Rocky's diagnosis and Ollie's castration an afternoon at the vet

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In many areas of the country it is said that a lot of veterinarians don’t know a whole lot about goats.  Some people say you either have a good vet or one that doesn’t have a clue.  We are so fortunate at Gratitude Gate to have some amazing veterinarians in our area that know their goat stuff! Working as a technician, I prided myself as being a sponge.  I was always working directly with our vets on diagnosis and treatments and asking all of the questions in between. I will never claim to know more than a veterinarian but instead find it a vital part in treatment and rehabilitation plans for all animals that come to the sanctuary.  Collaboration and information can go hand-in-hand to create a successful working relationship.

Rocky and Ollie both arrived at Gratitude Gate on a Saturday, we made that call to the vet Monday morning.  I had already assessed both of the boys were stable upon arrival and in separate quarantine areas.  While Rocky had already been seen by a vet several weeks before, we wanted to make sure we established his patient relationship right away.  Ollie’s experience on the other hand may not be as enjoyable but, there was no time to wait for his castration.  Both of the boys were put in the truck. Rock on the front seat in his little tub and Ollie behind my seat.  I am known around town for having silly goat faces looking out my windows.  They are too small for a trailer, of course they are in my truck!  Don’t worry, we tarp up to catch the unwanted excrement!

We arrived at the clinic and Dr. Jen and I discussed what may be going on with Rocky.  Sometimes I get a little proud when my diagnosis is the same as the vet’s.  To me it just means I have done my homework.  She agreed that Rocky’s overall healthy and body condition was excellent.  Miss Gloria did a fantastic job keeping up those muscles! Dr. Jen also noticed Rocky was not experiencing nystagma (rapid eye movement,) which can mean more serious issues in the brain.  He was not in pain, had full vision and hearing and seemed aware of his surroundings.  All very good signs that led to the belief that Rocky was born with a under developed cerebellum or a lesion on that area.  This area of the brain is responsible for coordination and balance.  The only two areas Rocky was having issues with.  She agreed that it was very much like a disorder seen in cats called Cerebella Hyposplasia. This was the best news as it fit with everything Rocky was exhibiting.  Cerebella Hypoplasia is a NON progressive, non contagious disorder that affects only one area of the brain, balance.  Cats generally will improve with time, learning to compensate as their brain helps to create new pathways for signals to travel.

There is no cure but there is learning to cope. 

After this great news about Rocky, we could turn to more routine matters of turning Ollie from a buck to a wether.  There are several ways this can be done.  All can be very successful or have there own problems.

  • Burzzido – The clamp! The idea is to clamp this tool down on the spermatic cord and snap it, rendering the testicle useless.  The most important part it making sure to do TWO full clamps, one over each cord.  Always recommend pain medicine afterwards, especially on an older buck.  There is no incision and makes it less likely to have to worry about complications including tetanus.
  • Banding- Many people use this method on very young bucks. A small “cheerio” looking rubber band is put around the scrotal sack that is tight enough to cut off blood supply.  Within 2 weeks the testicles and scrotal sack will shrivel, die and fall off.  Again most importantly make sure BOTH of those testicle are below the band!
  • Surgical removal- Again, a sure way to solve intact male issue is just to get rid of those testes all together! This is a great method but not practical for every situation.  Depending on the time of year, maggots and infection pose a real threat.  Pain medicine again helps to ease the discomfort after surgery.

We chose to clamp Ollie, as he could be Ferdinand’s buddy in the dairy barn while we waited for his post castration probation period (4 weeks) to run its course.  2 Minutes and done, including his booster shot and pain medication injection.  Now we wait till he can join the rest of the herd without unwanted complications.

Our whole visit was good news all around and of course Rocky had to meet everyone and show off his absolutely heart melting personality.  Poor Ollie sulked in the back of my truck, somehow they just know that was more than a routine visit!