I found our precious little Quinn in the barn on the afternoon of March 13th when I went out to feed everyone lying on her side unable to stand or support her own weight, with no muscle control at all. She had been seemingly 100% healthy and happy the day before, so I was so shocked and worried that her health had gone downhill so fast. Within an hour and a half of when I first found her, she passed away. My only comfort in her passing is knowing that I was there with her right up until the end and she didn't have to go alone. After researching her symptoms, she most likely died from what is referred to as Goat Polio, which is technically a Thiamine (vitamin B1) deficiency that affects the brain cells and shows up as neurological symptoms (the loss of muscle control and rigidity that Quinn had). The deficiency is a result of an imbalance in the bacteria found naturally in the goat's rumen, so it literally could have been anything that she was eating that could have been the cause, and sadly we'll never know exactly what it was. RIP Quinn..she was such a sweet girl!
Here is a really great link that describes in more detail just what Goat Polio is, along with more about the symptoms and treatment. http://www.tennesseemeatgoats.com/articles2/listeriosis.html
In addition to Quinn, we've unfortunately lost other animals over the last year as well. It never gets any easier to lose an animal, but I've had to accept that it just comes with the territory of having a farm. Every single little life that lives here with us is so very special to me, and I think of every life lost is a learning experience on how to better protect and take care of our animals going forward. For example, I had never even heard of Goat Polio before Quinn got sick, but you best believe I've got a bottle of injectable vitamin B in my refrigerator now ready to go at the first sign of any symptoms similar to hers.
Over the last year we have also lost all 6 of our Silver Appleyard ducks, and three out of our six Rhode Island Red Hens to coyotes. As response to that, we've recently spent many hundreds of dollars completely fencing in our back yard with concreted wooden fence posts, 4ft tall 2in.x4in. square wire fencing, and a strand of barbed wire across the bottom to boot. This is to help keep any potential predators out and away from our birds, as well as keeping them inside the fence, but still allowing them to free range without the threat of becoming lunch.
The last animal we lost was our Australian Cattle Dog (Blue Heeler) Zoe. Her story has a much happier ending than the others that have left us thankfully! She has now been rehomed with a family in Wisconsin that adopts and trains deaf animals! I'm so excited for her to have been placed in such a great home where she has a family better suited to work with her difficulties that stemmed from her being deaf.