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.
Friday, January 8, 2010
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.