"United we bargain, divided we beg."

Friday, January 8, 2010

Hoof Rot

Trimmed the goat's hooves today. Best argument I can think of for having only three goats. Trimming is nasty, and dangerous. I got through it this time without spilling any blood (human or caprine) but that is by no means a given. In the past I have cut both myself and the goat deeply enough to require pressure, iodine, and bandages.

Since trimming hooves is such a tough job, I tend to procrastinate. I'm afraid I must confess that my goat's hooves looked like crap. My photos turned out terrible, but the above picture is the best of the bunch. Ignore the dirt - of course hooves are always dirty. But can you see the bright white hoof wall along the outside edge? And the dark line between that and the yellowish interior of the hoof? That dark line is a gap, a space between the hard hoof wall and the softer inner surface of the hoof. And that gap is packed with crap.


Regular trimming is supposed to eliminate that gap, so that the hard shell of the hoof adheres closely to the soft inside and there is nowhere for dirt and manure to collect. Packed-in manure can lead, as you might imagine, to infections and disability. In severe cases, the infection reaches the bone and goat is crippled. This infection is called hoof-rot.

My goats are fine - they aren't lame at all. However, they do indeed have spots of hoof rot. There are varying opinions on the preventability of hoof rot - my veterinarian told me that in this wet climate, some amount of hoof rot is pretty much inevitable. You just watch them closely and when you find hoof rot you trim vigilantly and frequently. The wet winter (and fall, and spring..) months are conducive to hoof rot. Just keep the barn dry and trim, trim, trim. In the summer months, it tends to resolve.

Two of my does have only very small spots on one hoof each, but the last doe has fairly extensive rot in one of her front hooves. I need to commit to trimming every two weeks (as opposed to every four-to six weeks normally) until the issue is resolved.

Wish me luck - I don't want to lose a finger.


Tonia said...

The place we moved from last summer was very wet. It was in a flood plain. One of my goats girl had Foot Scald its different and not as serious as Hoof rot can get. But it can lead to Hoof rot. It made her sore and I had to keep stuff to dry it out on it. Took about 2 months for it to completely clear up since it was so wet this last summer. But she is fine now!!
To make goats perfect all they need to dois trim their own hooves!LOL That is one of the hardest things for me to get done!

Kathy aka Herefordmaid said...

My girls show lambs in the 4H in WV. We have to watch them close to keep them from getting hoof-rot. We bought some hoof-rot medicine at the local feed store and it seems to work pretty well. It is contagious and if one has it they can all get it. After cleaning their pens we regulary spray them down with a disinfect or a mixture of bleach and water.

Unknown said...

We don't have a lot of hoof problems here (dry climate, winter cold), but folks use a copper sulfate bath for the feet in susceptible or affected animals. I have seen troughs sunk into the ground so that the animals have to walk through the solution to get from field to barn or vice versa, and that way their feet get 'rinsed' every day. I am not sure what it would take to get a goat to soak it's feet though - they'd probably just jump the water!

The sheep don't much like foot trimming either - I do it while I have them in the headgate, most of the time. Much less risk of me getting swatted in the face with a freshly trimmed and very sharp hoof in that setup.

Good luck!

Tonia said...

Goats would jump it or climb the fence to avoid stepping in it. You would have to individually dip each foot. NOt fun! They dont appreciate it either! Its usually Koppertox that you use..

Throwback at Trapper Creek said...

Have you seen Pat Coleby's Natural Goat Care? It is similar to her cattle, horse and sheep books, but her premise is that most of these common "diseases" that we see these days are due to a mineral imbalance. In the case of foot rot, it is copper. I know people freak out about feeding copper, and will recommend against that, but the body needs to heal from within. You can purchase copper sulfate in small amounts at the feed store possibly (our feedstore carries bulk seeds, minerals etc.)

Acres USA, carries her books and should have some articles on their online archives. Anyway, food for thought... .

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