I got a few random supplies, and headed back down to the goat barn. Berta hadn’t moved and was still laying motionless. She looked so bad I called my mom and told her to tell my dad to bring the gun down. I was thinking the best choice would be to put her out of her misery. My dad came down, sans gun, but after taking one look at her asked if she was even alive. I made some panicked postings on a goat forum, the consensus was to treat for goat polio and listeriosis as they have similar symptoms. Of course we didn’t have the necessary supplies, so I made a mad dash to the feed store while my mom called the vet. The vet got there earlier than scheduled, but said he didn’t think she would make it. She was just too far gone, and goats are difficult to keep alive. He told my mom he could give her some shots, but it’d be a miracle if she made it. My mom called me and let me know, and asked if we should give her the shots or put her to sleep. I truly felt the right thing to do would be to put her to sleep, but a little whisper said to give her a chance. I gave the go ahead to give her shots and let her have a chance. I spent most of the rest of the day doing research, praying, and sitting with Berta.
“Initially, affected animals are anorectic, depressed, and disoriented. They may propel themselves into corners, lean against stationary objects, or circle toward the affected side. Facial paralysis with a drooping ear, deviated muzzle, flaccid lip, and lowered eyelid often develops on the affected side, as well as lack of a menace response and profuse, almost continuous, salivation…” “Encephalitis is the most readily recognized form of listeriosis in ruminants...The course in sheep and goats is rapid, and death may occur 24-48 hours after onset of signs; however, the recovery rate can be up to 30% with prompt, aggressive therapy.”
30 percent chance of recovery? We didn’t know what to think or expect. Everyone probably thought I was insane even trying to get her better. But I decided to try, we gave her Vitamin B Complex for the chance it was goat polio, and large doses of penicillen every 6 hours for the listeriosis. I gave Berta a shot before I went home, and expected to find her dead in the morning.
Berta has made a complete recovery. In fact, you wouldn’t know that she was ever so sick. She ended up not being blind in one eye, and can see as well as everyone else. She is pretty fat and sassy, and if it all went accordingly, should have babies in April. I’ve already decided if there is a girl, her name needs to be Miracle...because it’s a miracle Berta lived and had the chance to have babies.