Saving our Pygmy Goat with a Stillbirth
A lesson of love and care to help save an animals life.
A goat in Labor
Normally, goats will breed in the fall and start their birthing the following spring. Owning several does, we were happy to see our herd growing in the springtime of 2009 with three new kids and hopefully growing. It was on May 5, 2009 on the evening feeding of our herd of pygmy goats when I noticed one doe laying in the shade behind the shelter in a tall grassy area. She was on her side with her tail twitching and heavily breathing. I suspected she was going into labor and even as I fed out, she made no attempt to come to food. I thought we would have a new baby by morning.
A Call of Distress
The following day, May 6, 2009, on the evening feeding I went to check on our new mother to be and saw that she had not moved from the same spot she had been in from the day before. I could see that her tail was straight up now, there was blood in her birth canal and I could see she was having contractions and straining to push. As she did so, she screamed out in pain, as to tell me something was wrong. Animals do not make noise like this in the wild in fear of predators. I knew there was something wrong so my good husband and I made her a bedding area on the side of the house where we could keep a close eye on her over the night hours. She was in labor, no doubt. We were hoping for a new kid by morning.
A Birthing Process
The following morning, May 7, 2009 our doe once again had not moved from the spot in which we placed her. We could see the nose of the baby just protruding from the birth canal. The doe was barely moving by this time, I could see that she was exhausted and unable to push. With each contraction she tried, she cried, but she could not push. She would not move and could barely lift her head. I was in fear that we would loose her and the baby if we did not intervene.
With using good ole fashioned petroleum jelly, we lubricated the birth canal and began the process of trying to pull the baby from her womb. We stood her up, I held her head by the horns and my husband began the process of gently pulling. The doe screamed as we were able to get the tips of 2 hooves and the head out as the birth canal was dry. The baby was dead. The doe was collapsing at this point and it became extremely difficult to keep pulling on the small body. We knew we had to keep trying to help remove this stillbirth. We stood her up one more time, spread the petroleum jelly in as far as possible and as I held her tightly once again, my husband had to pull with much force down and out. The doe screamed, the body came out and our goat collapsed to the ground. She was breathing, but completely out of it. The odor from this stillbirth made us beleive that this baby had been dead for more than a few days.
A Goats Survival
The doe was down, but alive. I was concerned about bacteria and infection. She needed care. I provided her with a fresh water bowl and she did lift her head to drink a sip. I gave her an injection of 3cc of Pro-Pen-G antibiotic, a regimen I would continue for two times a day for the next 5 days.
The following day May 7, 2009 she was still laying down and appeared to be having more contractions. My concern that she may have another baby. We felt for another body but did not feel one. Perhaps it was from the trama the day before. During the day she drank some water and nibbled at food that we put in front of her. She moved around just a bit to stay out of the sun, but for the most part she was sleeping. It was easy to inject her as she would not move. She did urinate and deficate today, but when she stood, she hung her head.
The next day May 8, 2009, her eyes appeared brighter. She was up and moving much more today. She ate more food today and began to ninny. Her evening injection was a bit more complicated, she knew it was coming and kept trying to move away. She was urinating and deficting, she seemed a bit brighter but for the most part still resting. I did not see any contractions today. I noticed that her belly was not as swollen and caved as she layed down. She would wag her tail when I talked to her. She spent more time laying down than standing.
On May 9, 2009, she looked much better this morning. She was standing, talking and pawing at the ground to make a place to lay down. She was twitching today to keep away the flys. She was still weak but much more responsive to my talking. She was eating and drinking water and the plumbing was just fine.
For the next few days her condition improved greatly, I continued the injections, but not to her approval. It took about 10 days of true care, but she came about. We finally placed her back in the pasture and to this day she remains just fine.
I am convinced without this intervention she would have died. It was not an easy task but with love and determination it was accomplished. A lesson to know your animals and listen, they do speak, you just have to hear them.