The problem of Nigerian Dwarfs (in particular) developing a front leg orthopedic problem is widespread. The animal’s “knee” appears to arch backwards as the problem persists and often the hoof becomes shaped as if the animal has foundered (kind of a slipper shape). The leg is often held straight and swung in front of the goat when it standing still. When it walks, there is a limp.
I receive an email or message almost once a week about this problem. The messages come from all over the US and from all bloodlines. The comments below this post are extensive. Many have shared photos and videos that confirm the similarity. Trust me, this is NOT something you caused and it is NOT directly genetic — in other words, the animals bloodlines are not something to be culled! It is a problem in a couple of breeds, but most frequently seen in the Nigerian Dwarf.
It seems to be caused by a mineral deficiency related to the breed. Remember, where these animal’s progenitors originated is quite different than that of the goats of Europe, from which most of our breeds in the States descended. Every region in the US, and even within a single county, will vary in soil concentrations of minerals. This means that feed varies greatly as well. It is unlikely that a mixed mineral will properly address this.
This likely imbalance leads to changes in the way the bones and joints form before birth and during growth. This predisposes the animal to injuries. When it happens on the front legs, which bear the greatest percentage of the goat’s weight, they have a hard time recovering — particularly because the underlying cause, the poor bone or joint formation, remains.
Prevention vs Cure
It is rare that once the limp is detected, that any animal fully recovers. That is the evidence so far from the huge number of comments below as well as the people I have worked with directly — and our own history of it here at Pholia Farm (More on that later).
However, there is hope! In the 8 years since I have been using the free choice mineral buffet system, when all goats have access 24/7 from the time they have been conceived on, we have not seen a case.
We got our first Nigerian Dwarf goats in 2003. We observed our first “limping goat” in 2004. When it starts, it is barely noticeable. The animal might hold one front leg, unbent, at a slight angle out in front when standing or upon getting up. When walking, you might notice a barely perceptible limp. I have seen this even at a few weeks of age. Usually when it happens young, it goes away. But not always. The next scenario I have seen more often. The animal is usually over two years old and shows the same symptoms very suddenly. It might stay mild or it might not. Most of the emails I get are from people who see this in their 2 year old Nigerian bucks.
Here are a few of the cases we’ve had over the years:
SGCH Pholia Farm KM Harriet 3*M : This amazing doe was about three years old and pregnant when her limp began. Being such a valuable milker (a breed leader) and show goat we took her to the vet for radiographs. A bone chip showed in her knee. After many months, it got worse, with the knee appearing to arch backward, and her entire front end movement was compromised. We still have Harriet in the retirement pen and she gets around, but is obviously compromised. In the photo here you can see her holding her leg out in front. For most goats, it is the right leg that is a problem, but for a couple it has been the left. (This same truism has been noticed by the appraisers in other Nigerian herds)
SGCH Pholia Farm HB Angelica 6*M: Anther amazing doe, who is now nine and still in milk. Jelly, as we call her, developed her limp at age two upon being moved into the main doe pen with other young does. The limp was slight, but her knee still developed the backwards arch and was noticed at the 2009 National show by the judges. At our 2013 LA, I was discussing this whole issue with Sam Whiteside and pulled Jelly out of the pen to show him what it looks like in a mild case long term. Well, her knee no longer arched back and she no longer limps, but it took many years and was never as severe as Harriet’s. Like most Nigerians, both does share a few relatives, but neither one’s parents had “the limp”.
Pholia Farm HB Miel 3*M: This doe is very interesting as she was appraised in 2013 by Sam Whiteside, and at the time we were discussing the problem. Miel was a milking 2 or 3 year old. After the appraisal, Sam said “you know what, I think this doe is going to start limping”. He had detected a slight change in the angle of her right knee. A month later, she limped. Now she is very bad and I will probably have to euthanize her. Miel and Angelica have the same father, Bullseye.
++ B Rosasharn SS Aquarius: One of the first bucks we ever purchased at the same time as Bullseye, Aquarius toed out on the right and developed the limp on the right as a 4 year old buck. It was never as severe as Harriets, but didn’t get better. He was euthanized. As with the other goats that we have had with this problem, you cannot predict if any descendants or relatives will also have the problem.
Pholia Farm HB Alyss: A lovely doe who began showing signs of a very slight limp after sold, but still on our farm being bred. It became worse after leaving the farm (natural progression I am sure, no fault of anyone’s) Thank you Kristen for sharing this helpful video. Poor Alyss.
