Saturday, December 10, 2011

When Things Go Wrong

This post was written Thursday morning before I knew my Dad was not feeling well (and it was interesting timing as you'll probably see through some of what is written here!), and I didn't have time to get it posted until now . . . .

With living on a farm, one thing that is quickly learned is that things don't go perfectly smoothly without any problems (isn't that pretty much how all of life is, though? :) . . . crops fail, bugs destroy
produce, equipment breaks, animals get sick, injured or die. Difficulties arise that need to be figured out and taken care of. And there are so many opportunities to learn and grow . . . to cultivate and practice having a heart of joy at all times and trusting in the Lord no matter how many times 'bad' things happen. Even if they come in quick succession which seems to be the story of our past year. I am thankful, though, that the Lord uses these bumps in the road to grow us, and it has almost become something we smile about now when yet *another* thing arises!

So the beginning of last week when our goat Sadie went down (as in, she couldn't walk or stand at all), while it was quite hard to see her like that, we worked together to care for her, and to try to
figure out what was going on and how to fix it . . . researching online, e-mailing the breeder that we got her from (who has been raising hundreds of Boer goats for years), posting on a goat forum . . . and we narrowed it down to only three possibilities. All lead to death if not treated, and the third could lead to death or permanent paralysis even with treatment. We were really hoping it wasn't the latter!

Sadie's living quarters right now . . . Dad had built this wooden 'crate' for putting in the back of the truck to haul goats in. Now it's inside the hoop house for Sadie to stay in until she's well, or until it's time to move her to the barn when it's her kidding time.

First was treating for low calcium which can come up in late pregnancy . . . treatment for that is one dose of calcium given through five different shots followed by another round later. (Leah has become very good at giving shots now!) If this was it, improvement should be seen within 24 hours . . . 24 hours passed, and she was still down.

We also tested her for option number two, Ketosis (pregnancy toxemia), which was negative.

It looked like, then, that the worst case scenario was what she had . . . meningeal deer worms. I had never even heard of these before, and now I know more than I would have liked to. They are transfer
red by snails and slugs, and when a goat gets them, they enter the spinal column and travel to the central nervous system. This causes the paralysis in the back legs which eventually spreads to the front and then to the death of the goat. And even if the worms are killed through treatment, the damage they caused is most times permanent.

With our goat Sadie, her front legs didn't seem to be affected much at all yet, one of her hind legs wasn't too bad as she could still put a little bit of weight on it and she could move it. The other, however, was completely limp (including the muscles themselves) which is what made it so that she couldn't stand up at all.

The treatment for this is three and four rounds of very heavy doses of two different wormers and then a heavy dose of an injectable anti-inflammatory. These can cause complications with pregnancy (including loss of kids), but at this point, we were willing to risk the kids in hopes of saving Sadie and hopefully the kids as well.

Comfortable and cozy on her bed of hay

We began the treatment four days ago and are also giving Sadie's legs a thorough rubbing a couple of times a day to help keep them from atrophying. We are also using a sheet underneath her belly to hoist her up once a day so that she can stand for a bit, and then so we can rub her hind legs even more thoroughly.

And yesterday we saw the tiniest glimmer of improvement . . . Leah and I had gotten the sheet underneath of her and lifted her up while Dad pulled up on her horns to get her front end up so that she was standing. While Leah and I held her up (which is a job since she is around 200 lbs right now!), Dad rubb
ed and rubbed both of her back legs. She was putting a bit of weight on the better of her hind legs and her front legs were stronger and more stable as well which we were glad to see.

While she stood, Dad was
really working the limp leg, and as he was pushing it up and pulling it down, he felt the slightest bit of resistance . . . not much, but there was something! And unlike other 'exercise times', Sadie seemed a bit sensitive to the movement which means that she just might be starting to get some feeling back in the leg! It certainly isn't much progress, but it is something which is more than what we thought she would have.

Then later in the day when I was massaging her limp leg, she actually pulled it just a bit away from me. Progress again! The muscles are also starting to feel like there is a bit of firmness to them instead of being 'mushy'. Who knows how far she will be able to progress in her recovery, but every little bit is most welcome.

