The following post is the full story of Rosie's medical journey (as mentioned in our GoFundMe campaign)

Hello again everyone,

In my last update and the look back onto 2023 I didn’t tell you anything about Rosie’s year and this is very unusual for my stories – A year without Rosie? By now, I can’t even imagine my life without Rosie: this unique, smart and strong, true and loyal, curious and brave little girl who proves over and over again that she is ready to master all of life’s challenges makes my life complete.

As many of those who have read about Rosie in the past already know, due to the sad circumstances that Rosie had lost her real goat mom soon after birth, Rosie and I have been very close, we have a very strong bond and our relationship is quite unique. Over the years I’ve worked with many goats and that resulted in trusted relationships with them, but my life with Rosie is different. She is my little kid, we somehow understand each other very well despite the different languages, in her mind she might see herself as a human or she views me as a special kind of goat. It doesn’t really matter how it works – as long as it works for us. And that it really does. Rosie and I, we are simply “goat” together.

Rosie is the light of my day, the colour of my rainbow, the bounce in my step – when I look into her eyes I can feel my heart smile, and during a really hard or difficult day when I feel I have no more energy to go on, I just look at this little precious girl and I know that going on is the only way – that there are Rosie and the other animals who trust and rely on us.

In July of 2023 Rosie’s life took quite a turn as she suddenly started limping on her front left leg. She would often hold it up not putting weight on it, yet she still got around – be it with a strong limp. Nothing we could do would help, and so we started a long “vet journey”. She saw our large-animal vets, we tried different pain meds combined with resting, but no change. At that time there were many possible diagnoses like a fracture, a bone spur or different bone lesion. She would need an X-ray for further diagnostics. 

During this entire process I’ve learned a lot now about the veterinary system and I really appreciate what our large-animal vets did for us – while they neither had the equipment nor clinic to help Rosie with the diagnostics, they used all their expertise and professional contacts to find resources for us and to put us in touch with vets and clinics that could help us. 

After seeing 3 large-animal vets we were so lucky to be referred to Elk Lake Vet Hospital for her first X-ray. This X-ray helped to rule out a fracture. Due to the possible diagnosis of degenerative joint disease we put her on an injectable joint supplement, but one month of that treatment didn’t show any effect.

For a new diagnosis we needed a better X-ray done under full sedation. I was advised to find an equine vet with X-ray capability to see if they could help us. After some calling around I was really glad that our own equine vet would provide this service with their portable X-ray right at our farm, but they were not able to sedate Rosie – because of course Rosie is no horse. Ok, back to a large-animal vet and a coordinated appointment between them: Rosie’s big X-ray event was arranged. 

By now it’s the beginning of November – we had dealt with this for 4 months and Rosie was limping around all the time. The X-ray went well and the images were very clear – the diagnosis almost made my heart stop and crushed most of my hope. Rosie’s left shoulder was damaged, in proper medical terms the diagnosis was “luxated scapulo-humeral joint”, meaning the tendons and ligaments that hold the joint together have been compromised due to trauma most likely or acute injury and the joint was much too loose and not stable enough. Our vets first had no idea if this would be fixable and the most realistic options they proposed were lifelong pain medications or amputation of the limb.

I did not want to believe this. While Rosie was slowly waking up from sedation I could only think of either my little girl undergoing lifelong pain management or with just 3 legs. I couldn’t imagine either of those options. Little Rosie who has always been so strong and full of joy and life, I really just wanted to help her – she needed us!

Our vet promised to call around to several professional contacts and I also reached out to our other vet with the X-ray images. And then a little bit of hope bloomed again as we heard that similar cases have been treated surgically in miniature horses. Now, I was on the task of finding a local vet hospital and surgeon who would take Rosie on as a patient. Again, more difficult than I had imagined, because while Rosie is certainly a pet goat she is officially “lifestock” and thus most of the vet hospitals are not licensed to treat her. Everyone was really helpful and gave me more ideas who to call and I got to talk to a lot of people. In the end I was just glad to get in touch with Elk Lake Vet Hospital again where they actually have a surgeon who is licensed to work on both small and large animals, and after viewing Rosie’s newest X-rays she agreed to see us for a consultation.