Theory on Cause and Suggested Preventative Approach
In my book, Holistic Goat Care (Chelsea Green Publishing 2014) I advocate the free choice, cafeteria (or buffet) style mineral supplementation method. In this approach, a broad array of individually focused mineral mixes, or minerals, is available 24/7. This allows the goat (or other livestock) to supplement their individual needs. We have used that method for over 5 years now and it is amazing to see how they use it! I documented it daily for the first 3 or 4 years and had plenty of occasions that appear to support the animal’s ability to make up for gaps in their diet. When you think about the almost infinite possible deficiencies and excesses in the soils and water across the country as well as the unique needs of different colored animals and those in different states of growth, lactation, pregnancy, etc., it seems obvious that no pre-mixed mineral mix, which are meant to be sold all over a region or nation, could possibly meet the animals actual needs. Given that Nigerian Dwarfs have come more recently from an equatorial region, it is quite likely that they differ even more than the other common breeds in the US.
I purchase these from Advanced Biological Concepts. Start with the 15 mineral kit and then track what you only need to restock. It will seem expensive, but over time it is quite affordable, especially compared to losing the value on an expensive and loved animal!
So far (knock on wood!) all of the goats born from mothers who had this supplementation available and then daily access to it afterward, even as young kids, have not had any signs of the limp. I dearly hope to never see it again, but time will tell!
I hope that other breeders will share any information that they have on similar problems. Or email me privately to share. Thanks! Gianaclis
PLEASE NOTE: I HAVE HAD TROUBLE RESPONDING TO MESSAGES IN THE COMMENT SECTION! EMAIL ME FOR BETTER RESULTS.
81 thoughts on “The Limping Goat”
My 2-3 year old lamancha recently climbed up on the chicken coop, I assume to reach oak leaves. She apparently fell off the top of the coop, and cut the back of her front right knee. She must have fallen a max of 3 feet. There was initially a pretty good scrape on the back side of the front right knee and she had a mild limp with hyper extention of the affected right leg. Fast forward 2 weeks, wound is healing but limp is getting worse. Took her to the local large animal vet. He treated her wound. Have her a shot of antibiotic and clipped her hooves. 1 day later, limp is unchanged as is the hyperextention of the right leg. After reading your posts, I see a lot of similarities and I would have to say that this condition is almost certainly due to injury. Now whether some goats are more genetically predisposed to this or not is a good question in my mind. Any feedback would be welcome.
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http://www.dillsalittlegoatfarm.com/solutions.htm Ellen Dorsey has a goat showing this on her website, which she says was possibly cured with copper/selenium. I have a yearling buck showing this problem. He is showing it in both legs, but the right more than the left. I am concerned. The first thing I noticed was him holding a leg up, shortly after I put him in a new pen that we build in a hilly spot with a LOT of browse and I had wondered if he had been injured there. I have been very bad about providing proper minerals to my bucks and was wondering if this was part of the cause. 😦 It is interesting to say the least.
Hi there. I purchased an 8 month old Nigerian Dwarf doe a few months ago. When we got her she didn’t limp and was very active. In the last 2 months her left front leg started to swell at the knee joint and I’ve only observed her putting weight on it a time or two – when she does it appears to hyper extend backwards. I took her to the vet January 28th and had her x-rayed and there was no fracture. The swelling seems to have gone down some but she still won’t walk on it and she’s supposed to kid around mid June. My family just loves her and I hate to put her down, and my other goats have never had problems like this. Do you have any suggestions for us? I’m planning on splinting it tomorrow to see if that helps but any suggestions would be appreciated.
I’ve had a couple over the years that have had that characteristic limp. I had one young buck euthanized and have kept a close eye on the only daughter that I have. She’s 5 now and doing fine, as are all of her offspring. I had a doe kid (Samse) who had a horrible developmental issue as a young kid. She looked deformed in front legs, but she completely recovered after shotgun treatments with herbs, minerals, etc.. She is now about 5. Developed a limp two years ago, which was x-rayed and diagnosed as arthritis. The limping stopped with treatment (DMSO, herbs, minerals). She has kidded twice since then and shows absolutely no limping, which is interesting to me because arthritis doesn’t usually just go away. She was also tested several times for CAE, and continues to be negative on that.
I’ve only had that characteristic bowing that we’re seeing in Nigerians in a few animals from other and unrelated bloodlines. Unless we x-ray all of these cases, it will be hard to figure out — and maybe even then. That bowing is a whole different thing from an injury type limp. I would be most interested to see what that looks like on xray.
With a more “normal” limp issue, it could be a joint or tendon issue in any part of the leg or shoulder that just gets worse. Favoring a leg can snowball into other problems. Injuries happen and sometimes we don’t even see it happen. Impossible to tell if a goat is prone to injury physically, or just unlucky or naughty. I would wonder if there is a structural component to this. We are seeing, in the drive for a “dairy” look, some pretty extreme front structures. I think we need to really dissect (not literally) the structure on the front ends of any afflicted animals.
Nutritionally, not every goat has identical needs, which is why you can get one or two in a herd that develop problems (like Samse’s) when they are on the same management.
An intriguing topic for sure! Thanks for sharing, everyone!
