Monday, September 8, 2008

Necropsy Findings

"Oreo" Necropsy Findings
* Lots of abdominal fluid

* Rumen was absolutely FULL (impacted) with very dry feed material. Rumen papillae were bunted, which may be secondary to the impaction, but we also see this in animals that ingest "toxic" materials. (No evidence of this in Oreo)

* Bladder was completely distended & unable to be expressed (i.e he had a urinary blockage which we see commonly in male goats) This caused fluid backup into the kidneys leading to some kidney damage as well.


Oreo had evidence of both urinary blockage and an impacted rumen. We did not find any foreign objects that were obstructing passage of feed in the GI tract. We cannot conclude which one of these was primary & which one of these was secondary at this point (i.e. did he get the urinary blockage first which led him to feel bad, go off feed & become dehydrated leading to the impacted rumen OR did the rumen impaction happen first & then he acquired the urinary blockage secondary to too much grain since that's all he was eating when he was sick? As stated, we cannot conclude based on necropsy findings. Oreo did not show signs of urinary blockage when we saw him last week, did he show any signs of straining at home? Also, unfortunately, we were unable to see the bladder on the x-rays we took because the rumen was so big it covered the whole abdomen.
Hope this provides some answers. Sorry again about Oreo & sorry we cannot offer more conclusive reasoning for what happened. Please do not hesitate to call with any questions.

Click here if you want to see the pictures of the procedure but enter at your own risk as they are graphic. (the pictures are displayed backwards, no patience to fix..sorry)

Some my think why share this?
The reason I share this is for educational purposes.

I am devastated by his loss and feel responsible. In hindsight I look back at what should of or could have been done.

Oreo had intermittent symptoms prior to getting really sick. He was having intermittent bloating and some times inactivity. I did not see as much, the couple times it happened I was working and John had told me about it.

I think the Sunday before he died was when we knew for sure something was wrong. I then consulted with Amy and she gave me advice and called my breeder whom told me to use probios with a couple other recommendations. Not having any probios on hand I used yogurt instead. We did that for a couple days and he only seemed to be getting worse. John called me at work on Tuesday of last week and said that he had taken a turn for the worst (in the necropsy report she wrote last week but he really had been seen 3 days prior to the day he died). While at worked I called around and spoke to a farm Vet and he was a bit of a pessimist and kinda scared me off but I do recall one thing he said "with a male goat you always have to rule out a stone" regardless of of me trying to convince him that he had a blockage of his GI track.
I called by breeder once again and she recommended a Vet that she has used for her goats. I called made him an appointment and begged John to bring him in. They x-ray'd him finding the rumen impacted and put in a g-tube and mineral oil and off they went. Again the next day I was working a 12 H shift. John diligently cared for him. That next morning I spoke with the vet and we scheduled the surgery for the next morning. The night before surgery I went out to check on him and he was unable to get up and was blatting. I got him up and started rubbing his belly and walking him and he seemed to improve. Regardless I called the vet as I could see his condition had deteriorated. His breathing was rapid for a few days and I mentioned it to everyone I spoke with. The vets thought it was from the pressure on the diaphragm which I am sure is accurate but he was heading into respiratory failure and died a couple hours after I dropped him off for surgery Friday, just before they were going to administer anesthesia is what I was told.

What should/could I have done differently?

Given him probios. I think it was good to start with the yogurt but I should have went to the feed store to pick that up right away.

I wished I was home on the days he was really sick, maybe I could/would have advocated more.
Maybe I would have more time to research, figure out what was going on.

He was straining but we thought it was to poop because after he did he always pooped a bit, I'm not sure if John mentioned it.

I should have listened to the key words that vet gave me over the phone, "with a male goat you always have to rule out a stone". If it would have stuck in my mind I would have had that ruled out. Kind of like a person with chest pain in the ED, we always rule out that it is not their heart.

Trapper Creek had made a comment that if calves "are removed to soon from their mothers, the rumen never does have a chance to develop properly, the proper enzymes they need for rumination just aren't present and they have a difficult time." I wonder if that is true for goats because we bottle fed our babies because I thought it would be "a good experience" for Luke and Leah. John thought I was nuts but went along (it's easier than resisting) but looking back he was right. God I hate it when I say that. :) To do again I would have let them stay with their Momma until they were weaned.

Live and Learn, right! That is what it is all about. We are new to farming and we will make many mistakes as long as long as we can learn from them and admit to them I guess that is all right.

Thanks to all my fellow bloggers for all of your support. Thanks to Amy who contacted me right away after reading my comment asking for her advice. BIG thanks to my breeder Melonie who has been an awesome resource as she always has been. Thanks for all your concerned phone calls and e-mails and thanks for giving us a break on Smores (pictures to come). He really helped Annabelle, Luke, and I deal better with this sad event. Lastly, a thanks to My Maine Man for all the time and effort he applied to save that little buggers life despite his supposed dislike of goats. :)

RIP Oreo!


goatgirl said...

My feeling is, for whatever it's worth, is that he had a urinary blockage that is common in male goats that led to the trouble with his rumen. You didn't do anything wrong by bottle feeding them. Goats are bottle fed all the time. I have done a little bit of research on urinary blockages after I lost a wether several years ago to one. Everyone has their own opinion on what leads up to it but the most common response is overfeeding the boys. They shouldn't have grain and especially grain and alfalfa together. When I got my wether years ago the breeder said "no grain" but I didn't listen and fed my boy grain and he got a blockage. He was sick for a few days then appeared better one day but then got bad again. My vet at the time said that even if they fixed the blockage it was a long painful recovery with not a very good success rate so I put the poor boy down.
So give yourself a break. It is very common in boy goats because we are not feeding them what they would naturally eat and their plumbing is different than the girls. I have been told that they get it too but are able to pass them because of how they are built.
I am so sorry about little Oreo. He was a doll and looked just like my Cora Belle.
Please go easy on yourself. Everyone that has goats has lost at least one and learned a lot from that experience.

