Here at S.C. Coastal Animal Rescue and Educational Sanctuary – better known as SC-CARES – our primary goal in opening was to give a safe haven to exotic animals that had nowhere else to go. Of course, loving all creatures, we are able to help some farm animals, as well.
Grandma Goat came to SC-CARES in 2009 already pretty old and is now close to 16 years old. A local goat farmer wanted to downsize his herd and called us to take Grandma. He had named her this because she had birthed so many baby goats for a long time with him.
One of her babies starting crying desperately when we were taking Grandma to our truck; it was heart-wrenching. He did not want his mom to leave him so he followed us to the truck. The other goats seemed unaffected but not this little boy. He was baying out with cries of anguish, as if he had not already given me the thought that we were NOT leaving without him.
The farmer asked if we wanted to take him too so thankfully it all worked out.
We noticed Grandma had an open sore on her cheek and the farmer told us that this happened regularly with her and that he would normally clean it and put some salve on it. As with any animal we’ve taken in, we called the veterinarian to get Grandma checked out.
Our vet came out and after testing it was determined that Grandma had caseous lymphadenitis. This is a highly contagious disease that affects the lymph node system.
Goats with CL will have abscesses appear under the skin then rupture, opening to release the fluids that are contagious. Initially, we had one of the abscesses surgically removed only for it to return months later. Grandma and her son, who we named Jackson, live in an area separate from the other animals for this reason.
Jackson by default also has this disease which he contracted from his mother during birth, which would mean all the other babies that Grandma gave birth to carry it as well. There is a vaccine for CL but it has not proven to be completely successful and carries some serious side effects. At this time there is no cure for CL.
Thankfully, Grandma and Jackson don’t have very many breakouts and seem unaffected by the breakouts, so besides keeping them separate from the other animals the two live together happily.
Grandma and Jackson spend their mornings eating hay and often times Grandma is seen on top of their hut eating. We have a ramp for her to climb up since with age jumping is not as easy as it once was.
Grandma will let you know when she thinks it’s time for her pellet food for supper by baying out to tell you she’s ready! We are amazed that Grandma is as old as she is and hope that she will continue to live for a long time to come.
Cindy Hedrick and Skip Yeager are the founders of S.C. Coastal Animal Rescue and Educational Sanctuary in Georgetown.