Thank you Gianaclis for sharing this information and starting the discussion. I have one showing these symptoms currently and have a vet appointment for radiographs and possible bloodwork. I’ll keep you posted.
I purchased 4 Alpine milking does herd last year of various ages from 6 year old to 1 year old. It is my first ever goat management experience and I am learning the hard way: on my own mistakes. The first thing I did was to overfeed them with grain as I had no idea how much is enough. All of them had nasty diarrhea the following morning but 6 year old doe also was limping on her right front leg and had hard time standing Next time she was limping was due to stale hay I fed to everybody for the lack of having a fresh one.
So, from my observation, I could make a conclusion that my oldest doe limping was attributed to adverse food reaction that ultimately resulted into severe inflammation of her right food joint. Application of DMSO on her joint did the trick and she would completely recover in a couple of days or less depending on severity of inflammation.
I am not a vet and my conclusion is personal observation based; but I would argue that goats front leg inflammation is due to either feed, stress, infection, or injury. In my specific situation both time it was food based.
Hi, Gianaclis. Thanks for sharing this info! I have one doe that had limped from age 1.25 until recently. I was pretty sure it was an injury of some type causing the problem. My herd receives good mineral/herbal/medical care, supplements, and high quality feed year round. I have no one else with the problem. The vet said it looked like a possible injury, but since it seemed to have occurred earlier, we didn’t want to possibly exacerbate things by re-breaking, etc, to ‘fix’ something and possibly make it worse in the long run. Now, I’ve noticed in people and animals that when we have an injury of some type, we will ‘favor’ the other side and ‘nurse’ the once injured side to avoid more pain even after the injury is healed. In humans, when one ‘falls’ on a knee or injures it in some way, one can easily tear or rupture the anterior cruciate ligament, which will make the knee hyper-extend ‘backward,’ cause a lot of pain, and cause swelling. The ligament is then weakened, and it can be easily re-injured during play or an accident. I was thinking about this in my goat, but she doesn’t seem to hyper-extend. Instead, she just lifts the leg and seems unstable on it at times. When examining both legs closely, I noticed that one even seemed just a tad shorter. Apparently (from my research), broken, and even fractured bones, can cause a leg to shorten due to 1) the area healing in the wrong place and/or 2) damage close to the end of the bone, which can slow normal growth in that area. So if a break occurs on the end of a carpal bone near the knee joint, I’m thinking growth could be slowed or could be misaligned, both causing shortening of the leg. In the case of my doe, I see her run all of the time, and she plays like nothing is wrong. However, I have noticed she seems a little stiff when she first stands up on the leg, swinging it, and the leg seemed a little short on the milk stand. I decided to trim hooves closely; I trimmed the ‘swinging’ leg to be a little– just a hair–longer than the other; I know she will wear it down some as she adjusts to it, and I wanted to give her an opportunity to have two ‘even’ legs. That was almost 2 months ago, and so far, no more limping at all! She even gets up from sleeping as if nothing is wrong. She has full use. I hope it stays that way. 🙂
*Some interesting info:
Healing of the goat anterior cruciate ligament after a new suture repair technique and bioscaffold treatment.
Tissue Eng Part A. 2013 Oct;19(19-20):2292-9. doi: 10.1089/ten.TEA.2012.0535. Epub 2013 Jul 10.Nguyen DT1, Geel J, Schulze M, Raschke MJ, Woo SL, van Dijk CN, Blankevoort L.
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How many goats do you have in your farm right now and which breeds?
I have some milking 2-6 yr olds and noticed within 2 months of buying them that 3 of them are limping. I am feeding them rolled hay and free choice alfalfa, I give them two cups feed twice a day. the feed is corn, distillers grain, oats and barley with vitamin a d and e. I’m not sure what to do , they also have soda and minerals.
HI my name is Melissa at Mistwood fields.
I have a doe with similar problems you explained in your page. I thought it was a injury or someone bashed her. But after reading this page i’m know convinced it maybe something else. My Doe turned 2 in 2015 was fine I showed her and LA her in Jun. About the first part of July I was bring the girls up for milking and notessed my doe holding her leg up like it hert. Well this continued and was getting worse. with in a few months I started seeing bowing dropped pasturens and do to holding up the bad leg the shoulders begin to weaken and look very loose. I started her on herbal joint support and MSM as well as extra BO-SE and Copper. After a couple month I saw a little change in her holding up the leg at milking time. But when I dryed her off and bred her for 2016 kids She is know back to favoring that leg. I was hoping their was something I could do, but after reading your story on your does I feel her leg will not get better. Now I wonder if she will be able to live with her leg or will this come to over time putting her down. Now I’m wearied for her 2015 Doe kid.
