April 7, 2014

Pus and Penicillin

Last week my buck goat cut his rear leg. The next evening his hock was so swollen that he could hardly bend it to walk. There was heat in the swelling and the small wound had become infected. I checked my basket of drugs in the refrigerator and found that all of my antibiotics have expired, so I couldn't give him anything until the next morning after I talked to my vet.

In the meantime, I donned my latex gloves, pulled off the scab and squeezed out as much pus as I could. (My middle daughter says that's gross. I replied that my life can be rather gross at times. Personally I think the average "modern person's" life is too clean. Not that it's a good thing to play in an infected wound, but that our lives are too far removed from dirt and reality.) Then I squirted iodine in the wound with a needle-less syringe.

After I scraped off the scab.
The next morning I went to talk to my vet. He's a good guy, always willing to talk to me if he isn't too busy, and I happened to catch him between spay surgeries and with an empty waiting room. I explained the situation and he agreed that an antibiotic was a good idea, so I went home with a bottle of penicillin, and a syringe of tetanus antitoxin.

I laughed when I took the guard off the syringe's needle. My vet always gives me a needle for my goats that I think is much too large. I use 1/2-inch 20-gauge needles which are quite a bit smaller in diameter than what he uses.

So the buck had his first shot, I pulled the scab off again and squeezed out about the same amount of pus as the day before, and squirted the wound with iodine. I'd asked the vet about protecting the wound from the flies that are already prevalent, and he said the iodine I was squirting into the wound was probably sufficient to deter flies. I knew that I needed to leave the wound open so that it can continue to drain.

After squirting iodine on the wound.
It's good to have some basic first aid knowledge for livestock for this sort of circumstance. While I wouldn't hesitate to call my vet if it were a true emergency, I can handle most things that come up. If a more serious situation occurs, it's smart to know what to do until the vet arrives. Assembling a collection of first aid items is also handy.

Now it's just a matter of time, waiting for the antibiotic to help him, while I continue to give him his shots, squeeze out the pus, and bathe the wound in iodine. My buck's breeder also suggested squirting penicillin into the wound. By the next morning he was obviously in better spirits. Hopefully the poor guy will be back to his old self again soon.

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  1. I bet you are popular with him after all the doctoring...hope he mends soon

  2. That's for sure! He didn't fight me the first time, but as time goes on and as he feels better, he's definitely less cooperative.

  3. Anonymous8:24 AM

    Glad he is on the mend. When I castrate pigs or have an animal with a wound I want to keep flies away and prevent infection, I mix up some lard with turpentine and pack it in. Just another option. Love your blog.

  4. Thank you! My farrier also told me that turpentine is really good for wounds.

  5. Thanks for sharing, Kathi. I appreciate the opportunity to learn from others experiences.


  6. The less than charming aspects of animal husbandry!
    Hope he heals up quickly!

  7. You are so right, Sandra! He's a pretty well-mannered guy though, which I appreciate right now. It could be worse, at least he isn't in rut.

  8. What a blessing a good vet is. Hope he's on the mend soon.

  9. Found this on Simple Life Sunday. Thx for sharing. I don't have goats but am always entertaining the notion, and enjoy informative posts on livestock care.

  10. You're welcome, Janet. I hope it helps you sometime in the future.


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