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A Farewell to Kelley

Polioencephalomalacia, or PEM, is a neurological disease common in goats, sheep, and other ruminants. The disease leads to cerebral dysfunction and can produce symptoms such as blindness, incoordination, seizures, and many more. It is commonly linked to dietary changes or nutritional deficiencies, but can also be brought on by a number of other conditions - many of which are not well understood.

The onset of PEM can be swift and unexpected, with severity often progressing over the course of two days - sometimes moving through all the stages within only a few hours. The primary treatment method involves the prompt administration of thiamine, or vitamin B, with recovery of the ability to stand taking up to 5 days and full recovery taking 2-3 weeks.

Unfortunately, symptoms can be difficult to detect, and their fast progression often means that detection is too late. Just this morning, we found one of our goats, Kelley, uncomfortable and in distress.

By the time the veterinarian arrived to take a look at her, her symptoms had progressed beyond a recoverable point and she passed shortly. Our hearts go out to Kelley and all goats that experience PEM, and we will remember her fondly.

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