Ah, goats. I noticed that Light River wasn't quite his normal goaty self for a few days. I couldn't tell for sure if I was imagining things, but then Wednesday evening, he didn't get up to eat as soon as the hay was in sight. Uh oh. These goats love food above all else, so I knew something wasn't right. Turns out, he had all the symptoms listed in the book for bloat, including a swollen belly that was as tight as a drum. No wonder he looked so uncomfortable.
The book said to give him oil to pop all the bubbles in his frothy stomach. Nothing makes you feel better when you have a stomach ache like having someone force a cup of peanut oil down your throat one squirt at a time, right?Unfortunately, by Thursday morning, he was worse instead of better. His belly was so tight he was grunting with every breath. I called the goat lady for advise, and she said I needed to bring him in, warm him up, squirt baking soda into him, get him to move, and massage his belly. Firmly. A lot. So that's how I spent the day and well into the evening on Thursday. Rubbing the goat who lived in the bathroom.
I'm sure the only reason I've never stayed home from work to massage a goat tummy is that I never thought of it before! It's not really as fun as it sounds though. By the evening I had spent so much time rubbing and walking and dosing the goat while reading goat message boards about bloated goats and the people who love them that I badly needed a distraction. Thank goodness for pie dough.
Friday was the open studio in the art building at the University where Brandon works, and it's become our tradition to put out pies for the guests who come to Brandon's classroom.
Fortunately, none of the people who ate the pie knew that the cook was alternating baking and goat massage! There's probably no amount of hand washing that would make that an appetizing combo for some of us.
The pumpkin pies turned to be some of the loveliest, but I didn't put enough honey, so they were less like a dessert and more like a vegetable pie. I might have been a bit distracted.
Apparently, if the massage doesn't get the goats chambered stomach moving again and release the gas, then one solution is to stab the goat with a knife to relieve the pressure. One person I read said to think about having to do that, and then massage with vigor. Poor River got rubbed so much his hair was standing on end and he still won't come within an arms reach of me.
It worked though. He would belch and visibly deflate, then nibble some hay. By Thursday night he was pooping all over the bathroom floor, so I knew something inside him was starting to work like it's supposed to.
He wasn't exactly chipper on Friday morning, but I thought he was improving. He went back to the barn with the others, and I hoped all would be well while we were away for the day A girl only gets so many livestock related excused absences from life, after all.
We enjoyed the open house and the guests enjoyed the apple pie. When we got home late in the evening we were relieved to find all the goats alive and un-inflated. On the drive home we had psyched ourselves up for having to run a tube down Light Rivers esophagus and relieving the gas, so it was an extra relief that it didn't seem necessary.
Today, Light River went out to the pasture with the other goats, and got upset when he didn't get his share of pellets, which I think are both good signs that he's on the mend. Whew!