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Teeth Grinding

3913 Views 8 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  sweetgoatmama
While trimming hooves on Sunday, one of our goats was grinding really hard on this teeth. At first I didn't think much of it.

Later, while hiking with our 4-H group we noticed that the grinding was really bad and he was shaking his head a lot. I thought perhaps he was chewing on a rock or something but we examined him and nothing in his mouth.

As I started to piece things together I recalled that he did take any treats while on the stanchion and my daughter said he wouldn't eat that morning.

Still not thinking much of it, Monday came and went with similar behavior, no eating lots of teeth grinding ... But this morning my daughter (she's 10) was really upset because Oreo still "just didn't seem right" ... he wasn't greeting here in the same way, wasn't nibbling at her boots like he does *every* morning, etc. Having brushed my daughters' instincts off in the past with devastating consequences ... I heeded her concerns and called the vet.

And that's when I got an education about teeth grinding and it being an indicator of pain. The vet explained that the goats, being of a herd mentality, while generally mask most symptoms of illness and when the pain gets severe they start grinding ... so good idea to pay close attention to that one.

Luckily, we've ruled out some of the more disconcerting things, like urinary calculi. His x-rays were good, temp normal, lungs good, and he even peed while at the vet, so must be drinking. His rumen was very slow, but it was moving ... so we are doing some blood work and putting him on a couple of days of pro-biotics and some B-12 while we monitor progress. So, still not entirely out of the woods, not sure where the pain is coming from, but ... very glad that this time I trusted the intuition of my daughter!
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That was very interesting. I have to admit that after all these years of raising goats, I have never experienced a goat grind its teeth that way. Keep us posted as to the cause. Maybe it has something to do with its teeth hurting?
Your vet is right, in prey animals it's a symptom of pain and not necessarily, in fact seldom. connected to their mouths.

They do that as they don't want to make louder noise that brings attention to themselves.
Unfortunately, my two older boys grind their teeth while laying down chewing their cud, their mother was just as bad about it, and they learned it from her.... :roll:
So i don't know if i would even know it if there was a pain issue involved, other than being off their feed which neither one ever is... :?
I sincerely hope we are the exception to that rule :!:
I had a horse that did it all her life and she never was sick or lame, so I guess she must have just had a weird reaction to life.
sweetgoatmama said:
Your vet is right, in prey animals it's a symptom of pain and not necessarily, in fact seldom. connected to their mouths.

They do that as they don't want to make louder noise that brings attention to themselves.
Well I guess mine didn't read the "How to hide from predators" manual because they usually just cry when they hurt. :cry:
I suspect the key here is knowing what is a deviation from "normal" behavior. For this goat, as my daughter recognized, it was abnormal ... and to be clear, not what I would consider normal "grinding". It was quite loud and accompanied by quite a bit of head shaking ... it seemed very clearly to be an expression of discomfort. Additionally, it was one of several abnormal signs ... the goat also wasn't eating. So I think it is important to consider the whole picture.

That said, the good news is our goat is back to normal. He spent two more days not eating. We were giving him a probiotic/yogurt/alfafa mixture via syringe during these days, he also got a shot of B-12. By day three the grinding had stopped completely and he was eating, drinking, peeing, pooping, all normally.
We had a doeling that did this she got hurt in the trailer. This was my fault and I learned from it but what a way to learn.We were on the way to a linear appreasal about a hour and a half away. We had all our goats, big ones and babies. We put them all in the horse trailer. Well, we learned you have to tie them up. One of the does must have really slammed this one baby around. When we got to our destination, she wouldn't stand up or come out with the other goats. Of course by this time she was easy pickings for being butted around by everyone. so we kept her out of our little holding pen. She would just stand and looked puffy. She wouldn't eat or drink and all the experienced goat people and even the judge said that she was just showing signs of not handling the ride up there. I kept asking if they thought she was hurt by another goat, and they all said no.
Well the next day she was running a slight temp and still wouldn't eat or drink from her bottle. She was grinding her teeth big time and I figured it must have been because she hurt. Our prego does sometimes grind their teeth when getting ready to kid. I gave her some banamine and after about a half hour she would eat a tiny bit and act fine, but later she would be back to being puffy and grinding her teeth. By the third day I was calling a vet friend and she agreed that she must have gotten smashed by a goat and was probably busted in the insides. She wanted to know how much this goat meant to us as far as trying to fix her. Well, I had to say that we loved her with all our hearts, but we couldn't do a really high vet bill. She said ok, and then gave me an option to take a chance and maybe she had only ruptured a tiny hole somewhere inside her. She had me start her on Penicillian 3 times a day for 5 days and keep up with the banamine. After the second treatment she started eating and drinking from her bottle and after we were all done with the meds, she was fine. She walked slower than normal for quite awhile but now you would think nothing had ever happened to her.
That tooth grinding is sure way to tell if they are hurting.
So I learned two things, 1. Always tie up my goats when in the trailer, 2. Even though I am a novice, listen to your gut instincts. I should have called my vet friend sooner and not listened to everyone.
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I just had a horse this week treated by the horse dentist for impacted baby teeth whose only symptom was tooth grinding.

Had to have three teeth pulled.

Anytime you hear grinding when the animal isn't eating you need to pay attention. I have seen horses that did it for apparently no reason, but it is a warnng sign for pain.
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