limping goat

Discussion in 'Health & Wellness' started by shoafplantation, Jun 4, 2018.

  1. shoafplantation

    shoafplantation Member

    95
    May 18, 2018
    Lexington NC
    I have a 2 year old goat who suddenly started limping. When he stands still, he lifts his front leg off the ground 2 inches. He then started lying to eat grass rather than walking.
    I inspected his leg, foot, hoof and found nothing out of ordinary. He exhibited no pain during inspection. I took him to vet. Vet inspected, found nothing physically wrong, no bones broken. Vet first thought muscle strain, so vet put him on 4 days of anti-inflammatory meds. No change. Then vet said could be nerve related. Vet put him on steroid shots for 2 weeks.
    Very little improvement. He limps less and does now use the leg to paw before lying down. Still holds leg up when standing still.
    He is still solid and healthy, no change in eating or personality.
    He is CAE negative in February. Closed herd. He was given 4g copper bolus 4 days after limp started. (50-60lb Nigerian Dwarf).
    Vet says he doesn't know. Might not improve.
    Any thoughts?? Anyone else dealt with this?
    LW.
     
  2. Goats Rock

    Goats Rock Member

    Jun 20, 2011
    NE Ohio
    Did the vet do any ex-rays? Sometimes, a sprain or strained muscle, ligament or tendon will take 4-6 weeks to heal up. You could soak the foot and leg in hot (not too hot) Epsom salt water (until the water cools) daily for a few days and see if that helps. Have you tried wrapping it for a little extra support? Hopefully he recovers quickly for you.
     

  3. shoafplantation

    shoafplantation Member

    95
    May 18, 2018
    Lexington NC
    Vet didn't do xray. It's Been going on for 3 weeks. Thought about wrapping it, but I also thought that would give him less mobility. He does use the leg while walking. Limp is just slight.
     
  4. aJadeMagnolia

    aJadeMagnolia Member

    76
    May 17, 2018
    Does he have any companion animals that might have hit him? Or perhaps he fell on a stump or some other object. Sometimes a heavy blow can break bones. Was he panting or breathing hard the first couple of days after you noticed him limping? The difference in breathing can be very subtle though. These questions are just starting points to consider.

    One of the possibilities might be a cracked rib, or possibly even another cracked bone. A cracked rib can take a long time to heal, and certain ribs can cause an animal to limp. X-rays don't always pick up cracked bones, as fine cracks can be hard to detect. If you carefully feel his ribs and notice him tensing up or a change in his breathing, or any sharpness, or feel something like a bump on the bone -- by now a larger crack would have begun to heal and create an area of thicker bone. But fine cracks are not so noticeable.

    Another possibility could be a tiny piece of a broken thorn that punctures the hoof, (or the dewclaw area, or around the hoof joint) and breaks off -- that can be hard or even impossible to see with a visual inspection. Eventually these usually clear up by themselves.

    I once had a goat that had a cracked rib that acted very much like what you're describing.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2018
  5. ETgoatygirl

    ETgoatygirl Active Member

    666
    Mar 23, 2012
    I hope that your goat improves! Hmm. I haven't had any experience myself with this, but I have heard from a number of fellow Nigerian Dwarf breeders of this happening to them. I think their's a theory out there that they have a tendency for this. Pholia Farm's website has some of their experiences with limping goats. Best of luck! I'd say rest is always a good thing, or you may look into a joint supplement? It can't hurt.
     
  6. shoafplantation

    shoafplantation Member

    95
    May 18, 2018
    Lexington NC
    Thx for the possibilities. I also figured he stumbled. He was in with 8 girls when this started, so I am doubting they were aggressive with him.
    He had no breathing changes.
    I also considered the ribs or shoulder. I have given him several good rubdowns, finding nothing and getting no reaction from him.........other than making me smell REALLY bad.
    The thorn in the foot was my initial thought. I have looked and cleaned his foot but I can't find anything, and he doesn't flinch any when I checked him. Maybe there is something broken off in the hoof that I can't see, but he is not indicating to me where exactly it is.
    On the bright side, his limp is diminishing, and he is using the leg a little more now. We are weaning him off of the steroids. He has 3 more minimal shots to go. I hoping he will continue to improve after the meds stop. Someone else suggested giving him selenium. We are not suppose to be low in mid NC, but I might try that too.
    Thx.
     
  7. shoafplantation

    shoafplantation Member

    95
    May 18, 2018
    Lexington NC
    Th
    thx
     
  8. shoafplantation

    shoafplantation Member

    95
    May 18, 2018
    Lexington NC
    Thank you, thank you! I read Pholia Farm info and it is exactly, to the T, what I am dealing with. I'm at least glad I'm not the only one who has seen this. I have contacted Pholia Farm now.
     
