As I walked toward her she seemed to be blind. How could she have gone blind overnight? Her eyes were clouded over and she refused to leave the shed. Finally I realized it must be pinkeye, and she had it in both eyes.
Pinkeye is an infection or inflammation of the outer membrane of the eyeball and the inner eyelid. It's also highly contagious and can be spread throughout a herd by flies, so it's often a summer problem, when flies are at their worst. Pinkeye is a self-limiting condition - it will run its course and go away on its own eventually if left untreated - but I didn't want it to spread.
After a lot of research on pinkeye in humans I came up with a plan of attack for my goat. Although pinkeye can be treated with antibiotics, I try to avoid using them unless absolutely necessary because they kill both the bad and good bacteria.
I treated Wish twice a day, first using a warm washcloth to soothe her eyes and to loosen debris in the lashes, then gently washed her eyes gently with baby shampoo (the No More Tears kind). I was careful to wash from the inner corner to the outside corner of her eye, to avoid getting bacteria and dirt in the tear ducts.
Next I used a needle-less syringe filled with fermented cod liver oil. People with vitamin A deficiencies seems to be more susceptible to getting pinkeye, so goats might be too, and cod liver oil is one of the treatments for this deficiency. I squirted a few drops into each eye, being careful not to touch the syringe to her eye so it wouldn't pick up any of the bacteria. I'd then squirt the remainder of the syringe into her mouth.
Finally I used a cotton ball to cleanse her face gently with mouthwash, the green brand. I was careful of course to not get the mouthwash in her eyes, and I used a separate cotton ball for each side of her face. Wish loved this part; I don't know if she liked the minty-fresh smell or if the mouthwash was cooling and fresh-feeling on her skin, but she was very willing to stand still until the liquid dried.
This last step is important. Pinkeye causes the eyes to tear and drain, and flies that land on the goat's face can carry the bacteria from one goat to another.
Since the sun hurt Wish's eyes and she preferred to stay inside the shed, I made sure she had water and hay inside.
After a few days Wish's eyes cleared up and she was back outside with the herd - and it didn't spread to any of my other goats.
My hope is to inspire you, and to encourage your homesteading plans and your dreams of a