Onion Creek Ranch, Lohn, Texas
Suzanne W. Gasparotto, Onion Creek Ranch, Lohn, TX
Lohn, Texas
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Hoof-related illnesses and injuries in goats come in many varieties, with hoof rot/hoof scald usually being the most common problem. However, other problems can be encountered involving hooves.

Recently two young and recently weaned bucks developed crusty and bleeding sores where the hair meets the hoof at the coronary band. One of the bucks also had an area around one eye displaying the same characteristics. The other buck was walking on his front knees. Appetite, rectal temperature, urination, and defication were normal, but water consumption by the second buck was very high. What did these fellows get into? After much thought and discussion, zinc oxide ointment was applied to the affected areas and procaine penicillin was injected sub-cutaneously into both male goats.

The least-damaged young buck got better quickly, but the second buck continued to move around on his knees and not respond to medication. Could this fellow have been snakebit? Rattlesnakes were beginning to stir in the pastures as spring arrived. Treatment for snakebite was begun but improvement did not follow.

The producer began researching hoof-related diseases in various publications and kept coming back to Dr. Mary Smith's GOAT MEDICINE's description of symptoms of Foot and Mouth Disease. FMD! That means Federal intervention and possible destruction of the entire herd. Contacting a vet to ask questions was a frightening thought; if a vet even suspects FMD, it must be reported to authorities.

Then a lightbulb went on! The ranch hands had been burning brush piles in several pastures a few days before these problems appeared. Investigation revealed that both bucks had been in pastures with burning brush piles. For some unknown reason, these two guys (out of 60+ other goats) decided to walk across hot ashes. Further checking resulted in the discovery of charred flesh between the toes of the buck who was walking on his front knees. This young boy had three badly-burned hooves. Although he had been eating well, he had been drinking huge amounts of water -- which should have been a tip-off that a burn was involved. (The buck with the damaged area around his eye did it himself by scratching his face with a hot hoof, causing the hair to be burned around his eye.) Burn treatment was begun by using Triple Antibiotic Ointment in between the hooves on a daily basis. One buck was soon returned to his herd and the other buck remains under treatment but is improving as fast as a burn can be healed.

Thinking back on it, this was the second time I had heard of this situation. Last year a fellow goat raiser had this experience on his commercial goat ranch in West Texas. This story happened at Onion Creek Ranch in April 2005.

Moral: Goats are terribly inquisitive (also known as "nosy") creatures. When burning brush piles, do not assume that they won't go investigate.

Take appropriate action to keep goats -- especially young ones -- away from hot ashes.

Meat Goat Mania

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All information provided in these articles is based either on personal experience or information provided by others whose treatments and practices have been discussed fully with a vet for accuracy and effectiveness before passing them on to readers.

In all cases, it is your responsibility to obtain veterinary services and advice before using any of the information provided in these articles. Suzanne Gasparotto is not a veterinarian.Neither tennesseemeatgoats.com nor any of the contributors to this website will be held responsible for the use of any information contained herein.

The author, Suzanne Gasparotto, hereby grants to local goat publications and club newsletters, permission to reprint articles published on the Onion Creek Ranch website under these conditions: THE ARTICLE MUST BE REPRODUCED IN ITS ENTIRETY AND THE AUTHOR'S NAME, ADDRESS, AND CONTACT INFORMATION MUST BE INCLUDED AT THE BEGINNING OF THE REPRINT. We would appreciate notification from any clubs or publications when the articles are used. (A copy of the newsletter or publication would also be a welcome addition to our growing library of goat related information!)

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