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dehorning recovery

6818 Views 9 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Nanno
Does anyone have experience with dehorning recovery in an older goat? Our Togg that had the skull fracture experienced some complications yesterday and had to be emergently dehorned. He was born July 1 this year so he is about 20 weeks old and had very heavy horns. He is really uncomfortable and I have not removed the bandages yet (im afraid to!!) and he is still a little weak from the blood loss leading up to the procedure, but he is eating okay. What is in store for us during the recovery process?
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How was he dehorned and was it just the injured horn or both?
You should consult your vet for details on how to dress and treat the wound. Since the horn only came off yesterday it seems too soon to remove the first bandage, but your vet would know better about that. How was the horn removed? Did your vet do it?

I know when we got Cuzco back after his horn operation, the vet had us change the bandage about every other day I think (it's been a long time, so I'm not positive about that). And I dressed it with iodine paste, Nolvasan, or nitrofurazone, depending one what was handy at the moment. When it was really weepy I think I also sprinkled a bit of Wonder Dust around the wound. We had him on a course of antibiotic shots once a day for about a week, and some painkiller shots (banamine maybe? do people use that for goats?) for about three days. Sorry... it was more than five years ago, so I'm a little fuzzy on some of the details now.

But I was truly amazed at how quickly Cuzco recovered from his injury. Within 24 hours he had discovered that he could now climb through the panels if he turned his head sideways and we said "So much for keeping him in away from the horses where he'll have it safe and easy." He started getting pretty ornery about the shots and bandaging after about two days. And within a two weeks he was back to work and pulled his cart in the 4th of July parade, then spent all afternoon toting kids around the park. He wore a sporty blue bandana to hide the bandage. Within about six weeks all the hair had grown over, and except for the missing horn you would never know there had been a wound! This was amazing to me because the wound was a good five inches across when it was new and there was a half-inch hole right down through his head!

Our only regret is that we did not have a socket installed in that hole. We could have screwed implements into it, like a prosthetic horn, or a hook, or a candle holder. That would have been amazing!!

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I like your idea about the sockets...the possibilities are endless...he could wear deer antlers just for fun and really intimidate the others!

This is the same baby that got in a head-on with another goat :) and suffered a skull fracture and dislodged his horn sheath from the fascia. This was a month ago. And a couple of days ago, I commented how he has recovered so well and he was feeling great and the horn looked and felt healed, so we took him and his stall-mate for a little walk (he has a lamancha buddy that lives with him that is the same age--they were raised together) as they are kept completely in the barn so he could recoup from the fracture, and I thought they would enjoy some sunshine so we set off on a walk, and before ya know it, they were both running around like wild little animals and he bumped his head, grossly dislodging his horn sheath.

His vet from U of I caine center suggested we pack it in corn starch to stop the bleeding (it was really bad) and "either pull it off or leave it" we opted to leave it as it was not "loose" per say. He did not seem like he was in pain at all, he still wanted to play but he was bleeding so badly it was running into his eyes and he could not see. So, we got the bleeding controlled with some corn starch and direct pressure and put him back into his stall.

We were told that it will stop bleeding and the horn will dry up a bit and eventually fall off of the horn bone (i cant remember the exact word) and a new horn will grow over it. Well, sometime during the night he bumped it again and nearly bled out. We ended up getting him to the vet and they advised that we remove both of the horns.

So we'll see what the site looks like today when we remove the bandages. They said that the bandaging is more "for the owners benefit" and that we need not re-dress it unless we want to and that we just needed to leave it and let it heal. So i'll try to get a few pics today and let ya know how it goes.
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Hi ashley,
That's sad for little Moose. :( A lady on another forum I am on banded her young bucks' horns, but he seems to have been like Moose and got in a fight, knocking one of them off prematurely. Because the forum in registered users only (you can't see any posts without being registered) I can't post you a link, but here is an edited copy of the post - names edited to be the first letter of their username with the number of person with that initial. Individual users' status, location, number of posts, signatures and avaters all edited out too - except for mine. :)
NONE of the original conversation has been edited out, (not even any spelling/grammer mistakes) so you can see both sides of all the arguments. Sorry about the smilies, because there are more than ten (this board says it won't let me have any more than ten - I didn't know that :) ) there are just the symbols. Many of the smilies on the other forum aren't even on this board at all, need to ask Rex to give us a few more. :)
There is a post of mine too, feel free to ask about anthing I have said or has been said below. :)

