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Goats/injured goat/physical therapy


QUESTION: I have a 6 month old doeling saanen that injured in the barnyard.  I am located in SW Washington.  We think the injury occurred about 2 weeks before we took her to the vet.  She slowly started to stoop and started dragging her legs.  We have taken her to the vet and he diagnosed a soft tissue spinal cord injury.  They took xrays and there are no broken bones.  She is eating normally and pooping and peeing normally. When we took her temp, it was 100.9.   

The vet put her on bamamine for 5 days and that course ended on Wednesday morning, 2 days ago. I am now using helicrysum, dmso and coconut oil to rub on her spine.  She is chewing cud.  But she is down and unable to use her back legs.  When she does move, she is using her front legs to hold her weight up.  I have started to do motion exercises, a bycycle motion with both legs.  I also started to pick up and put down her legs in the  motion it would take for her to walk.  It seems that we have made slight progress where I get some resistance from her.  One leg seems to just hang, the other seems to have more strength but still does not hold her up.  

She seems to want to eat the forage in my backyard, but she cant get there under her own power.  I have either taken her to it or started to bring it to her.  She has been eating orchard grass, but seems to reject the alfalfa.  

What I am wanting to know if I should put her in a sling.  I am willing to put the time into her physical therapy, I just have to know what to do.  How long to I put her in a sling and how do I keep her healthy during this process? Can you suggest other exercises that would be helpful or point me to a source I can refer to.


I am SO sorry I sent you an answer and  apparently it got lost somewhere in the process -

I'm sorry about your little doeling..
IF you can find a Johnny JumpUp.

like this -

and somehow fasten her in that (front end through one  opening and back end through the other but strapping her in so she doesn't slip out..)  - this would allow some give as well as have her feet on the ground yet not having to hold all her weight up  by herself.   Let her be in this for an hour at a time maybe for 4 or 5 times a day..  with a break  in between..  IF you can get a dog  wheel chair this may also help   I have this item advertised on my website because I thought it was such a great idea..

I wish  they had these available back when I needed one for my BabyGirl who was also a "down goat" for months.. almost 6 months due to a neck deformity -
this will be intensive care to say the least..  making sure massage on her legs,  and Rumen to keep her rumen movement  as well as her attitude..  and a way to  not allow her to pee on herself..  I found this was important for my BabyGirl -

On rejecting alfalfa..  alfalfa is a bit more difficult to digest..  so she may be naturally doing this so her rumen function does not slow or stop - make sure she has  the orchard grass at all times..  plenty of water with electrolytes.. I use a product called ViTal electrolytes.. has other good stuff in it as well..  minerals and vitamins   see it here -

BE CAREFUL with DMSO as it is a carrier.. and WILL Carry any bacteria on the hair or skin right into the body along with anything else.. scary stuff - they do make horse linaments  for  similar situations you might want to try those - Keep an eye on her temp..  101.5 to 103.5 is normal.

Hopefully you will have her in the house  in the cold weather..  I doubt she will make it outside.  make sure where she lays in  the house is soft.. laying for extended periods of time will  allow her  legs to go to sleep.. The MOST important thing is to keep that rumen going..

Now  even though her story is quite different.. it is also very similar some of the treatments..  you may get some ideas from my BabyGirl's story..  please read it..  has confusing links (sorry)  was written a long time ago.. but try to follow them.. so you can see what worked and what didn't..  (ie : baby walker LOL) and what we went through.. Please DO let me know  how she does..  

I never gave up on BabyGirl..  I watched her eyes.. she told me if I was to give up or not.. and  I listened to her.. here is her story:    it was a long haul but worth every second of it!

Bless you and your baby.. PLEASEe keep me posted on how she does.

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QUESTION: Thank you for your answer.  I had come across the story you had written about your baby girl a while ago and was impressed to the effort you went to.  Just like you, Iris is part of my family and I can not not help her.  

I have talked to my vet in the meantime and have started doing physical therapy exercises.

I built a simple shelter for her in my backyard so I could be close to her at all times.  It is a simple shelter, very adequate.  It is made of the 4" welded wire livestock panels.  We ended up with a shelter 4' wide by 8' long.  This allowed me to put a board across to fashion a sling for her. I found an old pair of sweat pants and carabiners and used it to make a sling and it works well.  The seat part holds her back end and the legs come in front of her legs to all clip up over the board.  This puts no undue pressure on her rumen and seems to hold her in such a way that she finds comfortable.  

I have been doing bycycle motion exercises with her back legs, pickup and put down exercises with her back feet all in the sling.  I talked with the vet about the sling and he said to leave her in the sling up to 2 hrs.  We usually make it to 1-1/2 hrs. I have been doing this for at least 3xs per day.  When we are done with the sling, I put her on top of a bag that has hay in it to have her sit on the bag with her legs on the side.  I have been rocking the bag back and forth side to side to help strengthen her back leg muscles.  With these exercises, I have noticed that she seems to have gained some muscle tone back and is starting to offer resistance.

Today is the 1st day that she was able to hold her weight on her back legs for any length of time, somewhere around 10-20 seconds.  During this time, I was holding my hand in front of her feet to keep them steady. This is from no strength whatsoever a couple of weeks ago, one leg just dangling and other slightly better.

