Goats/broken horn


QUESTION: Our seven month buckling has partially torn off his horn at the base. His horn is leaning next to his other horn with an open wound in the front. Although he was disbudded twice early on, he still has a what we call 'mini' horns/scours approximately 1.5 inches across the base and four inches long. We have him separated into the sick pen and have put scarlet oil on the open wound. We also started him on pen-g, 2cc/50lbs, vit. b, and electrolytes for goats. Can you please advise on what to do about a horn that is half on/half off and how to prevent infection and flies? Thank you!

ANSWER: Since these are scurs, if possible I would take that scur off (this may easily come off with a snip of the scissors or it may be a more painful process, but the scur will not reattach and a hanging scur will just continue to cause issues) and use a disbudding iron to cauterize the opened area - if possible.  If the tear/wound is so large as to not allow cauterizing then packing with gauze will help it heal - changing the gauze at least once a day.  Would use NFZ puffer antibiotic powder to puff into the open wound and then pack with the gauze.  Would also spray around the area with a fly spray or use of a horse fly ointment around the area (not on) may help to keep the flies away.  Would also give a CDT toxoid booster - 2 cc (the T is the tetanus) intramuscularly.  Penicillin is a great idea just in case of infection - you also need to keep him on probiotics during the time on antibiotics.  Vitamin B complex with thiamin and electrolytes is great especially if he is not eating well.  Hope this helps - let me know - Donna

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QUESTION: Thank you Donna,
We did manage to accomplish the cdt, pen-g, probiotics, vit b plus thiamine, and electrolytes, as well as NFZ antibiotic. Unfortunately, the horn was not as cooperative and neither was our little guy! The horn is attached on one very thick edge and along the back, now laying straight back. Our shears were unable to cut through the horn. We have a wire saw, but it didn't  make a dent.  We chose to give everyone a break and make sure the bleeding stopped before dark as well as get the little guy fed and settled. He is eating/drinking and currently sleeping next to his buddy who is resting on the other side of the sick pen. This is our first goat with horns, so we are not sure  what the next step is to take. Do you have additional advice for us? Our local vet is not very interested in treating goats. Thank you so much for your help!

Thanks for the updates.  I usually use a wire saw/camping type saw and that usually works well.  If not, you may need to use something like horse hoof nippers - these usually easy snap off the left over horn no matter how thick it is.  Do hope this helps - know it is not fun on either the goat or the people, but must be done - If I don't have help, which usually I do not, I drop the goat to the floor and wrap it in a blanket then sit on it and use the nippers - yup, not fun - so if you have help - someone to hold the head that would make it much easier on you.  Hope this helps - let me know - Donna

PS  I suppose you could also use wire cutters.  


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Donna Ruelas-Semasko/Edelweiss Acres


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


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.

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

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

4 years of college, ongoing education in goats.

Awards and Honors
Small Farm Award of Thurston County

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