I noticed a hard cyst on Pegasus the goat (see above and the footnote). I was staying on Matt and Sasha’s plot in Suurbraak (footnote). The following day the cyst was oozing. Sasha explained via email how to treat it (footnote).
It took me x3 espressos and x4 blocks of whole nut chocolate to come round to accepting that I would have to deal with it that very day. It took almost as long to prepare for the operation, before I walked into the open field across from Matt and Sasha’s plot, took hold of and then lead Pegasus slowly and gently back to the plot, hooked her to the gate, locked away the dogs and started the procedure.
My mother had been a nurse so I knew all about getting in deep and thoroughly draining before applying the dressing.
While leading her from the field and throughout the procedure which, as Sasha predicted, was clearly painful, I spoke reassuringly to Pegasus. It therefore seemed to come as a surprise to her, when I indicated that the procedure was over. She then slowly ambled off to join the others.
As instructed, I discarded the puss and cloths and sterilised the receptacles and implements.
I am grateful to Pegasus for allowing me to drain the cyst down to the blood. I also feel privileged that she and the other goats allow me to milk them and to pluck ticks – even from their eyebrows.
The other day in their barn, while feeding barley to each goat in turn, it came to me that the heart of love is not passion but intimacy, whereby another allows you into her or his or its space. And then I think about dogs chained in back yards (see below), battery chickens with no beaks, livestock born into CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations) and mammals in laboratory cages, and I wonder how we as a species, very recently – in our lifetime, allowed it to happen, and what the implications for us all will be.
Matt and Sasha’s name for their middle she-goat is Pegasus.
Suurbraak is a mission village in the Western Cape of South Africa off the N2 highway just beyond Buffelsjagsrivier on the way to Barrydale
Yes it is unfortunately a little infection that is re-occurring. You basically need to wait until it is ‘ripe’ – that is when the ball is not so solid and softer to the touch – and then you need to pierce it and to thoroughly empty it. Best is to lance it with a scalpel, alternatively a very sharp knife; it is quite gross and gives off a foul smell. Sometimes she scratches it open on her own and you must then quickly (when you spot it!) empty it. We use lots of toilet paper to squeeze it out and then clean out the wound with an antiseptic to a soapy mix – there should be some near the basin in the barn. There you will also find green clay (in a powder or gel form) to then cover the wound with, and avoid fly or bacterial infection. Make sure to squeeze it out until you get to blood and to put all contaminated paper and tools in a plastic bag to throw away. Wash your hands thoroughly and do not touch other goats with ‘contaminated’ hands as we read that these types of cysts are innocuous but unfortunately contagious. It sucks. Emptying the cyst can be painful for the goat so you might ask Kria to come and help you handle the goat whilst you do it. If this turns you off I am sure you can ask Kria to handle it for you, she accepted to be our stand-in vet.