Sometimes it’s overwhelming to see the consequences of my choices, especially when it means that my sweet animals are the ones that pay. If you visit here frequently, you’ll know that as recently as yesterday I was lamenting over Coral’s pregnancy and due date.
She might have been bred by Boeris when he escaped, or she was bred when I put her with Fionn. I debated for a long while before I decided to breed her and the other three young girls. They would only be a year old when they had their kids. I’d had nine girls give birth right around their first birthday throughout the years, and there were no problems. Of course Coral and Clover were little. I also told myself that their genetics make it very unlikely they will ever get very big.
The thing that really made me decide to put them with Fionn was the fatal genetic defect that has become present in my herd. They would be my test for Fionn. Coral, Clover and Victoria have to be carriers, and the outcome of their pregnancies would give me a pretty good idea whether or not Fionn was a carrier.
It didn’t take me long to get worried and wonder what I was thinking when I put them in with a boy, but by that time, she was already bred. For the last month, I’ve been debating whether she was due in June like I had planned or if she was due even earlier. The physical signs were confusing. Her udder was getting bigger than I would have expected. Her stomach wasn’t really as big I would expect for that early date. There was discharge last week. She seemed to isolate herself. On the other hand, her ligaments were not even beginning to loosen, which has to happen before a kid can pass through the birth canal. Even though it was too early for her to give birth if she were due on May 12th, I really was keeping a close eye on her.
Last night when I got home, I could see that her tail had been wet. With our rains, I didn’t know if it was a concern or not. She was acting fine and ate with everyone. When I went back out a bit later, she was again wet. It was obvious that she was going to have her kid, but she didn’t act like she was in labor. Generally, once the water breaks, they should have kids very soon.
I washed and put a glove on and did a quick exam. I really couldn’t feel that she was opening much, so I called the vet. When he got here, he did the same exam and came up with the same conclusion as me. “If the fetus is anywhere near normal size, it isn’t coming out that way.” We loaded her up and took her to the vet’s office for a C-section. At best, her kid was nine days early, so there was no expectation of having a live kid. It really was a matter of saving Coral’s life.
He shaved her side to prepare for the incision and then he gave her a shot to knock her out. As much pain as it seemed to cause and as much as she struggled just for the exam, he decided to do a complete sedation. As a precaution, he also tied her head and legs in case she came to before he was finished. Then he quickly scrubbed her side and made the incision, cut through three layers of muscle to expose her uterus and then cut through the uterus wall. He reached in and found the baby in the main horn of the uterus and pulled it out. He figures that the kid had been dead for a day. The placenta was already turning dark. He checked for another kid but didn’t find one. He got everything back in place and stitched the uterus shut, sutured the muscles in two layers, and finally used one long running stitch to close her skin. He left a very small space at the bottom to let the wound drain.
Because of the fetus’s development, it was obvious that she was not due in May. This kid was probably due towards the middle or end of June. It was a Fionn baby. I don’t know what caused her to lose the baby~her small size, being hit by a big goat, or a fatal genetic defect. It does, however, make me start thinking about Fionn as a carrier.
I feel so horrible that Coral went through this. I knew it was likely (50% chance) that we would lose a Fionn baby. I just had no idea how dramatic it would be. She is the sweetest little girl you could ever hope to meet. She’s back home and physically recovering well. She’s crying a lot though. It’s very traumatic for a goat to lose their kid, just as it is for a human.
I know I can’t ever make up for this, but I’ll do my best. She’s never going to be with a billy goat again (and there is a shot I can give to make certain she doesn’t settle if a buck gets out). Not only do I not want her to go through this again, but it also is much more likely she would have difficulties because of scar tissue from the surgery. I do plan on loving her and spoiling her for the rest of her life.