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Goats/fallen pasterns

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QUESTION: One of my goats, a 9yr old Oberhasli/Alpine wether, has fallen pasterns on both hind legs.  Can the pastern be wrapped or is there a boot that might help support this area and provide relief for my Pippin or at least slow the progress of decline in the pastern?  Thanks!

ANSWER: Hi there - so fallen pasterns are generally a genetic item - if the parents had this then the offspring will have it.  It is possible that he is low on selenium.  At 9 years of age that is not old and generally fallen pasterns occur at an older age of 12 or 13 years.  The overall condition of the animal also has a part to play.  If the goat is overweight then that will cause the pasterns (which are genetically weaker) to fall earlier.  No wrapping or boots will do anything to help.  Is Pippin over weight?  Is he a packgoat who possibly has been carrying heavier loads than he should?  Is he up to date on his selenium/vitamin E and D supplement?  Even if he has a mineral with selenium in it available to him that is generally not enough for most goats, and if it is selenium deficiency it is possible starting him on selenium with E and D may just help.  I do not use the Bo-Se injection as you have to give vitamin D too to make things work the best.  I use human oral vitamins/minerals - he would need ten of the 200 mcg selenium tablets crushed and dissolved in a little hot water and to that add all the oil from a 1000 IU capsule of vitamin E and all the oil from an 800 IU capsule of vitamin D, mix, cool and give orally.  Repeat same dosing in 10 days.  If it is selenium deficiency at 10 days you should see a little improvement.  You will not overdose him using this method and even if it is not selenium deficiency it will not hurt him.  Does he look like he is in pain? If so he can have human 325 mg aspirin at one of these per 150 pounds body weight two to three times a day - again crushed and dissolved in a little hot water - this will help pain and inflammation.  Let me know - Donna

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QUESTION: Thanks Donna.  Pippin is not overweight and he has only packed once or twice.  He is low-man in the herd, so it may be that he did not get as much mineral supplement, with the selenium, as the others.  I will try the selenium/vitamin E and D supplement you advise.  I understand there is nothing to be done about 'fixing' the pasterns, I am wondering if anyone has tried wrapping pasterns, as is done with horses.  Thanks again!  M

Answer
Thanks for the update.  Sounds like it could be just a selenium deficiency.  I have tried wrapping the pasterns for support in goats (mostly dairy does with definite genetic defect of fallen pasterns) and have not seen much in the way of them getting any support with it.  The issue is that goats get all their strength from their rear legs where horses get equal strength from front and rear legs - if you wrap the rear legs or pasterns in a goat that changes their gait and can cause less interaction in the herd and being able to get in and feed.  You certainly could try if you wanted and just watch his reactions closely.  Would advise waiting until the 10 days are up after the first selenium dose.  Hope this helps - Donna

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Donna Ruelas-Semasko/Edelweiss Acres

Expertise

All goat health care, nutrition, judging questions about all goats - packgoats, dairy goats, pygmy goats, meat goats, fleece goats.

Experience

27 years health care/nutrition of all types of goats, 17 years experience in packgoats, 20 years experience in 4H goat projects as leader, superintendent and judge. 20 years experience in putting on goat care/nutrition seminars.

Organizations
NAPgA, The Evergreen Packgoat Club, 4H, ADGA.

Publications
Hobby Farm, many newspapers, 4H newsletters, Packgoat Manuals (youth and general), judging information pamphlets, seminar handouts about health care and nutrition.

Education/Credentials
4 years of college, ongoing education in goats.

Awards and Honors
Small Farm Award of Thurston County

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