Hate is an energy-zapper. I think people need to save their hate, then channel it only toward things in life that matter. For me, this happens to be the annoying word “mayo,” the ridiculous hobby of playing miniature golf, and most of all, the feeling of being bloated. I hate the feeling. In fact, the only thing I hate more than being bloated is when our farm animals get bloated. Why? Because when ruminants like sheep, goats, and cows get “bloat,” it can get as out of hand as head-lice in a preschool . . .(minus all the nose-picking). . .
A few days ago, my lamb, Emily, was the victim. When I visited her pen, she didn’t run to greet me like usual. Instead, I found her lying on her side. Her belly was swollen and she kicked her legs back and forth in pain. I was worried. A little bloat and grogginess isn’t terribly uncommon from time to time in sheep, but lying on her side and kicking? Not good. I’ve heard of livestock dying from serious bloat. The first thing I thought to do was get her up and moving. The more active she was, the quicker any gas buildup would pass. I took her outside and Steve and I walked her around for a while. She followed behind me, but every step seemed strained and every time I stopped walking, she stopped and immediately collapsed on the ground in the same position she was in her pen. I had to try something else.
Next, I tried giving her baking soda and water in her bottle. Supposedly, baking soda neutralizes the stomach acid and eases the bloat. How she hated it! Steve held her still while I put the bottle in her mouth. We waited, but her condition didn’t change.
The last method we tried seemed to be the silliest of all. With the help of our friend, Billy, we taped a stick inside Emily’s mouth that caused her to continuously chew. The act of chewing kept her jaw open and moving, encouraging her to burp all the gas up. Immediately, we could hear and smell the gas escaping. Within the hour, though her belly was still rounder than normal, she was back to her perky, trouble-making self. (Shown below.)
Worst Case Scenario: Luckily, Emily’s case of bloat was only intermediate. When we pushed on her belly, there was some give, and it wasn’t “tight as a drum.” Had the bloat been left unattended, it could have worsened to that point and she could have possibly suffocated or her abdominal/stomach walls could have burst. Thank God for sticks and duck tape!