Duchess’ Leg: Conclusion

Well, after spending many months and around a thousand dollars trying to save her leg, it was ultimately not successful. Her body started to slough off the limb, basically, after so long of not healing correctly. It didn’t smell, it didn’t even look really all that infected, just one day it stopped trying to heal.

When the vet went in to do an amputation, it turns out that instead of the body healing the bone, it was actually creating this weird black tissue in the place of the break… so even if I’d decided to try to do a bone graft or anything of the like, it wouldn’t have worked.

It sounds like, ultimately, the fracture was bad enough that the blood supply was compromised and the body was unable to heal. It tried — with the weird black tissue and everything — but couldn’t.

So, poor Duchess. However, after spending so much time with a cast, she had developed a good muscle mass, and she’s adjusting to three legs really well. The vet took off only from the hock down (where the break was) instead of going all the way up into the hipbone. She uses the ‘stump’ to help pee and such, though she does seem to be looking for the rest of her leg when she wiggles it around and it’s not long enough to hit the ground. A month after the amputation, she’s doing really well.

 

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Right before and right after

Below is the unhappy drugged goat going home… but within days she was climbing wood piles on three legs. (Good grief)

The last picture is coming home from her last trip in the car to the vet! She was bright eyed and doing great, and really liked riding in my car (versus the van — which wasn’t available to use) because she could lay down and still see everything around her.

 

 

In conclusion, she’s doing really well. It’s been tragic, but she’s getting around really well, even fighting with the yearlings (since the Adventuring Trio were taken home to the rest of the herd), and eating like a horse.

Now just to make sure she doesn’t get fat from pampering…

The Adventure of Duchess and her Broken Leg

So Duchess somehow managed to snap her leg in half. Bone protruding, the bottom part of her leg dangling free without any support, the whole deal. This is the goat who gets out of any fence known to man and clears 5 foot fences like a deer.

(Warning: graphic images!)

So we rush her to the vet while I practically lay on her, because she somehow thinks standing in a moving car instead of lying down with a broken leg is a good idea.

So the veterinarian is in surgery when we arrive. We wait about 15 minutes. Vet comes out and assesses, and gives Duchess some pain meds. Duchess proceeds to crash out on my lap.

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We wait for about 45 minutes, because it’s the day of emergencies apparently (then we realize it’s the full moon, and we understand).

Anyway, the vet returns. We need to carry her in to work on her leg. I’m sure that she’s going to thrash around, so the vet knocks her out. Wow, that stuff works like a charm. We carry her in on my ratty old sleeping bag, which has it’s second life as a gurney.

Duchess stops breathing. Vet has to intubate. Apparently, it’s really hard to intubate a goat, so we were all pretty sure for a few seconds there that she was going to die. But we finally get her breathing again after a few minutes.

It takes an hour and half to fully shave, clean, reset, wrap, cast, and take xrays of her leg.

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I wish I had taken a picture of the xrays! It was pretty fascinating actually, for the more scientific minded. I think you probably have to get used to a little gore working with animals, though I did need to look away when the vet pulled her bone back into alignment.

Back in the car, Duchess is waking up, but really drugged, but keeps trying to talk. So mostly I see a lot of lip twitching, blinking, occasional head throwing around and plaintive noises.

Of course, as soon as we got her back into her pen and went to leave, she woke up and jolted to her feet and yelled at us to come back.

But anyway. Here’s a funny picture of my very stoned goat after being returned to her pen. Look at her fancy bright red cast!

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For the next few days I’ll be giving her a shot to help with inflammation, and make sure that her cast doesn’t get wet. And I have another appointment with the vet in 5 days to check on everything, clean it, and have another antibiotic shot.

The biggest worry at this point is that an infection may form (since it was an open wound). I was told there was a possibility the bones may not fuse, and she’ll need orthopedic surgery… so here’s hoping her bones fuse! It’s going to be a rough month or two for this kiddo, especially since she’s the troublemaker of the group and just loooovvves to get out of everything and be a brat.

The positive news is that she gets alfalfa again to aid her healing! She can’t deny being happy about that.

 

UPDATE:

A little over a month later, the vet’s biggest worry is that the bone isn’t “bridging,” or starting to fuse. It’s possible it’s due to infection, so we loaded her up with a ton more antibiotics and another month of waiting.

Let’s hope the bone starts healing. Otherwise, if it’s a non-healing fracture (which is a possibility with the severity of the break), she’s going to become a three-legged goat.

That being said, she has MASTERED the three legged hop-run. The cast is no longer slowing her down in the slightest. And she’s pretty mad about being locked in a little pen all the time (the vet said she needed to stay ‘quiet’ to give her the best chance of the bone bridging).