business person would have said to euthanize last week as soon as this became complicated. A good business person doesn't lose site of the bottom line. But I am clearly not a good business person. The bill is sitting at $1100 now, and I still can't give up on her, at least not today. She is still at the vet hospital, and I'm still hopeful that another shot of prostaglandin will do the trick. But what will I do if the prostaglandin doesn't work? I know what a good business person would do. I know what my heart wants me to do. But I honestly don't know what I will do.


Joe said...

Really difficult spot Deborah. When I hear "good business person", I picture someone who uses antibiotics, low quality feed, and generally values profit over quality of life (both yours as well as the animals). I can't imagine even dreaming of euthanizing a mama when her kids are that young. You have made some kind and compassionate decisions, and it really sucks that it costs so much. Good luck guys.

Wendy said...

My heart goes out to you for the dilemma that you're facing. If you're not a good business person, then neither am I. But I've known that I'm not from them beginning. Whatever decisions you make, make them from the heart. It'll be worth it in the long run. Prayers.

Glenna said...

There are some decisions that cannot be made from a business standpoint. Sadie is very much in my heart and prayers. I wish the best for both of you (and her babies). Let your heart guide you tempered with a bit of reality. Perhaps one more shot will do the trick.

HeatherDawn said...

Thinking of you and Sadie. Hoping for the best! Hugs!

HeatherDawn said...

Thinking of you and Sadie. Hoping for the best! Hugs!

Walter Jeffries said...

Many won't like my solution but as a herdsman I would cull. I cull hard. I cull often. I cull wide. If an animal can't thrive and produce copious viable offspring then I cull them to meat. Every week some go to butcher. I'm always culling so that I can breed the best of the best and eat the rest. It's how I improve my herd genetics over time. This is the lesson Mother Nature teaches. She's a harsh mistress but she's right.

Holly said...

I am with Walter Jeffries. I was in your shoes just last year but I remembered what an American Dairy Goat linear appraisal judge told me. You can have one goat kept because of shear emotions, but only one if you have to. He cautioned, the rest of the herd you must be willing to cull and cull hard. In livestock, poor quality brings its own set of problems. I had wanted Jujubee for four years and finally the owner agreed to sell her to me. She score 90,(100 being perfect), as a seven year old - pretty awesome. She also had a wonderful personality and was great to milk. I wanted just a few does out of her before she was too old. A fluke accident happened, she messed up her hip badly when she was bred with our buck the first fall.I picked up some medication at the vets and worked with her for a week. Costly surgery and CT scans were not in the budget having just moved and for what, a doe that could not have kids and give me milk in the future. My goats are loved but I have to be practical. After a week I figured I had put her through enough hell and my husband put her down. I've dealt with hip issues on a few animals but I could tell she was messed up bad. Bottom line, I do not have room or the money for a goat who can not milk or produce babies.


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