Goat's toes are pointed inward / crossing -- he can't walk without pain.

I've been helping a friend with her goats and other animals for the past couple months, which includes David the big Nubian mix. David was born with a neurological condition of some sort, and has always had an abnormal gait and has always been somewhat handicapped, but he is now having pain and it's obvious that his front hooves are not working right.

When he walks, his front toes do not spread outward. On his left front hoof, this causes one toe to come down on top of the other, which looks very painful to me. I told his owner that his usual hoof trim 3 weeks ago is not likely to do much for him right now, but she is stretched so thin right now... Anyway, I'm a bit out of my depth here, and I'd like to get some suggestions for how to care for David. Prior to this recent issue with his left front toes crossing, he always had a wobbly step, but he didn't have any pain and kept up just fine with the rest of the herd. He is also only 3 years old, and had a clean bill of health at a recent veterinary workup.

Here are a few pics of his left front hoof. When he steps down, his toes come together at the front, rather than apart. In one picture I'm holding his toes together to show how his toes overlap, causing him to "step on his own toe".



P.S. Excited to be here. After looking after these 12 goats for the past 4 months, I think I may be starting my own herd soon. Smile

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Ouch! It looks like they are severely overgrown, with the inside toe being more overgrown than the outside one. They're going to be hard to trim because they are so thick and hard so it might help to do it after you've had some rain. Or if you are like us and haven't seen a drop in ages, you can stand his front feet in a shallow pan of water for a few minutes before you trim. Make sure your trimmers are good and sharp. It looks like you should be able to trim those pretty aggressively without hitting blood. You probably won't be able to take them down as short as they should be for the first couple of trims, but you can make him a lot more comfortable right away and then shorten them more in the future.

Let us know how he progresses!
I am far, far, far from an expert but I tend to agree with Nanno. I recently had a goat pinch a rear hoof in a rotting out plywood bridge that his foot went through and when he pulled it back out he had a pretty good sized splinter through the side of his hoof wall. I removed the splinter (as much as I could see anyway), and each night for 3 nights I soaked his foot in a warm upsom salt water bath. To do this I put him on the stantion and slowly fed him grain a little bit at a time and tried to get him to stay calm for at least 10 minutes. If this goat won't just stand there and let his foot soak I would try this method. Once it has soaked that long you should really be able to go to town on trimming up that hood and it won't be perfect but you should be able to get him back to a much more comfortable state. It looks to me like with some time and patience you should be able to remove enough that he wont be walking on his other toe. Good luck!
Hmmm... That was my first thought, but the owner insists that his hooves were trimmed 3 weeks ago by our local Ferrier. I'm new to goat hooves, but they sure don't look recently trimmed to me. I wanted to check with some goat people for opinions and gather information before giving him a trim.
Either the farrier didn't do a good job, or the goat accidentally got skipped, or the owner was mistaken. There's no way those hooves have been properly trimmed recently. See how the hoof walls are curled inward and covering the soles? That doesn't happen overnight. Now that the goat is not walking very much it will make the problem worse since he can't wear them down at all on his own.

I notice the goat lives on soft, sandy ground. A pile of boulders in the pen or a daily walk on hard gravel can do wonders for goats' hooves and help them self-trim. I've found that the more my goats exercise, the less maintenance their hooves require. Good luck!
Yeah, that goats hoof looks like it hasn't been trimmed, at least not properly, for months in my opinion. Now, it looks like the pen the goat is in consists of very soft ground so the hooves will not wear down at all on their own in that environment. Its unfortunate that the goat's feet haven't been trimmed properly and that the owner may have been misled regarding the goat being trimmed 3 weeks ago but looking on the positive side, I think that there is a lot of hoof that can be removed without harming the goat or making him bleed and I think it is fairly likely that you can at least get him out of severe pain pretty quickly. obviously you can't fix his neurological problems that will always make his one foot require more consistent care and trimming but I think you can help this goat out a lot. Look up some youtube videos of how to properly trim a goats feet and watch them a few times, take your time, even if you have to tackle the trimming multiple times, and you will learn how much you can remove and what a "normal" hoof looks like.

As a first time goat owner, I let my kids born February 2019 go probably 8 months before I HAD to start trimming because I could see that their hoof walls on some of them were curving under and covering the sole of the hoof. They were not nearly as badly curved/covered as the one side of the hoof of the goat in your photos but they were still very overgrown. The hoof on the goat you have there can really be trimmed A LOT. I do think it will make the job much easier and better for the goat to s oak them in warm water before you trim. Thank you for helping out a fellow goat owner and this particular goat.
Thank you all so much. I appreciate the support very much.

I started applying some hoof builder salve / moisturizer from the feed store to his hoofs to soften them up a bit. I'll probably also do the same for some of the other goats, who all have rather dry, chipped hooves (albeit not as overgrown). I also wrapped his front pasterns with some fabric and vet wrap to take some pressure off of his joints, which seems to be helping him -- he is limping much less and walking about more. So, he's already feeling a bit better.

I need to get some sharper, more nimble nippers before I start trimming. Any recommendations? The only products around here locally are horse and donkey nippers...

Speaking frankly, these goats weren't being cared for sufficiently. However, I'm here spending time with them, looking after them, and they're really showing their appreciation. When I first arrived, they were all a bit distressed and some were downright unruly. Now, they're calm, friendly and a joy to be around. We've even done some training, which a few of them really enjoy.

Yes, the barn & pens are on sandy ground. I'm almost done mending some fencing in a larger pasture with a lot more space and different terrain which they can graze in all day long. At this point, I think that I have enough bond with the herd to walk them more without worrying about them wandering off too much.

I'll let you all know how it goes once I get to trimming. Thanks again.
I've been using these since 2003:

They're still going strong, but the handles don't open and close so well any more. They've gotten stiff despite taking it apart and oiling the screw a couple of times, so I finally bought a new pair just this spring. I haven't even used the new ones yet because the old ones still technically work. Hopefully they still make them as good as they used to!
I just have to chime in - agree that goat's hooves haven't been trimmed in months, wow those are bad... And Nanno's post on the Saboten 1210 trimmers is spot on in my opinion, that's all I use now (along with a good farrier's rasp to get that flat "showroom finish" but that's not strictly necessary) They can be found a bit cheaper on amazon, ebay; northwestpackgoats if you're ordering anything else to combine shipping.
I couldn't really wait, as David was in an increasing amount of pain, so I picked up some trimmers in town and did a first trim yesterday (it'll take a few successive trims). I got all of the curling overgrowth off, so his hoof walls are at least straight. I'm glad I did it quickly, as he had sand and debris, even a pebble lodged in hoof between the overgrowth and the sole. Must have been awful. However, it was dry, and, once it was cleaned thoroughly did not have any soft spots or infection (thank goodness). I must have taken off an inch or more in the worst spots, and there's still more to go.

This morning, he was walking again and even knocking around with his friends. He's still favoring his right leg, but things are so much better. I think this picture from this morning says it all. Yesterday morning he wouldn't even get up. Today, he's doing so much better!

Thank you so much for your guidance. I may have some more questions as I get closer to getting his hoofs flush.

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