I wasn't sure what I was dreading the most about Friday - Rufus's scheduled castration, or my own appointment with a doctor for a routine physical examination. While scheduling both of these dreaded tasks on the same day made sense at the time, by Thursday night I was stressed enough that I woke myself and Brandon up with a nightmare. The dream involved a robotic spider crawling up the wall above my head, but when I sat up talking nonsense and fumbling for the light the words I spoke that penetrated my consciousness were "I don't want it...", but what I didn't want faded away before I could identify it.
Fortunately for Rufus, he didn't know about his appointment, so when the vet arrived on Friday morning in a giant truck pulling a trailer full of equipment, he didn't even begin to worry until they crowded into his stall and poked him with a needle. By that point, he was too loopy to worry. A second jab with some more powerful stuff, and he passed out right on the floor. One of the women covered his face and pulled his back leg up so he could get a sponge bath, down there. A sponge bath with cold water! Thank goodness he was unconscious, right?
The vet - well, in truth, I'm making an assumption that she was a vet based on the fact that she was castrating my donkey and seemed to have the appropriate gear. She never really introduced her self other than her first name. I made an effort to track down a vet with donkey castration experience as the donkey book said that they don't respond as well to anesthesia as horses do, and can bleed more. I spoke to the recommended vet on the phone, explained about Rufus and that I would also like to have the goat, Peaches, tested for any diseases that someone who might allow her onto their farm for breeding purposes would want to be sure she was free of. So, of course, someone else shows up to do the castration, never explained who they are or where the vet I spoke to was, and had no idea that I wanted to have the goat looked at too. Oh well, so much for trying.
The vet isolated a testicle by squeezing it between her thumb and fingers, and then used a scalpel to slice a three inch long cut in the skin and popped the testicle through. She didn't cut her hand until she did the second testicle, so that first cut went pretty smooth.
She used her fingers to break away some of the connective tissue and muscle on the tube and blood vessels that attach the testicle to the body. At this point the other woman realized that she had dropped a needle and syringe full of the anesthesia from her sweatshirt pocket, so a search was begun. Brandon found it near their truck before either of the dogs did, so Rufus was the only one who got a good nap.
The vet then used a clamp tool to squeeze the tube until the testicle fell free. She squeezed the cut end of the tube for several minutes, but when she would let go of the pressure, blood would squirt on her shirt. Brandon took over holding Rufus's leg up, while the other women went to the truck to fetch some suture materials. While Brandon was holding the leg up, Rufus started to move. Brandon held him down with one hand on his neck and held his foot up in the air with his other hand so that the vet didn't get kicked in the teeth while she finished tying off the bleeding tube with some suture string. Rufus got another poke to send him back to sleep while the other testicle got the same treatment. This time she tied the tube before she let go with the clamp, so she didn't get squirted with blood.
The incisions were stretched open "so they would drain better" and doused with some purple stuff. Rufus was given a tetanus shot, and then he was propped up on his knees with his head flopped over. He looked like a sad little rag doll donkey with his lips all droopy. Someone said that throwing the testicles on the barn roof was good luck, so Brandon pitched them up there! Wait. What?!! I have donkey balls on the roof of my barn?! Brandon! Ew.
While waiting for Rufus to come to, the vet stuck a needle in a cyst on Peaches neck so she could check for Caseous Lymphadenitis, which is a dreaded goat disease that causes abscesses in the lymph nodes. The cyst is right where Peaches had the dog bite, so I'm hopeful that it's not a contagious condition. She doesn't have any other signs of illness, but if I was a goat farmer with a buck for hire, I wouldn't want a strange doe with a lump on her neck on my farm unless someone made sure it wasn't CL.
I just had the strangest dream...
The vet waited until Rufus was standing up before she left. We were told to take him for lots of walks the next day, to make sure everything stayed open and draining. Drops of blood were not a cause for alarm, but if we see a stream of blood we were to call them right away. He got nothing for pain, or even stitches!
Strangely, I wasn't worried about my own doctor appointment any more - if Rufus could endure the procedure I just watched, then surely I could get a physical!