Rosie and I went there on December 13th and we met Dr. Audrey. I’m so happy to say that she isn’t just a really great and professional vet and surgeon, she is also an incredibly kind and understanding human being who took great care and time to talk to me and Rosie and explained everything about the possible treatment options. I was so nervous before this appointment since I had no idea what the options would be. And Dr. Audrey gave us back hope as she outlined a surgical treatment that should restore and heal Rosie’s shoulder. This surgery would involve moving and reattaching one of Rosie’s tendons and also stabilizing her shoulder joint with the help of some screws and nylon. They offered us a surgery appointment on December 20th – things were happening very quickly now. This was such a big step, and Rosie really needed this.

So, we got everything planned and ready (getting me mentally prepared, Rosie fastened before surgery, a safe single stall set up etc) and December 20th at 8:15 am we were at Elk Lake Vet. Rosie was just great, while she clearly was suspicious and didn’t really want to be there, she is ok everywhere as long as I am there too. Lots more explanations, sedation, IV line and then she was off for another X-ray and followed by surgery. We were waiting and hoping that everything would go well. After about 2 hours we were informed that the surgery had been completed successfully and we were led into a small wakeup room where Rosie had a bed of blankets. Rosie was just waking up, sitting with the vets on the ground and when she heard my voice she made her first sounds again. My little girl was back! I’m grateful that we were able to sit with her all the time while she was waking up and after an hour she was allowed some hay again. Just before the clinic closed we were explained all the aftercare and precautions and we were able to take her back home with us! I was so exhausted and excited.

When we arrived back at the farm we got Rosie settled in her stall where she was warm and cozy with a heat lamp and blankets. Since she appeared quite sore and had difficulties moving around I decided to spend the night with her in the barn. We had a difficult but also good night because we could be together. It reminded me a lot of those times when she was a sick and weak little kid: when she needed something she would just come up close and breathe in my face. Around 4 am she appeared quite cold and uncomfortable and we cuddled together on the floor under a few blankets. 

The next morning started with coffee for me and Rosie finally began to chew her cud again (be it with some difficulties from the tubes that went down her throat during surgery). She slowly became more mobile and was able to get up and down well enough to move around her stall. She was obviously a little chilly, and we got her a fleece dog jacket to cover up the large area where she’s been shaved. Luckily we found one coat that is stretchy enough for her big belly (goats have very different body shapes than dogs).

Rosie has now already made it through her first month of recovery and has been making progress every day. Recovery is estimated to take at least 6 to 8 weeks and during that time she is not allowed to be with the other goats (but she can see them through the fence) and no running or jumping. Her mobility is limited on the injured leg during that time. Luckily she is quite a good patient – with occasional goat mishaps. We’ve already been for her first recheck with Dr. Audrey and so far everything is going smoothly. But we were cautioned that for now she has to be patient and has to take it slow and easy. These weeks of recovery are critical, the vets will only be able to determine after the full 6 to 8 weeks are up if the “surgical repairs” have lasted and the ensuing healing process has been successful. After that Rosie will start with some slow exercises, learning to use and trust her leg again and slowly build up strength. But that’s still to come  – we are not quite there yet.

I’m really hoping for her full recovery, for her being able to play and run and jump again. She deserves that so very much.

Rosie and I are so very grateful to all the vets (and there were so many more than I mentioned here) and all our coworkers who helped us and especially her during this long journey – each of them did their part to bring us one step closer to Rosie being able to walk again.

Thank you all for following our farm story and especially now all the small and big adventures of our little girl Rosie. I will keep you posted on her progress.

Let’s all go through life as she does: Strong, optimistic and determined – in Rosie’s mind every door is there to be opened, every fence to be climbed over (or crawled under) and every rock in her path jumped on and bounced off. 

Let’s go through life with a spring in our steps – and she’ll soon follow suit again!

Claudia & Rosie

Photo of goat in red coat
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