Brownie’s Death

Brownie died on February 10, just last month. At the time, I wasn’t up to writing about it because it was so very sad. But, now I am feeling better so I can tell the story. Here’s what happened that day.

In the morning, I went down to do my morning farmyard chores, like changing water and letting the chickens out. I had been giving both goats a cup of grain in the morning, but for the past few days, Brownie had been uninterested. Goats LOVE their grain ration, so this concerned me. She also had been seeming low and was lying down a lot in her goat shed. I was a little worried, but figured she was just super uncomfortable from being so pregnant. Anyway, on morning of February 10th, I went down to see she and Snowflake and while I tried to coax Brownie into eating some grain, Snowflake came along and butted her in an attempt to steal the grain. Usually, if Snowflake had done this, Brownie would have reared up and butted Snowflake back. But, on this morning, she didn’t. Instead, she fell over and let out a horrible moan. I decided that I had better take her to the vet.

I put a collar and leash on her to get her to the car, but she wouldn’t go up the stairs. Turns out she COULDN’T go up the stairs. I tried to pick her up, but there was no way. She was much too big and heavy, so I called my neighbor Judith. She came over and with me taking Brownie’s front legs, and Judith taking the back legs, we got her up the stairs and into the back of the rental car (my car was in the shop because of the would-be car thieves who drilled out its ignition).

I got to the vet’s office and waited for about a half an hour with Brownie in the back of the car. When Dr. Young came out to see her, he said it was touch and go. He and his assistant brought her in, hooked her up to an IV, and sent me home. I knew things were dicey, but I had hope that she would be okay.

Two hours later, Dr. Young called to say she had died. He also said he’d opened her up to get the kids out, and they were at term, but they were all dead. I was really shocked and I think I may have asked him a few times if he was SURE the kids were dead.

At first, we thought she had a classic case of hypocalcemia, because her symptoms matched this disease almost perfectly. But, the blood work showed something very different. Dr. Young sent the blood work to WSU’s veterinary school and later got back to me to say that they thought she had a ruptured bladder. This is a freak thing that just sometimes happens. He said there was nothing I could have done about it. This made me feel a little better, less guilty at least.

It’s been a month now since all this happened and I am getting used to it. Snowflake doesn’t seem too lonely, which is odd since goats are herd animals, but maybe she’s enjoying some time on her own. People are herd animals, in a way, and sometimes I like being alone. Anyway, like I keep saying in my other blog entries, I sure hope Snowflake is pregnant and has a doeling in June. She would love to have a daughter for company.

One thing I should point out here, so you don’t think I’m too out of touch with my goats. Goats are prey animals and as prey animals they hide their illnesses. This means, when you notice they are sick, they are probably seriously ill.

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