[by post author, let's call her J1]
Posted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 10:32 am

Hi everyone,

So i banded a 7 month old bucks horns a couple of weeks ago. He must of gotten into a fight with one of the other boys because one of the horns snapped off right down near the base. It has left a hole in his head that goes right down to his sinus. It didn't bleed surprisingly. I have flushed it out a few times and snot comes out. I put betadine down there and am making sure no maggots get in. Ewww yuk.
Anyway i noticed today he can breathe through the hole..... so disturbing.
So is there anything i can do for this guy?
Will the hole close over? it has been a week and no change.
I'm worried if i pack it with anything it will slip down and go into his sinus. He seems ok in every other way, it must be sore though because when i go to clean it he pulls away and does what he can to keep me away.

Thanks so much...


[post by someone else, let's call her B1]
Posted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 11:21 am

J1, the hole will close over, just let it dry out and keep an eye on it.

Posted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 11:45 am

Even with snot coming out of it?? Should i continue to flush it out or just leave it??

[another lady, let's call her J2]
Posted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 6:37 pm

eeeewwww snoty head :shock: I had the Vet take one of my bucks horns backto the base and I also could see the sinus,The Vet packed it with Betadine soaked cotton wool and then put Stockholm tar to seal and keep the flys off and gave him a shot of anti Biotics.He told me it would just seal over and to be carefull if I took the dressing off( he bled and the Vet tied it off).It got very smelly and pussie and I kept spraying it with purple spray.It did seal up and the horns grew back beautifuly :eek: :eek: :shock: :roll: The Vet couldnt belive it,J2

Posted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 6:46 pm

J1, where is the snot coming out of, his nostril or the hole in his horn area. We had a buck that when we trimmed the horn it had a hole you could put your little finger, I put terramycin (Pink eye powder) in it, put sterile gauze over the horn area (not in the hole, just over the top) and put surgical sticky tape over the remaining horn area to hold it on. I also gave him a shot of antibiotic. When I took it off several weeks later, the hole was still open so I left it without any further dressing etc and it healed over nicely, just kept any eye on it that it didn't get moist and if need be keep flies off it (I didn't have any fly problem).

Posted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 7:07 pm

Yes the snot is coming out of his head!! Well that's what it looks like anyway. I flush it out and it just all comes out. The tissue inside is nice and pink, not red or ***** looking.
So basically it is going to take a while but will close over, just keep cleaning it out, pink spraying it to keep flies away. But not much else i can do.
The flies seem to be staying away which is good.
Thank you all

[Another lady, who has had a lot of problems with improper disbudding, lets call her F1]
Posted: Fri Apr 08, 2011 7:58 pm

J2 :lol: I know what that feels like too !!!

last year we had 3 males kids by fergus .......... all born on the same day from 2 differnt does ..........all were disbudded at 3 days old ......... by 4 weeks it became obvious the one we were keeping a buck would have 2 horns grow anyway .......... both whethers had 1 bad scur each ...........

at 7 weeks the bucks horns got infected -puss oozing out of his head. We took him to the vet and he knocked him out and cut them off with a little hacksaw ..........gave him antibiotics put on a dressing then said spray with cetrigen after it came off ......... the holes into his sinus had not yet formed and he eventually healed without any more trouble - except his horns grew back :C