  9. aJadeMagnolia

    aJadeMagnolia Member

    76
    May 17, 2018
    I've kept Nigerian Dwarfs for 15 years now, and limping is not something I have seen much of. The cracked rib in my herd was caused by a nasty blow given by a doe. Nigerian Dwarfs are very resilient and hide their pain quite well so it can be very difficult to know there was an injury without actually witnessing it.

    Incorrect conformation in any breed can potentially make them more prone to injury, though that is not the only factor. My does without perfect conformation haven't had any limping problems. The limping goat I had with a cracked rib actually had perfectly straight legs. And with hoof rot ruled out, injury really seems to be the predominant cause of most limps.

    I have some goats that are descendants of Rosasharn's lines. Two of Rosasharn's foundation bucks had legs that were not straight, one of them had legs that turned outwards, and one had legs that faced inwards. One of them was Goodwood Tom Thumb. Unfortunately, incorrectly placed legs seems to be frequently passed down through the generations. Some are from very good dairy lines, and no animal is perfect conformation-wise, but I think we should consider that when it comes to choosing a breeding buck. If it is a pair of legs that are not ideally placed, that's one thing, but if one leg is particularly different in placing I would not consider that a good breeding prospect. But the dairy qualities of the breed have been far too frequently ignored, so I think that Rosasharn has been instrumental in preserving the dairy aspect. It was much harder to find purebred breeding bucks back in the 80's and early 90's when they started, the ND breed was very rare then so one has to take that into consideration, you couldn't be as particular back then.

    One of my first does came from a particularly mean line, and I eventually culled that line from my herd as the meanness seemed to breed true and I didn't want any further herd injuries. Occasional fighting or butting is normal among goats, and good exercise. But I don't tolerate any animal that is exceptionally vicious. Particularly not in a breed that isn't known for being mean. I know this is not the case with every breed, so determining what is acceptable in behavior and disposition must be considered in the context of which breed the goat belongs to. After suffering a cracked wrist from a nasty goat of a larger breed I decided to keep the Nigerian Dwarf breed, I find them to be much easier to handle and generally of gentler disposition.

    Even an animal with ideal conformation can suffer a cracked rib/bone however, so I took some precautionary measures and haven't had any limping for many years now. One of those measures was removing as many obstacles out of their confined areas as possible.

    When they are out in a field with plenty of room that's one thing, and the chances of getting injured on stumps, benches, stands, rocks, etc. are incredibly rare. But being confined in a smaller area can cause them to become cranky and throw it out on each other. When they are confined in a barn during bad weather, in pens, in their shelter at night, etc. I don't like having any obstacle around that they can get injured on. They have a hay feeder, of course, but nothing to play with or jump on.

    Another thing to consider is that certain diets can cause their bones to be more brittle and prone to injury/breaking/cracking. Processed feeds from national brands aren't the best for bone health. Corn doesn't contribute to bone health either. Excessive sugar, baking soda among other things can also be contributing factors.

    On the other hand, Thorvin kelp can be a helpful nutritional supplement that can speed the healing process. If you suspect or know the location of the injury, a salve can be helpful. Otherwise, I have found BetterDaze really helps speed the healing of injuries of unknown location.

    You can't prevent every injury, but I have found that by changing their diet they have been more resilient. I had a doe that was a few years old when I purchased her that tended to not like to walk much, her joints creaked and the vet ruled out every possible cause except for diet. Took her off of a national brand of feed they had been feeding her before I acquired her and after several months she was very active and had no further joint problems, so much so that when she was 9 years old she had more mobility and loved to run and play more than when I first got her. An animal that isn't physically fit will be more prone to injury.

    I've tried to be thorough and mentioned everything I could think of, but in your case I don't think you have to worry about conformation or a mean animal. As for a buck being injured by does, that is not only quite possible, but I've had it happen to one of mine years ago. Sometimes the does don't like having a buck around and throw it out on the poor buck, even if he's the gentlest buck around. My buck never retaliated and just took the blows meekly. You'd be surprised how powerful a hit a doe is capable of. Especially if they're pregnant, it's actually quite normal, so if safer company is available it might help to separate him. I don't like keeping animals alone, goats really need company in order to thrive, so when I first started and only had one buck I had no other choice. I have other bucks now so I try to protect them by not keeping them with the does. Anyone reading this who has no experience with the ND breed might not understand, but many ND bucks are incredibly sweet and gentle. They'll try to defend themselves from other bucks, but might just stand still and take a blow from a doe. If that blow hits their ribs and/or leg with sufficient force, well, that can be quite an injury. And that can take some time to heal.