Eleven days into goat farming and we got a quick, and thankfully easy, crash course in goat bloat. Goat bloat can be fatal. When we went out to give the ladies their evening grain and discovered one gal looking lopsidedly fat but with no other symptoms of distress, I figured maybe it would resolve on it’s own, but in case we just caught it early, I wasn’t going to wait and see. To my book, and Google!
Farm animal owners, particularly very rural farmers, tend to have to be their own vets for all but the most serious issues, so I looked to see if there was a theme on home treatments. Aside from baking soda (which I think people tend to be too careless with since it’s used to bake with, but is a potent PH adjuster), the theme was oil. Specifically mineral oil, which I don’t have, but I do have a dozen other oils for making soaps and lotions, so some more googling led us to the goat pen with some olive oil and a syringe (minus the needle)…
Hang on! We learned something here. Our trip to the city this week is including a couple farm store stops for first aid supplies, including big syringes to save some time!
Anyway, after giving our sweet, but reluctantly resigned, doe some olive oil, I started patting her left side, where the bloat was. After a few minutes, she started belching, like holy man, lady, you’d be welcome around the camp fire telling dirty jokes at this rate. Her belly did some amazing and creepy rolling and deflating, but was still a little bloated, so we repeated the process and got a few more burps. We called that good for now, and will keep an eye on her. She was pleased to be released from her “shackles” but didn’t flee, I think she just wanted more scritches (as we call scratches) since I’d kept her happy through the process with them!
It is pretty darn satisfying to be able to use the available tools to ease discomfort, and possibly save a life. It is so much easier in the internet age to learn (assuming there’s some common sense and a strong bullshit radar to weed out the trash advice) than it was 30+ years ago. Books are invaluable, but can be very dated and often very opinionated with unhelpful advice. Having millions of people’s advice at the tip of your fingers will never not be amazing. Sometimes infuriating, for sure. But amazing nonetheless.