Tuesday, December 17 - we are back to square one. In fact, Polly is in poorer condition than she has been since this all started. Her back legs are completely useless to her and she is shivering and grinding her teeth. The dexamethasone we had been giving her was only for three days - she did not get a dose last night before bed AND, due to a lot of contradictory opinion, we hadn't given the ivermectin either. In hindsight - I should have.
Here we go again...call to the vet and
Vitamin B complex...check
Dr. Hull pulls up right at noon. I carry Polly up to the driveway and the exam begins. Again, fear is abundant. What is the right thing to do? Quality of life? Quantity of life? How much more of this is just selfish of me and unfair for Polly. Dr. Hull watches me boo hoo a bit and says - "We aren't giving up yet". I had pulled up an exceptional bit of information from Cornell University on P. Tenuis (Meningeal Worm), which I shared with the good doctor:
We talked over the differential diagnosis (many of which we had already eliminated) and recommended treatment. Dr. Hull helped me understand how to calculate the correct dosage of medicine by determining Kilogram weight.
That calculation is:
weight in pounds divided by 2.2 = kilogram weight.
Then, depending on which medication one is wishing to give, the proper dosage can be translated! (very helpful!)
Ivermectin in, fenbendazole in (which is, by the way, either safeguard or panacur) and dexamethasone back on board.
Everyone at the farm took turns getting Polly up and moving her back legs to keep them from getting stiff and atrophied. She was calling out to the goats so we moved her into a small pen just on the other side of the herd. Her goat partner, Zoey, went into the pen with her as a companion. Both seemed content and Prissy at her weight in hay and drank lots of water....but never really moved.
And so, that brings us up to today - Wednesday, December 18.
We have little new news to report. The outlook is so guarded. Polly had a good night. Ate lots, pooped lots, peed lots, but she is still only getting up on her front feet. If we get her up on all four of her feet she IS able to hold her own weight and she WILL resist me when I try to move her back legs too much. The best sign of the day was that she is actually stepping down flat on her back hooves. Yesterday, her back legs would not straighten out and her hooves were rolling inwards. So, this is what I will take as progress. She is bright eyed and HUNGRY. It's too cold to go outside but maybe a bit later we will take her to see her sisters.
I am concerned...of course...that this might not be meningeal worm. Maybe it's something in her spine, maybe its a brain issue. This is scary stuff. We have been so fortunate here at the farm to have healthy animals and have faced only one potential fatal illness (bloat) that our doctor fixed. It's hard to think about what we may face tomorrow with Polly but we are her BIGGEST cheerleaders and not ready to throw in the towel yet. Many fellow goat friends have relayed similar stories that end with partial or full recoveries. That's my goal - followed by my second aim, which is to write every second of it down so that someone needing the information may be able to find it in the case that this SHITTY (it's appropriate to use expletives in this case) experience may ever befall them.
Thanks for reading. I really hope to have GREAT news to post in the days that follow.