Thank you for posting your experience and findings. I am new to raising goats, 2 Oberhasli dairy goats specifically. They have the run of plenty pasture and with the best shelter and conditions that anyone could provide. One of the does (2 yo) that I purchased only about 7 months ago appears to have very similar symptoms in her right front leg( limping, standing with leg raised, no noticable hyper-extension). She has been limping for a couple of months now. She never appeared to be super active, however, she has declined in activity due to her limp. She spends more and more time lying down or on her knees as it has progressed. I thought that she may have injured her leg when I first noticed her favoring it, or that she was just experiencing something related to pregnancy. I also thought that may be hoof related. Now I believe that there may be other causes undetermined. I have already had the local large animal vet examine her and he was unable to identify the problem or cause. In his examination, he didn’t find any heat or swelling in the joints, but did feel that all of her joints were a bit tight in comparison to my other goat, as well as other herds that he has examined. He felt that it wasn’t as severe as arthiritis, yet was resulting in the same condition, immobility. Her hoof and diet(free choice hay/2 cups grain daily) checked out fine as well. Pregnancy side effects were ruled out based on his experience. The only course of treatment so far is aspirin taken orally and linament oil applied to the knee joint. Treatment has been ongoing for just over a week with no signs of improvement. Her CAE tests results were also negative. If the problem persists, then I will have another CAE test performed just to rule out a false negative.
I have 4 Nigerians 2 of which I’ve spent over $2k just trying to figure out why they are stiff in their front legs, alternating feet or not even using them by walking like a HUMAN! Please let me know if u ever found a source of your problems at the barn.
I saw your post about the knee/leg problems and I also have had several show up with similar symptoms. I have taken some to the vet for xrays but still have no answers
My name is Ondrea Paolino from Spring Hill Farm, RI. I have a small herd of nine and one is a wether. My Milly got pregnant and I noticed during her pregnancy she had a hard time getting up and I noticed a limp. I called the vet and she said that maybe due to her weight she was pinching off a nerve..well the babies are now 2 and 1/2 months and she still has a limp and holding her leg up. And her leg is bowed.. Vet took X-ray and stated her leg is over distended to wrap it and hopefully this will fix on its own.. well it has been 3 weeks of trimming her hooves and wrapping the leg.. nothing.. I don’t know what to do for her I love her very much and want this fixed! She is so lovable and gives kisses and loves to cuddle.. what should I do? Is this painful?? Is she hurting??
I have a Boer goats that has been limping for awhile now done seen the vet a few times spent seven hundred on test he’s on Meloxicam he’s still limping I noticed his right back hoove is not touching the ground like all his other hooves it looks like it’s going upwards an his leg is longer than the rest.
I am having the same issue with my Nubian front right leg. Vet gave us some pills for pain, and he seems to be getting worse. He walks like it it is broken and seems worse. She came out to check him and gave him shots and trimmed his hooves. I noticed his knee is larger than the other. This is my first time with goats (just for pets) and he is absolutely adorable and loving and it is tearing me apart. Vet said she can give more meds for him, but wonder if it will work. Will NOT put him down, should I ace bandage it?
We have a 2 1/2 year old Nigerian wether that we’ve had since birth. He started limping a few months ago and we thought he hurt himself out in the pasture. Our Vet came out and said that he had arthritis and a poor conformation in his front left leg. He has been prescribed Meloxicam and it only helps a little bit. He still holds it up and the Vet says it’s extremely painful. It’s sad because he is my daughter’s goat. Chances are he will not live as long as our others because the pain will be severe that he will have to be put down. Trying what we can to keep him comfortable, but I won’t let him suffer. Thank you for this information. I had no idea it was common with Nigerians.
I have a 2 year old old Nigerian doe that is doing the same thing. This is the first time dealing with this issue for me. It’s been going on now for over 2 weeks. I did the banamine per vets suggestion every 12 hr for 3 days with no improvement. I myself have given her Bose, copper, thiamine injections and replacement get plus thinking I was also dealing with a deficency of some sort. I’m at my wits end trying to figure this out. If you have any advice I’d appreciate hearing from you.
Hello, I have a ND wether, turned 2 this past June 2017. He’s the oldest of triplet males. Started limping about a month ago, both legs, left side. He’s penned with brothers (either affected) and his half brother which is older and stocker. I thought and now wished it was a broadside. At this point, putting him down is unthinkable, but letting him suffer??? I helped with the birthing.
This is very interesting. I have a 13 year old wether (Pigmy) that started favoring his left front about a year ago. He now favors it more and more and hardly puts any weight on it although some days are better than others. I had the vet look at it and she really didn’t find anything. I have not had it X-rayed. Wish there was a way to help him.