2 weeks later ( 6th nov )we noticed 1 whether had a ***** horn ....... before rushing off 100km to the vet Phil squeased his brothers scur and out came puss a well .......... so they both had the same operation as the buck ( and the vet even gave us a discount for 2 :S ) being a bit older they both had big holes going down into the sinus. ...... .same treatment .......... 2 weeks later more puss another lot of antibiotics .........mid december 1 (pip ) has puss again picked up more AB plus spray twice daily with cetrigen healed over .......... january Pip ***** again .......... rang vet who suggested try carb and vinegar mixed to a paste and put on to draw it then after a few days back to cetrigen ......... this seemed to do the trick ............

the march 22nd its ***** again !!! we put the poultice on daily for a week and gave him 2 tsp of vit c morning and night ( didnt bother with the vet :C :C ) that seemed to do it ...........

the today its ***** again :S ...........this time we are trying some stuff called Wound clean ......... then will follow up with poultice ........then cetrigen ( everyone says it good but so far it seems useless :cry: and wondering whether to go back to the vet

and after reading above wondering if it could be snot coming out the top of his head :?

so after all that waffle I dont really have any advice except that it can be a long haul trying to heal it up ...........


[Another lady, let's call her M1]
Posted: Sat Apr 09, 2011 7:51 pm

Hi, There,, Try Pure Honey From a Bee Keeper For The Hole in the Bucks Head,
Works Wonders',a Friend of Mine Used it on Her AngloNubian Doeling Whom Had the Horns'
Removed By Her Vet,(The Honey Has too Be Pure)This Lady Uses' it All The Time As She Has Horses',
Whom Seem too Have one Problem after another.....Hope it Helps........M1..........

[Yet another lady, a friend of mine, let's call her G1]
Posted: Sat Apr 09, 2011 8:25 pm

And the best medicinal honey is cold extracted and raw.The smaller the bee operation the more likely it will be cold extracted.
Its worth asking the beekeeper some questions. Most beekeepers use steam to extract.

Posted: Sun Apr 10, 2011 9:33 am

How would i use the honey? tip it into the hole?
I did some research and found that that snot looking stuff is his body's natural filler trying to fill the hole so it is best i leave it and stop cleaning it out.

Posted: Sun Apr 10, 2011 11:15 am

Hi, J1........My Friend Just Poured the Honey into the Hole and Topped it up each
Morning and kept an eye on it ,And the Doe Was on Antibiotics as Well.But it Worked
She Used Capillano Honey From The Supermarket,For Give The Spelling.......M1.

[Another lady, let's call her D1]
Posted: Sun Apr 10, 2011 5:21 pm

Hey J1 - I had the same thing with one of my girls. We cut her horn and took a bit too much. She bled everywhere for about five minutes and then it finally stopped. When we had a good look at it there was a lovely hollow all the way down to her skull. The next day it had filled with a jelly like substance - I assumed it was the horn trying to naturally heal itself. I just sprayed with Centrigen to kee the flies away and keep it clean and it healed all by itself. I would stop flushing it and let the goat heal itself :D

I think there is a thread way back in here somewhere about my panic when it happened to me :D

Posted: Sun Apr 10, 2011 8:48 pm

Ok great thank you all so much. Haven't flushed it for a couple days now so will leave it and hopefully it will heal itself. Shame they grow back. I'll be too scared to band another horn in case it happens again.
Do you think i went down too far? Or is it just because it broke off and didn't come off slowly with the band?
The other side isn't even half way through. It will interesting to see what that one is like when it comes off. Hopefully no more holes it is quite disturbing!

[Another lady, let's call her D2]
Posted: Sun Apr 10, 2011 10:32 pm

J1, a friend of mine who had a buck disbudded by the vet has exactly the same problem. She also used the natural pure raw honey and claims it worked a treat. Also if you have pm G1 I do know she sells the most wonderful raw honey. I have a funny story about that but will put it in the coffee shop later.

