The last post ended where I was waiting for results on the cause of death for Snort. He ended up testing positive for EHD, or Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease, a virus that causes, surprise, hemorrhaging and death. Typically this is carried by deer and spread by gnats or flies.
Sadly, this was not an isolated incident. Herds of yaks all over Colorado and up into Nebraska have been coming down with this virus, with multiple fatalities in various herds. It is speculated that the extremely dry summer caused the flies to jump to yaks, but right now, we're not sure why the heck this is happening.
Also sadly, I lost Kate yesterday morning. She had been fighting this for almost two weeks and had gone up and down in how she was doing, but she died Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. I brought her into CSU's vet hospital to get a necropsy done on her as I highly suspect this is the same thing. As I said to the vet who took her, if this is an epidemic, it needs accurate statistics, and I am willing to pay for a necropsy to make sure they know just how bad this is.
So, I'm down to 5 yaks now. Kai is still recovering, and is probably at 90% of his old self. Maria also came down with it, and was roommates with Kate for the last two weeks, but she seems to have recovered sufficiently that I put her back in with Grunt. No more snotty nose, no laboured breathing, no swollen eyelids. Enthusiastic desire to eat and drink to regain the huge amount of weight that she lost. Grunt, Millie and Squeaky have not shown any symptoms thus far and I'm crossing my fingers that they do not. At the moment, I have a 50% fatality rate for critters who get this. Since it is a virus, there is nothing much to do for it aside from treat the symptoms and try to keep them eating and drinking. Kate wasted away to just skin and bones.
This has been a pretty terrible month in a series of bad months. I'm exhausted, but thankful for the aid and support I received from so many people. For those playing along at home, the body count from the last 6 months has been 3 yaks (Kate, Snort and their calf that didn't make it 24 hours) and about a dozen chickens. Farming. Sometimes it sucks. But then I go and feed Squeaky and he gives me so much love that I can't help but be reminded why I have all of these critters in the first place.
To leave off on a more cheerful note, here is the silliest photo I've taken in a long time. Yes, we are sitting on my front porch, he's wearing my hat, and trying to eat my hair. Silly Squeaky.