We also had an older doe (10 yr) that started holding her leg up. At first it wasn’t very noticeable but as the year went on it got worse and worse. Finally we had her put down in September 2017. Now I am noticing her great granddaughter who was only a yearling when she first started limping. Some days she looks perfectly fine and other days not so much. It is very noticeable when she has been laying a while and then gets up. We’ve also a few others that we have given away as pets that had limping problems. We give selenium and copper on a regular basis and they have loose minerals all the time. One thing though I did recently discover is that the minerals we use do not have iodine. I am planning to remedy that soon. We also feed alfalfa hay and Chaffhaye and last fall started also using Replamin and Selenium/VitE gels on a monthly basis. Everyone has tested negative for CAE (which we test the bucks annually and the does twice a year).
Forgot to mention our herd is Nigerian Dwarf.
I am so sorry, I never got a notice of the comments on this page!!!
How is your doe today or what happened? Let me know and we can go from there. I imagine she damaged the carpal bones and tissues, like landing on your wrist during a fall. Let me know and again, my apologies!!
I’ve had so many people come up to me and tell me about these same problems. I hope your doe improves. It does sound like what we all have experienced, though. Iodine is a common deficiency and they all matter. I do love the free choice, cafeteria style mineral approach. As I wrote above, I don’t think it is exactly genetic, other than the entire breed being susceptible to it. We need more folks to do x-rays of Nigerians in their herd that are and aren’t limping as well as another breed to compare bone health. If you have a photo that you would like to share on the page, let me know. Gianaclis
At least your guy has made it to this age! Pretty unusual for a male, wether or buck. Sounds like he has a great home. I’m sorry for the delay in answering, WP didn’t notify my of any comments!
Hi there, Word Press didn’t send me a notification of a comment. I”m so sorry to not answer you sooner! Do you still have the fellow? Let me know and we can talk.
Hello! WP didn’t send me a notice about your comment, I’m so very sorry!! How is the doe? Let me know and we can talk more.
Hi there, I just saw your post, so sorry about your little guy. Is he still with you? The arthritis is a result of the problem, I believe, not the cause. Let me know how it has gone and I’ll see if I have any other ideas.
Hi Catherine, I am so sorry, WP didn’t send me a notification of your comment (or anyone else’s for that matter). Do you still have the guy? Do you have any photos you can send? It does sound a bit different in that there is swelling of the knee. Again, my apologies for not seeing your questions!!
Hi there, I am so sorry not to reply, I didn’t receive any notifications of comments!! Wow, you’ve definitely spent a lot. How is the goat now? It does sound different in that it is on the back leg. Sounds almost like a crutiate ligament injury up in it’s stifle joint. Let me know and we can go from there.
I finally decided to take the plunge and buy a super expensive goat to get into showing, LA, and milk testing. At 6 months old she started to have a slight limp when she walked. I put her in stall rest with her buddy for a week just to see if it was a sprain. When it showed no improvement I took her to a vet to get xrays. All bones looked normal, weight was good and worm count was fine so she was diagnosed with laminitis and ordered off Chaffehaye and grain. She was also put on meloxicam for any swelling that might have been occurring. No improvement. After 2 more months I decided to take her to Cornell University in New York. They did more xrays of the full leg and shoulder this time. And the most thorough exam I’ve ever seen. Nothing. They said to let her rest through the winter and if it didn’t improve by spring we would start doing nerve blocks to see if we could pin point where it was coming from. I was in contact with the breeder and told her everything that was going on. Fellow breeder said it could be a strange infection and to try antibiotics. I don’t do antibiotics or wormer unless necessary but at this point I was willing to give it a shot. My breeder said she felt it was a hard hit by another goat and give her time to rest. 2 more months go by and she’s not showing any signs of improvement. So I started to do my own research and thought it may be a strange infection from a tick bite. Lymes test…Negative. So I started to look into minerals. Started her on replamin on top of her free choice loose minerals. Also gave her a bose shot just incase it was a selenium deficiency. 2 months later. No improvement. Finally I had a couple breeders over and they felt that I should splint her leg for a few weeks to see if it would help. 3 weeks later I went to change cast and I felt she seemed worse. So I left the cast off. When she first showed symptoms I gave her a banamine shot and it seems to be the only thing that gives her some relief.
My questions are:
Going forward should she be bred?
Can she even handle that with a bum leg?
Is there a chance that she could pass this to her offspring? As a breeder I would not wish this on anyone.
How long will I have with her before she possibly has to be euthanized?
Any opinions or information you could share would be greatly appreciated. Thank you again for your honesty and your internet page about this condition!
Hi Ondrea, I am so sorry to not see your comment! I hadn’t received any WP notifications, my fault. Please let me know if you still have Milly. I’m trying to compile radiographs, x-rays, and photos, and video, of cases like this for further study by a particular vet (working on that connection). Let me know what happened. You can contact me via email best, gianaclis @ pholia farm .com
So sorry to just now see your post, I hope it turned out better than it has for many other goats!
