My Lead Goat's Foot Problem-Advice?
#1
Looking for advice, comments.... My lead goat turned 5 this year, and as he has aged he has developed what I see as a splayed toe/weak pastern issue in his right foot.  That foot also seems to have a bit of an inward "pigeon toe" twist.

It gets worse when he is tired and hiking downhill on steeper trails.  I have tried all sorts of variations of corrective trimming to bring the toes together - nothing works, in fact it seems better when it is trimmed flat. I've tried to take the front of that toe down as much as possible too.  He does grow toe faster on all 4 feet.

This is becoming enough of a problem now that I am pretty sure I have to retire him from packing Sad  which makes me horribly sad. He is an awesome lead goat, he will follow me to Hades and back and never quit.  He keeps us all moving on the trail.  He's also huge at over 41" at the withers and 260+ lbs.  Fortunately, this issue doesn't affect him in his normal daily "goat life" - he plays, runs, jumps etc.  But, a recent strenuous trip left him limping a bit and that foot action was not cool to see on the way out - pastern flexing down, toes splaying out wide...  

I'm hoping that maybe I'm just overreacting but I acknowledge that's probably not likely.  What do y'all think? Is he done?

Here is a pic - it is his right foot (which appears on the left) in this photo:

   

I also made a short video of him walking here:

 
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#2
Oh dear. That does look bad. Is he Saanen? I tend to see a lot of splayed hooves and weak pasterns in the Saanen breed, which is really unfortunate since they are typically very nice packgoats otherwise, and they are the biggest, leggiest breed. I'm not sure what else you can do about it, if it is congenital. So many of these problems that are present from birth don't really show themselves or become an issue until goats are mature and doing a full workload. My Sputnik is six this year and his poor conformation and big size are now catching up to him as well, and like you I'm not sure how much I can do about it. I'm supplementing selenium and vitamin E because I think he has a hard time absorbing that particular mineral, which can contribute to weak pasterns. Sputnik's pasterns are too upright, but x-rays show that the coffin bone inside is almost parallel to the ground. If his joint angles matched the angle of his coffin bone, he should be down on his pasterns, which is a sign of selenium deficiency. I also recently put Sputnik on MSM in hopes of keeping his joints lubricated and comfortable despite their bizarre angles. Maybe some things like that could help your guy. Sputnik did start walking a lot better a week or two after I started him on selenium/Vitamin E so I'm hoping that actually worked and wasn't just a coincidence.

Best of luck to you! These kinds of things are never easy.
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#3
(08-22-2020, 07:41 PM)Nanno Wrote: Oh dear. That does look bad. Is he Saanen? I tend to see a lot of splayed hooves and weak pasterns in the Saanen breed, which is really unfortunate since they are typically very nice packgoats otherwise, and they are the biggest, leggiest breed. I'm not sure what else you can do about it, if it is congenital. So many of these problems that are present from birth don't really show themselves or become an issue until goats are mature and doing a full workload. My Sputnik is six this year and his poor conformation and big size are now catching up to him as well, and like you I'm not sure how much I can do about it. I'm supplementing selenium and vitamin E because I think he has a hard time absorbing that particular mineral, which can contribute to weak pasterns. Sputnik's pasterns are too upright, but x-rays show that the coffin bone inside is almost parallel to the ground. If his joint angles matched the angle of his coffin bone, he should be down on his pasterns, which is a sign of selenium deficiency. I also recently put Sputnik on MSM in hopes of keeping his joints lubricated and comfortable despite their bizarre angles. Maybe some things like that could help your guy. Sputnik did start walking a lot better a week or two after I started him on selenium/Vitamin E so I'm hoping that actually worked and wasn't just a coincidence.

Best of luck to you! These kinds of things are never easy.


Hi Nan.  I don't want to hijack the original posters thread so I am going to send you a PM to ask what type, dose, etc. of MSM and Selenium/Vitamin E you are giving Sptnik?  I have a yearling with a leg/joint issue.
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#4
Yep half Saanen, half Alpine - both dam and sire are from good ADGA bloodlines so I'm disappointed that this has developed.

re supplements - thanks for the info! I do supplement already with Selenium and E - Replamin Plus weekly which gives a good "jolt" of both, plus extra E softgel weekly, and he gets 2 brazil nuts daily as a treat (high source of Selenium as you probably know.)

MSM - vet and I decided to put him on monthly Adequan injections last fall which is glucosamine, as he already seemed to have "stiffness" issues getting up and down.  My 9 yr old Ober has been doing excellent on Adequan for the last couple of years now.  I too would be interested in what type/dosage of MSM you are trying.  BTW I even tried a short course of Silica recently...  I don't think it did anything...

I also focus on keeping his weight down for less stress on his joints, he'd probably be a 300 lb porker by now if I let him free feed. We jokingly call him "Hoover" as he sucks down feed faster than you can believe.