[Another lady, let's call her T1]
Posted: Mon Apr 11, 2011 8:29 am

We swear by honey as a medicinal agent. Some of our horses have had pretty major accidents and/or surgeries and our vet actually prescribes the use of honey. We also use lime as a cutting agent, but you won't need that with your goat. The last two times have been on horses with major wire cut leg injuries - one even had to have surgery and was in a cast for 6 weeks. But both have healed virtually scar and infection free and we put it down - in great part - to the honey.

Raw and unfiltered honey is fabulous, however we weren't able to obtain any at that stage so we bought the activated manuka honey from the health food shop. We now have a local source of raw unfiltered honey and use it. My vet also suggests mixing it into a paste with copper sulphate and use it between the does toes. We had a lot of trouble with feet with all that wet weather a few months ago and this worked so well. It would stick up there in the hoof and clear up any lingering lurgy bits!

Posted: Mon Apr 11, 2011 9:59 am

T1 that a great tip for wet hooves - I am going to try that one - I have has loads of trouble with feet this Summer :T

Posted: Thu Apr 14, 2011 7:33 pm

Well the hole seems to be filling itself up, the top is starting to look scabby from the snot looking stuff drying out. So hopefully it will all heal over soon :)

Posted: Thu Apr 14, 2011 8:37 pm

That's great :D I hope the top doesn't get knocked off during rutting.

[This is myself - Kudumba Cazz on this forum]
Posted: Mon May 02, 2011 10:24 pm

{Quote J1 wrote:
Ok great thank you all so much. Haven't flushed it for a couple days now so will leave it and hopefully it will heal itself. Shame they grow back. I'll be too scared to band another horn in case it happens again.
Do you think i went down too far? Or is it just because it broke off and didn't come off slowly with the band?
The other side isn't even half way through. It will interesting to see what that one is like when it comes off. Hopefully no more holes it is quite disturbing!}

Woops, didn't notice this thread. :B
I think it was probably because it broke off, not came off naturally. Ours are very neat and clean when the horn falls off, but quite a lot of blood and sometimes pus when the horns got broken off. Scurs are not nearly as major as horns, and we've never had a problem with them.
If the other side isn't even half way, that seems to indicate that the other side definitely wasn't ready to come off. On another forum I am on, some people had their adult goats' horns removed and they were the same, with a hole going down, but fixed up and didn't grow horns back again.
We have used the Manuka honey before, for a doe who tore her teat right open, and it worked great. We washed it with saline soloution, then put honey on a pad, placed it on the teat, and taped it on. As we had to milk her, it was a bit difficult but she did really well, and after redoing the bandage every day, she was totally right in about two months. The only thing was that soon before healing, I had accidently knocked a tiny torn flap of skin out of it's spot, and she was too sore for me to push it back into place, so she healed with a little 'tab' on her teat.
M2 had a product she mentioned which was a good filler for wounds, which I mentioned would be great if anyone's goat got a hole in it's head from the horn being knocked out.

For our goats' heads after their horns come off, we use that purple spray stuff.

Frosty, we have never had a problem with scurs, although have had a few reburnt at a month or so old.

Cazz of Kudumba Stud
and Stud manager of Waygara Stud
Breeding registered, purebred Toggenburgs and a few cute crossbreds
Waygara Stud and fully insured Animal Petting Farm - check out our website,

Posted: Tue May 03, 2011 8:40 pm

The product is called Packing Keystone - see page 17 of the Shoof 10/11 Catagogue. Theres' also an adhesive tape to go with it but I just use Leg/Tail tape - see page 46 of same catalogue.
I highly recommend the Keystone.
We do our own honey so could always keep some out before filtering it - it would have bits of wax and the occasional bit of bee in it! But if people want this let us know. We do a course filter like a sieve and then through a cloth like a v fine flys screen to filter. All done cold though in winter we put honey over a light globe before fine filter or it does not run through- even though we are lucky and have honey all year round!

Posted: Wed May 04, 2011 8:48 pm

I really need to get some honey to try. I'm in the middle of renovating and just moved house so have been a bit slack.
The hole hasn't closed up at all :( Doesn't seem to be much if any snot coming out of it anymore.

