Goats are not our specialty

Goat2 As I said, goats are not our specialty.  We rarely see one and don’t pretend to any expertise in that department.  Many veterinarians don’t care to see anything but the dogs and cats that they feel most comfortable with.  I mean, if you only see a goat once every five years, how good are you going to be in that department?  I don’t turn people down flat (we looked at a mouse with skin problems yesterday), but I do try to send them to the doctor I think can help them the most.  Sometimes that’s me, but sometimes it’s not.

So… when these folks called 4 weeks ago, and said their goat had a bad leg, I recommended that they see a doctor who sees more livestock.  So they did that, but when it got worse they showed up back here instead.  Of course, at this point, the foot is unsalvageable.  I don’t know what it looked like a month ago, but I’m pretty sure it didn’t look anything like this.  That’s an open fracture and the foot has gangrene.  I’m not giving you a close-up, and you should be glad we don’t have "smell-O-vision". 

Goat_table_2 I wish that the folks had given the first doctor the opportunity to recheck the goat periodically.  I feel sure that he would have picked up on the situation before it got this bad.  Instead, we spent 2 hours on Saturday afternoon (one hour of it actually in surgery) amputating that mess.  Thank goodness for Veterinary Information Network.  The last information I had on goat anesthesia was dated 1992, and I was glad to have immediate access to more current information. 

Shannon_goat2_2 Here’s Shannon with our patient post-op.  Anesthesia went really well. Five minutes after this the goat was up walking on three legs again, minus the gangrene.  She’s home with antibiotics and pain meds now.  I was going to show a picture of myself gazing down at the goat (the very picture of "the gentle doctor"), but I was having a bad hair day.

2 thoughts on “Goats are not our specialty

  1. Lucy says:

    Is letting it get to that stage not a welfare problem? Surely the other vet they consulted should have taken some responsibility for checking back, and/or telling the owners to contact him if the condition doesn’t approve?

    On another note, one of the things I love about veterinary medicine is the variety of species we do get to treat!

  2. Doc says:

    The other doctor is a good guy. I suspect that when the folks didn’t call him back, he assumed that things were going well (seems reasonable to me). As to the folks neglecting the animal, it is staying in a backyard barn. Not having followed the case from its inception, I am puzzled by why the foot became necrotic and the fracture opened. The owners were the next thing to hysterical about the situation, so I do not think this serious and obvious lesion had been sitting around un-observed. They wanted it handled “NOW” and gladly paid an emergency fee to get it done NOW.

    I hope to get in touch with the other doctor next week and review the case with him, as the whole thing just doesn’t make much sense to me.

    Thanks for reading and writing.

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