Oh my gosh!!! I have been fighting this battle for two years. I have talked to vets at Ohio State, Virginia Tech, multiple vets locally and a researcher in Oregon. NO ONE has been able to help me. I’m frustrated and have sat in my barn and cried many times. If anyone has any advice that has worked for them, I would love to hear it.
Hi Patty, as you are probably seeing, there seems to be no solution, other than supportive. I’d love to hear who the researcher in Oregon is, if that is something you can share. Please email me privately if you’d like to talk more about it too. I’m sorry for the angst. I’m right there with you. I might be making some headway here, but not sure yet, into preventing it.
Thank you so much for posting. I have a senior doe that developed the right front limp. She gets around ok. At the beginning it would come and go, now it is chronic. She was my first and favorite doe and it is distressing. Your page has given me some comfort, thank you.
Sorry you are experiencing it too. It’s tough. Even now, I have a half Nigerian with it, so bad that it may not be fair to let her continue – as she grows and gets heavier.
How to treat limping goat at home suggest medicine name
No specific medicine seems to make any difference, Khanam. Sorry.
We are new to goats . Almost three years . This morning when I returned from shopping I went down to check on Clara who will be three on 3/2/18 . She is not putting weight on her left leg … my husband was down near them while I was gone and did not observe any altercations between her and our two whethers Last year she kidded Twins who did not make it through a frigid night . The vet told me two months before she wasn’t bred . Ironically I called the vet this am because I do think she is bred and want verified by his brand new ultrasound . She is moving around and eating . We are preparing a separate space for her and put our large whether up for now . Should I give this some time and wait for vet s
Appointment scheduled for Thursday ? Or should I call him back on the emergency phone line. ? There is no visable swelling … no blood and the leg seems to be normal and without an obvious break .
When I have something like this happen, I do put them on “light duty” for at least 24 hours to see if it is a strain or a tiny fracture – or at least try to figure it out. They sure do get hurt sometimes and you never know what happened. At least yours isn’t the “limp” problem described in the post! You can give her some arnica too.
My name is KayDee Massey, and my girls and I own a herd of Nigerians here in Utah Sand Stone Ridge is our herd name. We never had any issues with limping goats, until we purchased a new herd sire. After he turned 2, he developed hyperextended knees, and now 4 of his daughters have issues. One just limps on her left front, and the rest are hyperextended. As I haven’t seen this in any of my other lines, I can’t help but wonder if there isn’t something genetic to this, or a combination of genetics and feeding practices. I feed alfalfa hay, grass pasture, sweetlix meat maker, 12% grain while on the stand, replamin monthly, free choice cobalt block, kelp every other week, and a free choice horse trace mineral. I have a problem with copper deficiency as we have well water. I do use an RV filter that filters minerals to water the goats as well. I found that BoSe and the replamin seems to improve the condition, (I don’t routinely give BoSe as we are not in a selenium deficient region), but I do have it on hand in case I need it. I wonder if you have any updates on this condition, or if you have any advice. If nothing more, you now have our story to add to your findings.
As this problem just cropped up last year, I haven’t gone very far with it. Like you, I struggle, because these does are my best producers, but I think that I will cull the buck and hope the problem gets better.
I would greatly appreciate any wisdom you have on this.
All the best,
http://www.sandstonegoats.com (our website in case you are curious on genetics. Look at Sand Stone Ridge Ivory Design)
We have a 6 year old Nigerian buck which we noticed was limping on his right leg about a month ago. He puts weight on it sometimes but raises it other times. His toes are spread apart and his pastern drops. We kept him warm in a separate pen for 2 weeks. I trimmed his hooves, gave him Selenium, Safeguard dewormer, and CDT sub Q. He has no sign of injury on the affected leg. We have raised him since he was 6 months old, he has been a sweetheart and manageable even when in heat, and has been a good breeder. None of his kids had any problem. We will continue to monitor him and give him support.
Hi Alicia, I’m so sorry for this — for you and for him. If I ever learn more, I will share it. Your sharing your issues here will hopefully help others too.
My weather is alpine,Nubian mix.he was 5 when it started he holds his right mostly sometimes left.and his rear left.
He started after the fire we had in oregen.we moved him and his brother.we no longer have brother.ed never did it although wills legs are different more stocky.
I have a friend who has a small goat and she lifts right leg.
We give them medicine does not seem to help.
Willy left knee swells none of the others swell.
Wish I could help him.
We walk mile a day. It hurts weather we do or don’t.
Today he jumped and ran.
SOLUTION—- Limping goats – legs extended, etc. If you are on a well water system and have high calcium in your well water – check your goat’s bloodwoork or research ZINC AND MANGANESE deficiency. This causes these symptoms – we had same thing – 5 out of 9 heard started walking on knees, legs extended, etc… bad. Thought it was selinium/thiamine/etc… none of it- bloodwork back from Texas A&M showed zinc deficiency – due to high calcium in diet – not from food / blocks / forage – tested the well water 6x time limit – super hard water – super high! So…… we gave Replamin Gel Plus 5cc for a few days and now once a day — some are showing improvement – takes a bout 3-4 weeks to show correction of deficiency….