So that's one little adventure that we have been dealing with lately. And why, as mentioned in a post earlier this week, chores are taking a lot longer now! In the midst of dealing with this, though, there were things of encouragement . . . like being able to feel Chloe's babies moving all around inside of her. And then twice this week, Dad has felt Sadie's babies moving as well! That was really encouraging as with all of her falls, treatments, etc., we weren't sure how the kids would have fared. Now it's only 5 weeks and 1 day until her due date! We're really hoping she is able to make it that long, and even more so, that she makes a full recovery

Sweet Sadie curious as to what I was doing

The other evening as I was thinking about Sadie and all of the other things going on, I was reminded of the verse in James: "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance" (James 1:2-3.) Even trials, no matter how big or small, have blessings for they can be used for growing in, and being strengthened in, our faith in the Lord. What a wonderful reminder no matter what circumstances we may be going through!


  1. Oh, that is too bad about Sadie! We will pray for her, too, that she will completely recover, and also that her babies will be fine!

  2. Poor little Sadie, I do hope all will be well. With animals (and humans) there are always going to be anxious moments, I think.

  3. Sadie is certainly beautiful. He Who lovingly and wonderfully created her will watch over her! I believe the Lord loves all of His Creation!

  4. Praying for Sadie..have you seen anymore improvement?

  5. Do you know of Bach Rescue Remedy? We used it on sick calves (in conjunction with the other standard supplements) and I believe it helped a lot. It is very good for helping the animals (and humans) over the 'stress' of being sick.

    I hope Sadie makes a complete recovery. Sometimes when we think there is no hope...they make a miraculous recovery.

  6. Poor Sadie! I hope that she continues to get better! :o) Finding Joy in all things is something I have been working on a lot lately. :o) I find sometimes I need to rethink of how God has provided in the past to then have more faith and believe in what He is able to do during the here and now in trials. :o)

  7. Glad that slowly its working for Sadie plus her babies are moving around, good sign that is.

    How about when the time comes to giving birth, have you asked if she must have a c section due to her legs the way they are, well there be enough strength to stand and give birth to how many babies???

    That is great that between you all that you are able to hoist her up and work on her bad leg to keep it moving and circulation in it and muscle tone too.

    What a sweetie she is.

    Keep track of all that has happened do you know in the future when others might come down so you have like a pet book in illnesses, diseases,etc. that they get that you didn't know. Different treatments to use for them.

    What worked with the ones that came down with something and what didn't.

    Isn't it wonderful having the internet to look up and research things like this that come up.

    Even our vet when our female dog got sick and he didn't know what it could be and trying tests and then he finally went on this site where in the maritimes in Canada have a vet school and he talked to them and they said immediately what she had.

    Also too, talking about what they have someone might read it and go oh, we went through that or similar to it and this is what we did,etc.

  8. Thank you, Joy, for praying for her! There was quite a bit of encouragement with her today . . . the leg that had been completely limp but was beginning to get some firmness to it, has really progressed. Today when I was exercising it she jerked it away from me several times with firm, hard jerks. The muscles are starting to work again! AND, this morning she stood all the way up on her own! I was outside the pen and heard some strange noises coming from over by her and I looked over and was so surprised to see her on her feet! She was really wobbly and was only up for a few seconds, but she was up! That was exciting to see! After not seeing any new progress for the past few days prior to today, this was all especially encouraging.

    I also was so encouraged to feel her babies moving again . . . only 4 weeks and a few days now until her due date!

  9. Thank you, Elizabeth, for your sweet comment! Yes, there always are anxious moments . . . and after the anxious moments we have had, we had quite an encouraging one today as I shared about in the comment right before this one. Sadie stood up this morning! Only for a few seconds and she was really wobbly, but she was standing. We were so glad to see that!

  10. Thank you for your encouraging words, Our Cross Stitching Home! That has been a comfort to me as well . . . whether Sadie gets better or not, I know that the Lord cares for His creation. Even when a tiny sparrow falls to the ground, He knows and cares!

