Goat Drama: Part I

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Like watching a train wreck, time seemed to slow down almost to a standstill as I watched Vin’s sharp back hooves hurtling towards my face.

I saw it coming.

I was anticipating the pain.

But somehow, I managed to dodge it right at the last possible moment. It sure was a close call though, with the wind whipping past my left ear from the force of her kick.

I can’t say I blame her though. Vin should be delivering her first kid (or kids) any day now, and the poor thing just looked miserable, waddling around the pasture — nearly as wide as she was tall. And to top it all off, I’d just discovered that she was fighting a heated battle with mastitis

(Hence our little tussle on the milkstand).

She really is a sweetheart most of the time, but that evening, just as the sun was setting, I noticed that the right side of her udder was solid as a rock and warm to the touch. Very feverish. She wasn’t too fond of my spur-of-the-moment barnyard mammogram though (which is totally understandable), so she hastily pulled away.

This might be too much information for you, but as she bounded out of my grasp, she expelled a nasty stream of putrid-smelling custard-like gunk from her right teat.

Seriously gag-worthy.

The poor girl was obviously in a lot of pain though, and I NEEDED to get her drained out — because, from what I’ve read, a case of mastitis like this is no laughing matter. In fact, it can permanently ruin her udder.

I’m no expert when it comes to goats, and I really I don’t mean to be a “Debbie-Downer,” but given what I’ve seen, I’ll actually be very surprised if she ever recovers from this.

Oh, it’s not life-threatening (at least I hope it isn’t). It’s just that the infection has built up so much scar tissue in her udder that I seriously doubt she’ll ever produce a noticeable amount of milk from that right side.

Like I said, I NEEDED to get it drained out as best I could — and hopefully break up some of the scar tissue while there was still a chance — but unfortunately, she wasn’t about to let me go poking and prodding (much less milking and massaging) around there.

After a full-on rodeo wrestling match in the pasture, which left me covered in grass-stains and the aforementioned custard-gunk, I decided I needed to re-think my approach.

To make a long story short, I found myself once again illuminated by our backyard floodlights, working well into the wee hours of the morning putting the finishing touches on my new fancy-pants milkstand. (And nearly getting myself kicked in the face).

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I milked and massaged (and extruded copious amounts of puss) from that right side for more than 2 hours, until my hands just ached and throbbed. Then, because both me and Vin were totally exhausted and sore, we decided to call it a night.

I dipped both teats in an antiseptic concoction I’d read about on the internet (i.e. warm water, Dawn dish soap, and a small amount of bleach) — and then put Vin back in the pasture with Syl, scraped and scrubbed the putrid piles of puss off the milkstand, dowsed the whole thing with straight-up bleach, and finally stumbled off to bed around 3 o’clock in the morning…

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