Once again – hard well water with lots of calcium causes goats stiff legs, limping, etc. Looks like thiamine deficiency, selinium, etc. all deficiency symptoms.. but it is ZINC!!! Replamin Gel Plus working for us.
Please help! I have a female goat that’s approximately 8 to 10 years old and she was limping on one front leg winter,thought it was a cold. Apparently not. Now she’s walking very stiff-legged on both front legs. What do you think this might be?
Hi Wendy, Has your vet had a look? Does it sound like the same problem as this page talks about? What breed of goat?
We have a doe that seems to be doing this. Does anyone know what this is and how to treat it?
Con’t. She is not on well water nor has she ever been. She is about 3 years old and a nigerian dwarf. No swollen joints nor fever in joints. Her fronts legs are bowing like the doe in the picture. When we bought her, her movement was beautiful. Now she can barely walk somedays and holds left front leg out like it hurts.
I don’t actually agree with the well water comment above, at least not 100%. Breeders of Nigerians across the country see this problem, just as you describe. I hope you’ve had a chance to read my thoughts on it from the post as well as, unfortunately, see that no one has found a solution. I have definitely seen fewer incidences and so believe that there is a nutritional component related to when the fetus is developing that is breed related due to the shortened bone pattern of the legs. I am sorry for what you are going through. So sorry.
My best, Gianaclis
Gianaclis, thank you for calling me back, sorry my phone died on us. Like I said I also have a Nigerian buck that I would like to continue using. You said that its a nutritional deficient ailment and more than likely won’t pass to his offspring. Please continue where you left off before the phone died.
I had been asking if you had my book, Holistic Goat Care. In it I cover the free-choice, individual mineral buffet approach. I am sold on it for trying to hedge your bets that that each individual gets what they need. I have photos in the book of how you can do it and a source. It is still not 100%, as it’s tough to ensure that each goat, kids and all, have the same access to it. But I believe it might be working for us and this problem.
HI, I too have a two year old nigerian buck that i raised that is limping on his right leg. It started a couple of months ago and seems to be getting worse. I have him on free choice mineral and soda, dumor goat pellet (handful morning and night) hay and grass paddock. This is my first time having goats as pets and I am so sad to see him like this, he has stopped running around with his buddy and I know he must be in pain. The vet could not find anything wrong but I have not had any x rays yet. He thinks it is arthritis as I always noticed after he had been laying down it would take him just a little longer than the other goat to get up and if he fell off anything whilst climbing his legs would go stiff like a fainting goat. I have added msm, glucosamine and asprin to his feed right now but have not seen any change. The vet suggested using Rimadyl a few times a week to start to see if this helped with the pain. I have just ordered some and will try this.
Other than that , what would you suggest ? I certainly do not want to euthanize him but I also do not want him to be in extreme pain either.
Hi there, so sorry you and your goat are going through this as well. i haven’t heard of using the NSAID drug you mention, but I would try it. If it is oral, it may not be as effective, as the rumen can deactivate other meds, or reduce their effectiveness. But if it is affordable, give it a try.
I would stop feeding the pellets. At this age, he doesn’t need them, and for him to stay as comfortable as possible, you’ll want to keep his weight down. Also, most pellets have a bit more phosphorus than is healthy for male goat’s urinary health (they are prone to stones that can kill them).
What mineral mix are you using?
I came across your article after so much research regarding my ND’s limp. I have X-rayed, blood tested, given anti inflammatory medications, holistic remedies, you name it. She was CAE neg and the X-rays showed no injury, her temp has been normal and she eats like there is no tomorrow. This has been ongoing since Nov. 2018.
It has been a mystery that started up around 18 mos she started minding her right leg just like in the video you supplied. It happened right after she developed a precocious udder, then mastitis, after she was treated the limp began. I thought maybe it was a reaction to the penicillin though she was not injected in that leg.
Your article really helped ease my mind and she is taking joint supplements some days she limps and waves her leg around other days not at all. I couldn’t get any answers and I was so worried. Thank you for posting your experience, it is identical to what I have here, and now I am just going top keep her as comfortable as I can.
I appreciate you!
I have a ND wether just over a year old. His front legs have developed a “knock-knee” look and his right leg hyperextends like the goat in the photo. I have only seen him hold it up once. He walks normally but has a very “side-to-side” trot (looks very uncomfortable) and has recently stopped running altogether. He is grumpy and I feel like it is pain related. The muscles in his shoulders are very tight. I am wondering if he has Epiphysitis as I have always fed him alfalfa which is high in calcium and protein. I may have to do radiographs and bloodwork to try to see what is going on. In my quest for info about this, I have noticed so many people with Nigerian Dwarfs with right front leg issues. It’s really sad to see this guy so uncomfortable at such a young age.
