The day that started off brilliantly with Rita’s new babies to greet the morning ended up in tragedy. Phil and I took our daily walk at 1:30 or so and we brought Butterfly and George along. The kids couldn’t keep up on their own so Phil and I carried them most of the way. We were almost back to the house and the goats seemed to be settling down to graze under some shady trees in the pasture. I decided to leave Skeeter and her kids with the herd in this safe, pleasant spot because mama was stressed from having to babysit away from her mates all the time, and Butterfly seemed anxious to be away from the boring old goat enclosure. I had just a couple of things to do in the house and I’d be back out to supervise shortly so I thought it would be okay to leave them.
When I came back out at 2:45, the goats had moved across the driveway to the horse pasture–not a place I expected them to go, and certainly not a safe place for babies! Skeeter was upset and her kids were nowhere to be found but I was not worried. Losing babies is not unusual. The kids lay down for a nap under a bush, the herd moves off, mama can’t find them, and she gets frantic. I hadn’t left them for very long so they couldn’t have gone too far. I started hunting around and soon found George curled up next to the house. He was by himself. That was unusual and it made me worried. Siblings nearly always stay together. I went to the horse pasture where the goat herd had been when I first came outside.
And there I found my poor broken Butterfly lying like a rag doll in the dirt. She’d been trampled. Whether she was trampled by a horse, or whether the horses chased the herd and the big goats trampled her I couldn’t tell. Either way, she was clearly hurt and in shock. But she was alive. I took her straight to her mother, hoping desperately that it was not serious. I stood her up next to Skeeter and her hind end flopped uselessly over into the dirt. She couldn’t use her back legs. I carefully felt them and bent all the joints. They were not broken. My heart dropped. This looked like a spinal injury. I took her into the house and gave her medication for pain and inflammation. Swelling in the spine can lead to paralysis but can heal if the swelling doesn’t progress. She immediately started to feel better but she still couldn’t use her legs. I canceled my afternoon riding lesson and headed straight out the door to the vet, stopping only to let Butterfly nurse for a few minutes. She was hungry and ate eagerly, which was an encouraging sign. At least she was no longer in shock.
X-rays at the vet showed that her spine was ok, but it looked like she might have a broken pelvis. The soft little bones and many growth plates made the x-rays hard to read, but her pelvis looked off-kilter. The most immediate concern was that the vet couldn’t find her bladder on the x-ray and he worried that it might have ruptured. All I could do was take her home, make her a comfortable enclosure in the house with good footing, and see if she could still pass water. A couple of hours later she made us very happy in that regard. But she still couldn’t use her hind legs.
At this point it is a waiting game. So far little Butterfly is still with us and she’s got a good appetite. She is already regaining use of her hindquarters and can walk around feebly if I stand her on her feet. She can also occasionally stand up if she pulls herself up by her front legs, but this is difficult. Her little bottom is quite swollen and I’m applying bags of frozen corn. I’m hoping that at her young age there is a good chance she’ll make a full recovery if we can get her past these first few days. We’re praying that this little Butterfly will fly again soon.
This afternoon she spent time exploring the top of the stairs and made friends with one of our resident monsters. She was intrigued by his large pink flower but was disappointed to find it is not edible.
And just so you know what Butterfly’s new, goofy friend looks like…
Please keep our little gal in your prayers. A broken pelvis is a grim prospect but we hope she makes a spectacular recovery. If any little goat is able to heal from such a thing, it’s this one!