Samson is sick.
Samson. My first bottle baby. He is such a lover. I got him and delilah at the same time. I went to purchase her, but then figured a wether too, to keep her company would be perfect. Little did i know, he would be the one i bonded to more than her. And now he's sick. Our days might be numbered. How sad!
It started the weekend of the Fair. January 12. 8 weeks later he is still alive. But, we still don't know what is wrong with him. We've had blood pulled, one needle aspirate, 2 biopsy's, and a barage of tests from the blood. 3 weeks of antibiotic therapy...and considering steroids. nothing is coming back definitive. And still don't know what is wrong with him.
complete blood count
large animal chemistry panel
histopathology (3 tissues)
CL retesting at another lab
biopsy (U of G)
2nd biopsy different location (still waiting on results)
Items sent were scrum/blood/swab/fixed tissues/biopsy tissue
When i came home from the fair, I noticed his right eye had a swelling. the size of a dime and bulbous, sticking out from the inner eyelid. Red and mushy. I put some triple antibiotic on it and hoped in the morning the swelling would go down. it didn't.
In the morning i noticed his glands, too were swollen. Uhoh. That is like a death sentence for a goat. Caseous Lymphadenitis. Oh no. The first sign of this in a herd and people cull. I called Riki, a 20 yr. veteran in goats. She assured me this can't possibly be CL. My goats have never left the farm. They had been here for 2 years without any signs of illness. They are well kept and healthy in all respects. I don't go to other farms that might have it or to other farms in general, except Riki's and she's never had it. At first i thought i brought it home from the fair. BUt the research says its a 2 month process till signs evolve, so that ruled the fair out. Oh no, what if i brought it to the fair? I was in a panic. Again, she reassured me that her gut says not CL. It just didn't make sense, and i should stop worrying about it. it's something else...I didn't.
I immediately started him on a round of pennicillan 5cc a day for 4 days. In the meantime i called the vet who told me that He needs to be off penn for 4 days before she could pull blood, etc.. So 10 days after the first sign of this, the vet came out pulled blood and aspirated on of the lymph nodes under his jaw. We tested for CL... twice... nothing. Both tests came back negative. the aspirate came back nothing too! only oddity was a muscle enzyme in the aspirate. This also didn't show anything pussy. so vet said not CL, too. Blood came back normal.
High in Creatine Kinase (muscle trauma).
High in ALP.
Low in Calcium scrum.
WBC was normal to low.
But other than that. all within normal ranges.
comments from blood:
platelets are clumped on slide and appear increased. Few reactive lymphs noted on slide.
comments from aspirate:
heavy loads of erythrocytes with few clusters of skeletal muscle, and leukocytes
most likley represenatative of a reactive lymph node.
comment from biopsy #1
tissues contains only well-differentiated adipose a nd skeletal muscle. recuts of blocks revealed same. No lympohoid tissue observed
No evidence for lymph node in the submitted tissue.
But, still they couldn't figure out what the bacteria was in the culture. The aerobic culture just said gram positive rod.
Still to this day, haven't identified it. They did a sensitivity on the culture and ampicillan came back as the best route. So, we start 10 days of amoxcillan. orally. 500mg a day. I broke up the capsules in his feed. put it in coffee. I even put it in some wine when all else failed. My samson loves his wine. His nose could sniff it out after a few days of it in various feeds, so, i was getting desperate, putting it in anything i could think of. And he would refuse it. little stinker. he even wouldn't take the wine at one point.
Nothing was happening with the antibiotics! Actually, i'm feeling more lymph node swellings. and an increase in size of the ones he already had. And the swellings were getting swellings. In the underbelly, under the ears, in the breast plate. The vet comes out again this time doing a biopsy. Under the jaw line. Pulls some lymph material. She again confirms its not CL she opened up a swelling and it looked and smelled fine.
And we wait. 10 days later. Again, NOTHING. the biopsy comes back as normal material. No cancer. We discuss. And the vet thinks she might have made a mistake, she thought she was in the lymph node, but maybe not. i'm sure she was, i watched her pull it out... but OK we'll do it again... she comes out that next evening and we do it again. This time in the lymph swelling on the breast. Huge size of a small chicken breast, and hard. This has got to be a lymph. Its hard its movable. and its contained. If not a lymph than a tumor. Vet is convinced its a lymphosarcoma. and Samson's days are numbered. I on the other hand, want proof. I want to know what it is, before i put him down. Again, no smelly discharge, nothing odd looking. no pus... we wait.