She hates it when I have to take her out of the sling.  She wants to continue to stand in the worst way.  

In addition, I have already realized the problem of keeping the rumen working and do daily massage therapy with her, both her rumen and legs.  I have also started to warm a towel to put on hers legs multiple times a day.  

I will get her some electrolytes.  I dont have any yet but have been keeping a close watch on what she is eating and drinking and pooping and peeing.  She started to even refuse to eat the orchard grass for a couple of days. I started to forgage for her and pulled maple leaves and alder tree leaves.  I had done sprouting for my goats on and off and started that up again for Iris.  She has always loved the sprouts and is now happily eating them again. I put more orchard grass in front of her today and she is also eating that long with.  

I have read about the cautions about DMSO and that is why I combined it with Coconut oil which is a powerful antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral. I have also been washing her where I put it on her and also cleaning her with alcohol.  Her temp has remained in the normal range.  But even so, I am thinking why court disaster if it can be avoided.  I did talk with the vet about the DMSO and he did ok its use in the way I am using it because it is a powerful anti-inflammatory. I am going to discontinue using it.  Thanks for the warning and she maybe does not need the anti-inflammatory effects anymore since I believe she on her way to recovery. I will look for the horse linaments you talk about.  

I am always going out to visit her, getting her up and talking with her and encouraging her.  Thankfully, the weather is still pretty warm here where I live.  But if it gets too cold, I will certainly defy my husband and bring her into the house.  

When I talked with the vet on Tuesday, he suggested the dog cart modified for a goat.  I am going to look at the plans you suggest because my husband said he would build one for her.  

I wanted to let you know how she has progressed.  Your reply has given me some things to think about and try.  i am going to take the time to read thru your webpage again and go thru your links.  I am NOT going to give up on my Iris.  With help, I do believe she will walk again and at some point be a happy frolicking goat with the rest of my herd.  I will keep you updated on how she does.

Goat Pen for in House
Goat Pen for in House  

Lincoln and LambChop
Lincoln and LambChop  
HI Carrol:

I am SO happy to hear about all the research and thought you are putting into this! It sounds as if she is making  progress slow but progress. which is always good.. NO ONE gave my BabyGirl  any hope  until I  visited the one vet.. Everyone I knew online  told me to put her down, that it was inhumane.. but the look in her eyes told me she wanted to try.. So I trusted her..  I was blessed with 15 years  with her.. I'm glad I listened to her :)

She will  most likely go back and forth on what she will and will not eat.. I am not sure why  but they seem to know things we don't .. so go with the flow..

I also kept a tube of Probios paste on hand.. and when her rumen was not functioning as well as it should.. her daily routine included   this..

I have 2 little goats who were born in Feb..  bottle babies  - moms refused them.. unrelated.. both blind.. one has regained some sight.. the doeling has not.. they spend days outside and still come in before dark to live in the house.. (I have a crappy house to begin with so not much to worry about  :) ) BUT  what I have is a dog pen.. 2 ft high  and I used 3 xtra large puppy pads on the floor of it.. then a layer of hay - I pull up the hay and puppy pads daily when they go back outside..  it leaks a tiny bit..  (2 almost 8 month olds peeing ) but I clean under it.. and  before they come in redo the pen area..  yeah in my tiny kitchen is a PIA but it works..  I suspect it will be next spring before I will feel right about making them sleep outside.. he can get around really well  - she depends on him to  follow.. she has learned how to go up and down the back steps..  I have NO CLUE how she can do it.. but she does..

In any case  it seems to work for me..

Here is the pen I got..
Midwest Black E-Coat Exercise Pen

These are the puppy pads I use, and found  they are the best for the price
AKC Training Pads XL 30x28 inches

Because the pen is versatile in shape, I use it in an L shape, using under the kitchen table to  save on open floor space for me :) the puppy pads  fit 3 inside it..  I also bring in hay for them to munch on all night and since thy are right next to  me  in the house I do not leave water in there since she is 100% blind. but offer them drinks through out the night - half baked maybe but it works .. and idea for you to work with  in your situation maybe..

Please DO keep me posted on her..   I hope she turns around soon for you..

my personal email is goatladys_goats at  


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Specializing in New Goat Owner understanding of goat physiology, goat anatomy, goat care and herd management. *I am not a veterinarian, any advice and information should be verified by your veterinarian before administering to your goats. (! During times of severe weather in the Midwest, I may experience a delay in internet service due to the interference of the satellite reception - but will answer your questions as soon as service is restored. !) Note: Keep in mind, the goat expert is volunteering her time to help other goat owners, she also runs her farm with her own herd of 100 goats and may not be at her computer at all hours. Questions are answered as soon as she can possibly read and answer them, usually within 24 hours.


23 years experience of raising goats and herd management. Active hands on experience with goat herd and research with various Caprine University Research and Extension Centers nationwide. 15 years dedicated to helping other goat breeders/owners with goat anatomy, goat disease and goat health care issues via phone, published goat care articles and internet interaction. The information I have to offer is not only from personal experience and years of research updated often as new information is made available to me, but supported by many Veterinary Research colleges and all medications and information I have to offer on how the medications work and what dosages "I" use, is information I have acquired by discussing directly with the company's veterinarians and staff research experts.

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