She is better. She's not blind anymore. She's eating oats, alfalfa pellets, and alfalfa hay. She has lost condition and rests alot, but everyday is doing better. I am wondering if maybe she got dehydrated/electrolyte imbalance - with it being so hot, having a heavily nursing kid... I know dehydration can cause neurolgical symptoms - my husband husband had it happen once - he was staring into space and unresponsive, then started jerking.
From Goat Medicine
"Salt poisoning occurs in livestock when there is excessive salt intake from the feed, inadequate water intake in the face of normal salt intake, or when only saline drinking water is available. The condition is most common in swine, but is also reported in cattle and sheep. Documentation of the condition in goats is rare but it is sometimes included in discussions of diseases showing nervous signs (Guss 1977; Baxendell 198. In a case report from Italy, one of eight affected goats presented with convulsions, opisthotonos, and respiratory distress while the other seven showed weakness and intense thirst. The severely affected goat died and had cerebral edema at necropsy. The others were successfully rehydrated (Buronfosse 2000).
Signs of acute salt intoxication in other species include tremors, blindness, nystagmus, weakness, incoordination, knuckling of the fetlocks, head press- ing, opisthotonos, convulsions, coma, and death asso- ciated with cerebral edema. When the disease occurs from a large dose of excess salt, signs of gastrointesti- nal irritation including vomiting, diarrhea, and abdom- inal pain may also be seen. When neurologic signs are marked, tranquilization with diazepam and reduction of cerebral edema with diuretics and mannitol solu- tions may be indicated. The condition and its manage- ment in other species is reviewed in detail elsewhere (Cebra and Cebra 2004; Radostits et al. 2007)."
Opisthotonos is the posture she was in with her head pulled to her back and her legs forced out rigid - like tetanus, but she could be moved out of the position, not completely rigid. The rumen can't function without water so it would explain that symptom. Dex treats cerebral edema, so that fits...
My gut feeling is that whatever it was the Dex injection was key to getting her up on her feet. Once she was on her feet, I lead her to water and pushed her head down in it and she drank. I didn't look for dehydration when I found her sick - I was worried she'd get dehydrated, but it didn't occur to me she may have already been. The next day I did note signs of dehydration and pushed her to drink. I don't know if the vet looked for dehydration. We both checked eyelids, but I was looking at color - not sure what she was looking for. She looked in her mouth at her gums...
I'm pretty happy with the vet myself. I got a hold of them immediately on a Saturday when I was in a full on panic and completely unable to even think. They met me right away at the vet hospital which is 5 min from my house. I am a new customer who has only been there once for my horses' annual Coggins test. I think the vet was guessing a little - the paperwork says possible diagnosis - listeria, polio, tetanus, rabies... But we did save the doe. I don't think either one of us thought there was much hope. She said she was cautious about giving Dex to a food producing animal, but since I am just needing her to feed her baby and she's not in my milking string, she was willing to try it.