I'm still waiting on this last biopsy, it should be back this week sometime. And I might be too hopeful, but it seems he is getting a bit better. I got really nervous because for a time, he stopped chewing his cud. I'm sure its from the antibiotics.
4 days of penn
5 days of LA 200
another 3 days of penn
10 days of amoxcillan
1 day of penn after 2nd biopsy
all within a 6 week time frame.
His body is exhausted. He has lost some weight. Luckily, he was a fat and well fed, healthy goat. My worming regimen is Safeguard every 3-4 months. He gets BOSS, Beet Pulp, and Alfalfa pellets daily. And they get free choice Timothy and alfalfa hay. There is a mineral block they frequent daily. As much water as they want. I think the reason he's still alive is that fact that he started this problem healthy. Eyes always brite, coat always shining, hooves hard. muscled and active. I'd say he was 175lbs. and now is around 130lb.
Everyone is now getting electrolytes in their water. And probios in their feed. Samson is getting probios gel and i'm sure its the reason he started chewing his cud again, and getting his appetite back. Its been one week since the last round of antibiotics. Vet wants to start him on steroids. I'm going to wait a another week before we assault him again with even more stuff.
No one else is showing signs of anything out of the ordinary. So its not contagious whatever it might be. I have not moved him either. He is in the same pen with horses, other goats, and pig....I tried pulling him. but he cried. Delilah cried. In turn making the horses nervous and anxious, putting the dogs in a whirl. Just not working. I tried. but it was making him more stressed out. So if he goes down, i figure we all would...
Every evening as i feed the others i pull him out and feed him seperately. I even let him sleep in the house on the colder nights. In the closet he goes. I don't know what it is with that closet. He gets whatever he wants to eat. strawberries, oranges, bread, each one being dipped in powdered probios/or metamucil. Anything sweet. And keeping him at my side in the evenings allowed me to monitor everything...
His manure has diminished. and at times its either very dry and small. or very mucusy. and in a linear output. very odd. still in the round pellet shapes they do, but clumped together with the mucus. and very small at times. He has not had any diarreah. His urination is still ok. Sometimes not as much. But, as long as i see something, i know his body is still functioning.
For about a week during the amox treatment, i saw mucus coming out of his nostrils. wet but not colored, it was clear or whiteish. No green etc. You could hear him breath a bit loud and mucusy too. So maybe these tumors or abscesses or whatever they were, are in places i can't see too! His jaw line is moving. Vet says its from the lymph swellings putting pressure on nerves. So his bite is off. He looks like he has parrot mouth (horses). And its moved a bit to the side. I'm sure this is conflicting with his ability to chew the food, and chew his cud. But that seems to be subsiding or he's adjusting to it.
They lymph nodes on his throat have gotten a tad smaller. the ones under his ears are tighter and smaller. and the one on his underbelly near the rear leg is a bit pointier. None of them have abscessed. Its been 2 months, since the first day i saw them. What are they? tumors? the lymph nodes? what?
I'm at a total loss as what to do next. He is still bright eyed, and inquisitive, he is not crying or looks hurt. He's eating (not with gusto) and he's chewing his cud, and walks around with the others. When i let them out to browse he is eating everything he can find. And he has plenty of energy. Though he is more sedate. No one can just look at him and say he's sick. And i am not going to give up on him, till he starts to give up.
My next option is to call some goat experts if this latest biopsy comes back normal again. I know many people who have goats, or run a business wouldn't do this for just one goat. And a wether to boot. BUt he was my first, and he's only 2 years old. He is a great companion to the others. and such a good babysitter. HE is worth it to find out, till it gets too costly what it is that is assaulting him. I want him to be with me for years. Because many cull at the first signs of illness in their herd, there isn't alot of information out there. Not many take the steps i am going thru. I can understand why. Its costly and its time consuming and mentally exhausting. Mabye this is all cancer. And that i won't know till next week when biopsy #2 comes back. But if it isn't? then what?
Will keep everyone posted...