Posted: Wed May 04, 2011 10:38 pm

Sounds like a case for the use of keystone packing. ;)

Posted: Fri May 06, 2011 1:49 pm

I had a look in the Shoof mag and as i understand you use the keystone over the top and bandage it on?? Will have to get some to try. How does it work?

Posted: Fri May 06, 2011 4:47 pm

I had a doe that completely knocked her one horn off at the base so that the skull membranes could be seen pulsing above the brain. I pulled off enough of the Keystone packing and molded it to a shape whereby some packing was in the hole and the rest lay flat 1cm around the outside of the hole. I then used the tape to secure it in place. The tape sticks well to hair. By the time the tape came off the keystone was adhered to the bone and stayed in place on its own. As the hole shrank the keystone merely disintegrates.
In the situation created by accidently sawing off a horn too low I push the keystone into the horn opening. I then apply tape to keep in in place for a day.

Posted: Fri May 06, 2011 7:34 pm

keystone packing is also available for the farmers mailbox

Posted: Sat May 07, 2011 12:44 am

Ahhhh i get it now, sounds like handy stuff, will have to order some! Thanks so much, will let you know how it goes :)

[end of post]
I hope that might be helpful, despite me not having time to make all the posters' in bold so it is easier to see. It did end well eventually and the buckling is all well. I can't remember if he grew horns/scurs though - he hadn't been disbudded at all. He is an Anglo Nubian. For any more info on the posts, posters or anything else, feel free to PM or ask me. :p
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Lots of good info there, Cazz.

Ashley, even if your vet says it's not necessary, I know I'd personally feel better about having a bandage over the wound until the sinus heals over. It was summer when Cuzco lost his horn, so among other things, I really didn't want flies going down there and laying eggs. That would be disgusting. But I still wouldn't want dirt or other foreign objects getting down into the sinus cavity.

Reading about using honey on the wounds reminds me... I think I probably used sugar. It is excellent for preventing infection and keeping swelling to a minimum. I always keep a big shaker bottle of it in my medical box. The biggest concern with sugar or honey is that it causes animals to chew on it. If your goat is by himself this won't a problem since he can't chew on his own head. But if he's with other goats, you could spray the outside of the bandage with something yucky.
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This has all been sooooooo helpful!! He seems to be doing well today. He was bright eyed and interested in visiting, which is a relief as he had taken to laying or standing in the corner of the stall and had the glazed-over look in his eyes. I think we are on the road to recovery. I'll try to get some pictures of his little head on here, its kinda interesting how this process works...and terrifying if you've never been through it.
I do have another question relating to the opposite end of him....he was banded about two weeks ago and his testicles are starting to atrophy and smell like decay. The vet checked them when he was doing surgery and said they are okay, but today I noticed a small tear in the skin. Like i said, they are mushy but starting to shrivel and smell. There is no drainage and no infection at the site of the band. This should be okay, right? Banding is new to me to, I have only delt with surgical castration in the past.
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So glad to hear Moose is doing better! It doesn't sound like the banding is a problem since he's not sore or inflamed. He'd also have a temperature and would probably look depressed if he had an infection. Sounds like he's doing well.
Sounds like he is getting better. :mrgreen:
With the banding, sounds like it is normal for his age (we've never had any smell or mushiness with our's, quite likely because we've only done them up to three months old and they shrivel/dry up pretty quick) but I would def. put some wound spray/disinfectant on just to be safe. We use purple spray stuff, not sure what it is called.
I used Blu-Kote on Cuzco's banding site. Is that the purple spray you're talking about Cazz? His started to stink a bit towards the end. They never completely dropped off on their own, but when they were getting rotten and it was obvious there was no blood supply, I used some scissors and finished the job. It was quite painless because all the tissue was long dead at that point. For some reason they just didn't want to let go and I was tired of seeing the nasty, putrid things hanging there.
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