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Hi there, I'm back from a week long trip in the Trinity Alps with my two 2 year old Boer goats. Gyro the full blood Boer did great, carrying 35 lbs. the whole way with no problems. Ouija, the Boer LaMancha, was limping slightly on his front left foot on day one, so I took everything out of his panniers and he made it the whole trip but was still slightly favoring the sore foot at the end of the trip. When I inspected his front hoofs I found that he has vertical cracks the length of the hoof on the inside, (between the toes) on all four of his front toes. The hoof he limps on has the biggest crack. My question is, do you think he is limping from these cracks, what causes them, and can I feed him kelp powder or something and let him heal up for a year or so and expect him to be able to pack again? My sister had a horse with a cracked hoof. Is this a similar ailiment?
 

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Hoof health is a big topic with lots of differing problems and causes. The cracks can be from a variety of causes. Here is a link to a great article dealing with Hoof Cracks in cattle, which can easily be transfered to goats in the form of preventative treatment.

http://oregonfeed.org/mehren_art_0904.htm

I have included a brief quote from the article from the Oregon Feed and Grain Association.
Hoof health is affected by many different nutrients. Trace minerals such as zinc, copper, and manganese are important in sound hooves. Vitamins A,D and biotin play a role in hoof development. Fatty acids also play a role in maintaining a waterproof barrier in the hoof. Finally calcium and phosphorus benefit hoof and bone integrity. Since all these nutrients play a role, there isn’t one ‘silver bullet’ that will solve hoof crack problems if all the needed nutrients aren’t available.
 
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