The Tale of Misty & Milly....

Just after Ellen was born in late March, I had gone to a farm to maybe pick up a new flock of chickens. When I got there, I looked at the chickens and then saw they has some baby goats in the field. I mean BABIES. Tiny. Just like Ellen. Solid white. They had already been disbudded and were cute as a button. The lady of the farm asked if I was interested in buying one. They were purebred Saanen doelings and I was actually very interested since Ellen was a mutt - a BEAUTIFUL little mutt that I adore with all my heart! I had heard that these Saanens could produce a couple of gallons of milk a day. She asked if I wanted to watch her milk and I did. She was right on. That goat produced a very fast gallon.
        I left with only the chickens and said I would get back to her about the doelings. They were twins, only a week older than Ellen, and I kinda really wanted them both - BAD. I thought how cool if I could get both of them and let the sisters grow up together. Of course this was all impulsive thinking and I hadn't yet thought about the work involved with bringing two baby bottlefed doelings to the farm......
The next day, I decided I would call her and let her know I wanted them both. She was happy that they were both going to the same place. I picked them up that week and they were both on bottles. They had a feeding schedule of being fed four times a day. THAT. WAS. SOME. HARD. WORK. I was thinking how cute it would be to bottle-feed two babies, and didn't really realize how time consuming it would be.  My schedule revolved around those babies for the next 8 weeks. It was hard but also very therapeutic and rewarding.  It made me look at time a little differently. It made me prioritize in a way that I had never had to before. These babies were completely dependent on me.......

 Sweet baby Milly......

Misty and Milly stuck together from day one - I was so glad I had gotten them both. At least they had each other. They wanted to play with Ellen, but Ellie (Ellen's mom) really didn't care for Misty & Milly much, so they backed off and just kept each other company exploring the field together....

In May, I moved everyone to a new farm and they loved it. I slowly built some things for them to climb and there was so much room that all the girls would play together and then Ellen would split and go hang with her fam. Things were going great - the visitors kept coming to see the girls, and soon, all the 'acre' goats became the most photographed goats ever!

Then in July, Milly got what appeared to be a horsefly bite or spider bite on her back. I put some anti-bacterial topical salve on it and slowly it went away. A few weeks later she started knuckling her rear hooves and seemed very weak. I thought maybe she had gotten bucked by Eli or Ellie or one of the sheep and separated her and Misty from the rest of the animals so I could keep a close eye on her. I called their normal vet and he was out of town, so the following Monday, I called the University Large Animal Vet School. They came out and looked at her but didn't make a diagnosis yet, just gave me some Thiamine and some steroids that needed to be injected. After doing my own research, I called them back out and suggested she may have the meningeal worm. I was so upset because I had read so much on the internet that day about this horrible parasite, and was afraid that I might lose Milly. The doctors from the Vet School gave her injectable Ivermectin along with a supply of an injectable steroid that I was to administer for the next few weeks.  Boy did I feel like the bad guy having to give Milly shots TWICE a day.......
        While I was having to give Milly these shots, Misty seemed to think she was being neglected and decided she would start demanding more of my attention......she got to where she would just jump up and throw her front legs over my shoulders and hang out there while I gave Milly her daily look-overs. 
During the next few weeks, Milly would improve and then she would get worse. I would get excited one day because she seemed to be doing better and then the next day she would be almost as bad as before the treatments. I called the vet school again and the veterinarian told me to contact a woman that lived nearby who had had dairy goats for 20+ years. She said that she sold some really good probiotics for goats and people, and so I called and set up a time to go by there.
       This woman advised I may want to give another round of the Ivermectin, 1cc, for two days, and then in three weeks, give her one more dose. I started her on FASTRACK probiotics and followed the suggestion of the additional Ivermectin and she immediately started improving. Steady improvements weekly! She appeared stronger and more alert and didn't have anymore relapses.
   Misty was very good at sticking by Milly's side and keeping her energy positive - again I am so glad they had each other during this time! Misty would challenge Milly daily, until one day Milly decided she was strong enough to stand her ground....

 She was doing very well except for the sores she was chewing on herself. In October, I called out her regular vet, Dr. Mike Dzimianski, to check her out and he explained about the nerve damage that it caused from the worm in the spinal cord and that sometimes when the body is healing from that kind of damage, the skin will tingle (like when your foot goes to sleep - the pins and needles feeling), and she is just trying to scratch it. He said hopefully eventually she would stop chewing, but other than the sores, she seemed to be doing good. He also mentioned that her tail was in an area that was affected by the nerve damage, and that it may or may not ever be a normal "perky" tail again. He seemed to think that by Spring she should be all better.
 So Milly is still improving and Misty has never left her side. Without Misty sticking by her, I don't know that Milly would have been as strong willed to fight this thing! I think she will probably always be weaker physically, but it doesn't slow her down one bit when playing in the field with Misty!

Misty: "You can do it, Milly!! I just know it! You are getting stronger every day!"
Milly: "You REALLY believe in me, don't ya?!?"
Here goes.........
 Misty: "See??? I knew it! Everything looks different from up here, huh?"
 Misty: "Yay!! She did it! She did it!!!"
 Milly: "Hey look - I DID it!!! Yeeeehaw! Whooop-whoop!"
Misty: "So proud of you, sis!"


 From L-R: Ellen, Milly, Misty

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