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How to Safely Move a Sick Animal

A sick animal is part of caring for any living creature. 

Worse, the sick animal may not be in the best location for it’s recovery and well-being. Plus, it may be too heavy for you to safely move yourself.

Let me tell you about my meat goat doe Red. 

Safely Move A Sick Animal

Red was one of the very first does I purchased to start my herd. She’s been a great goat and has produced healthy kids each year.

I even have some of her daughters as replacement does. Her sons have also been champion market goats at local county fairs.

Bottom line, she’s been a great doe for me. She’s almost 7 years old and has never been a problem goat.

Unfortunately, you just can’t count on every goat doing well every year. Things happen that you can’t control.

How I Noticed Red Was Sick

At first, all was well. She kidded right on schedule in the fall. Healthy twins.  One buck and one doe.

But, when her kids were about 30 days old, I found the little doe kid by herself far away from the group.

When I took the doe kid back to Red, Red did not want to claim her. I also noticed her milk bag was a lot less full than it should be at this stage of milk production.

I noticed something else about Red. She had quit eating and was acting very stand off-ish. Her eye lid was light colored, indicating she was anemic.

That’s when I decided to treat her for anemia and bottle feed her kids.

My Initial Anemia Protocol

I typically deworm with a gentle dewormer, such as Safeguard for three days in a row.

I gave Red 10 cc each day based on the rate advised by my veterinarian. I also drenched her with a potion known in the goat world as “magic.”

Magic is a combination of corn oil, dark karo syrup and molasses. It contains iron necessary for an anemic doe’s recovery.

It was definitely enough to make a change in her body.

I found her a few days later in the corner of the shelter. She was very weak and had a low temperature.

3 Thoughts Raced Through My Head On What To Do Next: 

  1. Move her to a warmer place to increase her temperature.
  2. Jump start her stomach to keep her eating.
  3. Provide proper nutrition and a comfortable environment for her to recover.

With the help of my mentor, I knew I could provide a comfortable environment and proper nutrition to recover.

But, at 7 months pregnant myself, I knew it was not safe to lift her. She weighed well over 100 pounds.

What could I do? 

Thinking…Thinking…Thinking…

The closest option to a warm place was about 150 yards away to the basement of the house. There would be warmth plus electricity to plus in hair dryers to warm her up. I went down to check it out and noticed a bunch of old blankets I use for bottle babies.

Bingo. 

I took a large blanket back up the hill and spread it out next to Red. Then, I maneuvered her onto the blanket.

When she was safely in the middle of the blanket, I slowly pulled her on the blanket out of the pen and down the hill.

It took a while. I moved slow and steady. She kept sliding off the blanket and she stood up a few times.

So, I kept moving her back onto the center of the blanket.

Safely Move a Sick Animal

This was quite the workout for me. 

According to my Fitbit Charge HR, I burned over 200 calories moving her.

I Was Careful Not To Injure Myself or My Doe. 

I knew the most important thing I could do was to NOT use my back muscles or my core. I kept my posture straight and my shoulders down, which was easy going down the hill.

To protect my back, I squeezed my core muscles in. Doing this protects my lower back. I also tightened my glute muscles and used my legs.

I made sure Red stayed on the blanket. We took several breaks. Finally, we made it down the hill and into the warm basement.

Safely Move a Sick Animal

Red’s Recovery

The first item of business was to get her temperature back to normal. Using my digital thermometer, I kept checking her temperature. Initially, it was 96 degrees, which is low.

Her temperature needs to be 100-103 degrees Fahrenheit.

To increase her temperature to normal, I used hot hair dryers. Finally, her temperature read 101. We were there.

Other modes of treatment include Vitamin B12, probios, and “magic” daily.

Recovering a goat from anemia is a long process. Red is still recovering after 4 days of treatment in the basement. She is eating feed and hay and drinking clean water.

I expect Red’s recovery to take about two weeks. 

I never would have been able to help her if I would have not thought quickly of a way to safely move her.

Safety for my pregnant body and for her sick one.

My mentor Jane said it best: We farm girls always find a way.

Absolutely. Where there’s a will to save and care for your animal, there’s a way.

It’s God’s mysterious way, helping me to think quick on my toes and discover the road I need to travel for success.

If you want to read more about Red’s recovery, please subscribe to my newsletter!

~ Much Love ~

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Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. There are links within this post on which I can earn a commission if you purchase something, but at no additional cost to you. This is how I can continue to post high quality content for your enjoyment. 

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