Country Girl said...

Thanks goat girl. I agree with you. I think he had a urinary blockage too. Do you just feed your goats hay?

Throwback at Trapper Creek said...

Kim, don't feel bad about the choices you made about your care of Oreo. If you weren't concerned, then you should be concerned. I hope you know what I mean by that. It's a big undertaking to raise livestock, and things happen, life and death go together. I agree with goatgirl, people having been feeding baby animals with bottles for a long time. It isn't the natural way, but a lot of human babies don't get to nurse either. So you make the best of a bad situation and learn what you want to do next time. On our farm we sometimes have to feed a calf with a bottle, the end result is never the same or as good as when the mother does it.

Thanks for posting the necropsy photos and results, I learned a lot. You are doing a great job - think of the positives in a situation like this, Luke and Leah had an opportunity to know Oreo in an intimate way, if even for a short time. That was Oreo's gift to your family.

tiny angel said...

I am the breeder of Oreo, and also a friend and neighbor to Kim and her lovely family. As we all know, they have suffered a great loss as a result of what happened to Oreo and I feel that they did all they could for him with the knowledge and resources available. And sometimes its hard to know exactly what to do if given several different treatment 'opinions' by those of us that care and want to help.

As with all livestock owners (new and experienced alike), there comes learning and lessons in goat husbandry. Occasionally, it seems like its never ending but the rest of the time, it's very rewarding. And somehow, these little goats can fill a place in our hearts that nothing else can. So, please don't be so hard on yourself Kim! Enjoy your little animals and continue to do your best. Thats all any of us can do.

Anonymous said...

This sounds like what one of our goats had though, we had him necropsied too and his half brother passed away a little after he did though, they were bottle babies and I saw his half brother take his last breath, he wouldn't take his bottle that day.

goatgirl said...

Yep, mostly just hay and they graze and eat some brush. I must admit they get a bit of grain just not very much or very often. I use it to get them where I want them to go. Nothing works better:) I also have been trying really hard to not let them get fat. Easier said than done with the Nigerians. They seem to live on air.
Believe me it wasn't the bottle feeding. My wether was dam raised and still got one. He was my first wether, up until then I only had does and I fed him like he was a milking doe...not good.

Anonymous said...

Ah, Kim. The "what if" and "I wishes" of farm life. You've learned a lot from this experience and I hope you continue to raise goats and other livestock. There is a huge learning curve for a newbie but your family is doing a wonderful job. One of the most important lessons is cutting yourself a bit of slack. Someday you'll be the expert people come to for answers. xoxo

Paula said...

Oh Kim... I'm so sorry... I've been away for a couple of weeks, and I've missed all this, so again I'm sorry...

I know hindsight is always 20/20 in a situation like this, so you can't blame yourself right now... I agree with goatgirl, I don't think bottle feeding was a factor. I had a similar experience with one of my sheep... when she was about 5 months old, she became very bloated and one day I found her lying on the ground unsble to get up. I called the local farm vet, and he told me it sounded like she had foundered on her feed, and to give her Pepto Bismal. This sounded ridiculous to me, but I did it anyway. Amazingly enough, it seemed to work! I don't know if sheep and goats digest the exact same way (I assume they do), but apparently she had gotten to the point to where she had eaten so much, she was unable to belch and chew her food, and she was blocking up because of it. I believe the Probios must work the same as the Pepto Bismal, but with a feed store a long way from the house, she would have more than likely been dead by the time I got back home.

I'm so sorry for your family... please know that I'm thinking about you! And by the way, I appreciate your decision to show the pictures... even though they are hard to look at, it really is a good thing for owners of any kind of ruminating animals to see how their bodies work and the potential problems that can come up.

Amy said...

Thanks so much for posting this. I learned a lot from it. His rumen was just packed full! It reminded me of how full chicken gizzards look when you open them up. Live and learn is so true. You can only do the best you can do and then it's up to God.

Country Girl said...

Trapper Creek, you are right. Raising livestock is a big undertaking. Some people without have no idea. I had someone that I barely know ask me to raise a pig their boy caught at the fair. NOT!! I don't mind raising one for my neighbor but thats a whole different situation.

Tiny Angel, Thanks you have been such an awesome resource and I greatly appreciate all you've done!
Pine Pod, that is sad. I don't think I'd bottle feed again unless I had to.

Goat girl, although I have been pretty conservative with their grain I have really paid closer attention to it lately.
Farm Mom, thanks for looking at the bright side of it, I appreciate your kind words!

Farm chick, I have used pepto on several occasions with the goats too, mostly for diarrhea. Probios helps to re-establish a normal microflora balance in the gastrointesinal tract. The beneficial bacteria help nourish the intestinal cells and protect against the colonization by pathogenic bacteria which can cause diarrhea.

Thanks Amy, I thought the report and the pictures completed the story and why not share a bad experience and learn from it.

Lynnie said...

I just recently found your blog through a couple other blogs I read. I just wanted to say that I really appreciate you talking about the specifics of goats getting sick and dying. It is a hard thing to deal with. We've certainly lost a few for various reasons over the last few years. Despite our best efforts, goats can die and it's comforting to know that someone else has gone through this too. Good luck!