  11. Thank you, Ellen! And yes! After not seeing really any improvement for several days, there was quite a bit last evening and today. The most exciting being that she stood up all on her own this morning! I had been outside of the pen and heard some strange noises coming from over there, and when I looked, she was on her feet! Granted, she was really wobbly and only stood for a few seconds, but she was up! We are so thankful for the progress that she is making. And I hope that it will continue to progress and that she’ll keep trying to get up and use those muscles. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens!

  12. Thank you for mentioning that, Lynda! I haven’t heard of it, but it does sound quite similar to one of the things that we have been giving her called “nutridrench”. It is basically a nutrient and vitamin packed supplement that is given during times of stress, sickness, etc. And it seems to be helping! Thank you again for the suggestion.

    I hope Sadie recovers fully as well . . . and in a few of my previous comments, I shared some of the progress that she made today! We were so glad to see it all!

  13. Thank you, Nabila! So far, little by little, Sadie is continuing to get better. In fact, we saw quite a bit of progress today as was shared in some of the previous comments. And as was mentioned in this post, we don’t know how far she’ll be able to recover, but each new ‘milestone’ is so encouraging!

    I appreciated what you shared about remembering how God has provided in the past as we face new trials that come. How encouraging that can be! And that was one thing we were talking about just today when something new came up . . . it looks like our car’s transmission went out. :) Yet another “bump in the road” that we know that the Lord will be working for good in our lives. He has always proved Himself faithful, and we know He always will!

    Thank you again for sharing!

  14. Thank you for your comment, Anonymous! I was encouraged yet again yesterday when feeling Sadie’s babies move again. That was a highlight of the day. :) Only four weeks and a few days left now!

    When it is time for her to give birth, she should still be able to deliver them, but with assistance. So we will be there to help and do what is necessary. We’re still hoping that she will be up and moving by then, though! And yesterday we were so encouraged as she actually stood up all on her own! It was only for a few seconds and she was really wobbly, but it was a great improvement.

    We actually have needed to stop hoisting her up now as the sling seemed to be putting too much pressure on her abdomen with her being pregnant. So we’ve switched to rolling her over twice a day and then massaging each leg really well, and then working them up and down, too. It must be working since she stood up yesterday!

    And yes, it’s a really good idea to keep track of everything that we have been doing. Leah is our goat record keeper, and she does a great job with that. :)

    That’s wonderful that you were able to figure out what was wrong with your dog, and so quickly, too!

    Thank you again for your comment!

  15. Oh... poor Sadie! :( I will be praying for her and that her babies will be fine. That is so true. Life is full of difficult things, but the Lord has given us a wonderful promise;
    "As thy days, so shall thy strength be." Deuteronomy 33:25 b.

    What a wonderful promise! I hope that all will turn out. The Lord is so faithful.

    Love in Him,

  16. You do seem to be having a Jonah day...or maybe a Jonah week, Sarah!:-) But take you said, these obstacles and bumps along life's road can serve to strengthen your character, your faith, and yes, even your joy. And sometimes, they even bring unexpected blessings. I'm reminded of all the amazing fellowship, friendships, and delightful connections that the Lord brought to us disguised as a house flood back in January! So be sure to document the silver lining in the clouds.

    Someday, remind me to share with you our "emergency appendectomy" story. It was another blessing in disguise!:-)

    ~ Betsy

  17. Thank you for your prayers for Sadie and her babies, Mikailah! And thank you also for sharing the verse from Deuteronomy . . . yes, it is indeed a wonderful promise no matter what difficult things we may be going through. The Lord is our strength and portion forever and He has promised that His “grace is sufficient”. How true that is!

    Thank you again, Mikailah! Your comment was a blessing!

  18. It does seem that way, doesn’t it, Betsy?! :) Thank you for your encouraging words . . . already I have seen good fruit coming out of all of these things. And yes, unexpected blessings can come as well!

    I remember your all’s house flood and all the blessings that came as a result of that. What a wonderful practical example!

    An “emergency appendectomy” story turned blessing in disguise . . . that sounds like it would be interesting! I look forward to hearing it sometime. :)

  19. I am so sorry to hear about Sadie, Sarah. I hope that she has a complete recovery and that her kids are not affected in any way.

  20. Thank you for your kind comment, Anonymous. We're hoping so, too!


Thanks so much for your comment! Each one is read and enjoyed. :)