I appreciate you sharing about Sputnik, that info is very helpful, and I am sorry you are seeing these same types of issues develop too.  That is impressive you had his leg xrayed.  I thought of that myself, but I'm not sure it would change any treatment plan - I'm pretty sure there isn't any goat toe/pastern surgery available! At this point, I've had the last 3 livestock vets in my area retire so my options are limited now, and therefore I also now have no access to close emergency care. Really sucks.
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#5
I used to give old Cuzco (or first goat) Cosequin ASU for his joints and it worked very well. He developed arthritis between his toes later in life, not because of poor conformation but from general old age and wear-and-tear. The Cosequin gave him a new lease on life.

Sputnik had less-than-ideal conformation to start with, but when he was 1-2 years old I gave him a diet way too high in alfalfa. I had all my boys together and Cuzco had lost most of his teeth by then so pretty much the only thing he could manage was 3rd or 4th cutting alfalfa with all the soft leaves. Since Finn and Sputnik were growing I thought alfalfa would be good for them, and several packgoat people were also recommending it for growing wethers so I let the young boys have the alfalfa Cuzco was eating. However, I really should have listened to that little voice niggling at the back of my brain that was telling me to be cautious about feeding alfalfa to youngsters. I've seen some young horses whose legs were ruined from eating a lot of alfalfa during their growth years but I thought maybe goats were different. Turns out maybe they aren't. Sputnik's legs turned funny during the spring when his growth spurt kicked in and they've never been the same since. We got lucky with Finn. Not only was he a buck for most of that winter (higher metabolism, slower growth), but he also didn't particularly love the alfalfa and I think gave himself a more balanced diet than Sputnik, who pushed aside everything else and ate only the alfalfa. Later that spring I had the boys up in Fort Collins for a goat show and we took the opportunity to have Sputnik's lower front legs x-rayed since I could tell that he was growing abnormally. The coffin bones had dropped but the rest of the joints were too upright. There was nothing that could be done about it since the growth spurt had ended and the damage was done before I knew what caused it. He's been a stiff mover ever since but hasn't been sore until this summer. I was hoping the soreness wouldn't start for another couple of years, but at least I was prepared that this would happen eventually.

I'm not sure what went on with your guy but I'm going to guess it's a birth defect and not a mineral problem. I would expect a mineral problem to show up in both front legs and not just one. I'm currently giving Sputnik Durvet MSMEQ but since I only started giving it to him a week ago I'm not sure whether it's doing any good. I picked it up because it was cheap. The selenium yeast seems to have made a difference. He's the only goat in my herd that seems to have periodic selenium deficiency. We have enough growing in the plants on our property that I don't generally need to supplement selenium. I bought a supplement for him a couple of years ago to help with his feet and drooping tail (I've read that bent-down tail is a sign of selenium deficiency) and it seemed to help but then I quit that spring because I didn't want to overdose him. The kind I bought back then is no longer available so I'm going to start him on some pellets when the last of this old stuff runs out. We'll see how it goes.

I wonder if you could wrap that one hoof to give it some support. I would try a vetwrap bandage around the toes and see if it helps.
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#6
Yikes, now I'm a bit scared about the alfalfa thing. My lead goat was 2 yrs old when I got him, and his breeder feeds a lot of Chaffhaye which is all alfalfa.  I do too, probably close to 2/3 of their diet and I also took on a buckling last year, he's 1.5 yrs old now - his feet/legs look excellent so far tho. He's 75% Ober. But, he's been eating chaffhaye since he started solid food...

I might try some vet wrap and see if it helps, thanks for the suggestion.
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#7
Chaffhaye is fermented so I'm not sure it presents the same problems as alfalfa. It's kind of in a whole different category I think. Your goat doesn't look like his foot problem stems from alfalfa. There's a very distinctive way that it causes their feet to grow. The front legs will be stiff and almost bow-legged with very upright pasterns, and it affects both front feet, not just one. This looks like a congenital conformation issue rather than a nutrition-related one to me. His large size definitely doesn't help! It's common for people to boast about the size of their packgoats, but it seems like the larger boys often break down a lot sooner than their smaller counterparts. The really big boys need to have outstanding conformation with large, correct feet and legs or they just can't hold up. I see the same thing in horses.
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#8
Interesting info, good to know about the conformation issues to watch for with excessive alfalfa - and thanks for the reassurance on the Chaffhaye. I agree that logically speaking it makes sense it is congenital since it is the one foot  - and has just appeared/worsened as he has aged as you said.

I'll admit there is a "wow" factor to a giant goat, I was gearing up to get on the trail last fall at a campground and my goats drew a lot of attention from the hunters there.  When my lead goat stood up there was this big collective gasp at his size LOL.  I have read about big goats joints breaking down earlier with age, so the early stiffness was not unexpected.  But, this foot thing... ugh.  And he's never been packed with heavy weight either. I'm actually good with a smaller goat, my "ideal" goat right now is 36-37" and 215-230 which is still pretty big. Those measurements happen to exactly be the size of my old Ober Smile

Thanks so much again, for your insights, advice, and comments. This has really been troubling me and I needed to have an experienced viewpoint to guide the direction we need to go with this goat. It's such a shame as he has incredible heart on the trail.
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