Hi there, thanks for your contribution to the conversation. Yes, it sounds like it might be something a bit different. It is a very good idea to get him off of the alfalfa by about 18 months, just to get that calcium level down for the prevention of uroliths. They need some until they are mature for bone growth. But by close to 18 months, just grass hay, no grain or pellets with grain in them, is a good move for their health. Feel free to send me a video via FB or email, btw!
I also have a Nigerian Dwarf wether whose knee on the right leg bows in and hyperextends.I also have his brother who is fine. They are 16 months old. It has been affecting his gait for about 4 months that I have noticed. When he “trots” he moves from side to side. Very tight shoulder muscles and he is grumpy. I fed alfalfa hay while they were growing but was recently recommended to stop feeding alfalfa because of the high calcium content. They get a loose mineral and kelp. This condition seems to be getting worse as time goes by. Today was the first day that he seems to be in enough pain that he will only walk. We saved them from the soup pot and they are my little buddies. This is very sad.
I’m very sorry for what you and your goat are going through. Thank you for adding your comment as a way to share with others!
My female is 3 yrs old and i just noticed she holds her left front leg when standing. She doesn’t appear to be in any stress but I’m worried. What can I do to help her? Please
Did any of your goats pass the problem to their offspring? My second question, you shared that the parents did not exhibit this problem, is there a possibility that it skipped a generation?
Hi there, as I’ve hopefully communicated, it doesn’t seem to be a direct hereditary issue, but rather a breed wide issue. Occasionally seen in bigger breeds to, according to reports I’ve gotten from others as well as one case here at our farm. Nigerian dwarf goats had the herdbooks closed in the late 1990’s most pedigrees have very similar original registered parents (way back in the early 90’s and from the ’80’s. So it is hard to say if it is truly inherited or simply a “dwarf stature” problem.
I hope you have been able to read many of the comments as well as my complete description above on what has and hasn’t helped. Let me know, the cases seem very individualized – as far as who gets worse and who improves. They rarely completely get over it, sadly.
Hey there I had a couple doe kids with a limping issue from birth, both my vet and I thought it was joint ill but I have a hard time believing that due to all the precautions I take to prevent. Both kids were put on meds to treat joint ill that did not help. From reading this post which I find super interesting those kids would have been Aquarious grand daughters. Maybe a link?
Hi there, I wish I could say that there is a link! But from the vast number of comments this page has received, it is widespread in the breed and pops up all over the country and in too many other bloodlines. I hope you read of my theories on it and possible solutions (although none for once it is present) Good luck to you!
Thank you for writing this. We just noticed our 2 year old buck has this limp and seems to be slightly dragging the top of his back hoof. We live in South Georgia and will be sure to keep the free minerals full. I hope it doesn’t develop any worse.
Have you seen in in back legs? We just noticed it and it is a very slight limp.
Hi Cheri, no, I haven’t noticed it in the back. If you want to email or FB me a video, I’ll be happy to take a look.
I have a nubian with a back limp. She started not too long after kidding but barely noticeable. I just trimmed hooves and now she can barely stand.
Hi Ruth, It is a different problem for you doe, if you’d like, send me a picture or video (find my email from the website). It is possible she injured her pelvis during kidding. Has a vet looked at her?
I have a billy that has this condition and heard that maybe a lack of selenium might be a cause. Is there any truth to that.
Hello Lynne, it doesn’t seem to be the cause, but selenium might play a role as the minerals all interact and any deficiency or excess effects other minerals and their function. So sorry you are experiencing the problem!
Hello and thank you for this post! I have a 14 year old Angora goat that is now limping on her front left leg. She holds it up while standing still and when approaching her she will run on it to move away. She is eating well and is on a good grain/hay and mineral supplements (fed free choice). We have a small herd of 4 and none of the other girls are having any problems. I felt her leg and it doesn’t seem to be swollen, no blood or cuts. I typically have them out every day, but the weather was cold and raining all day yesterday, so I had kept them in the barn.
She has had a limping problem on her back foot this year and found out she had a small pebble between her toes, removed it and she was better within the day or two. We have well water and iron is 0.61, manganese 0.10, and sufate 31.2. I don’t believe that the water is the issue with the others not having problems, but unsure where the levels should be. She just started limping this morning, so is it possible that it was a hit from one of the other goats, or even that she twisted it in a feeder? Should I separate her and limit her activity, and how long before I should be really concerned? (This is only my second year raising goats, so sorry if it’s a stupid question).
Thank you for your help!
Since I have changed a few years ago to DuraFerm Goat Concept Aid minerals, I have not had any more with this problem. I really believe minerals have a lot to do with it.
Hi Elizabeth, that’s really great news. I totally agree.
My goat doesn’t like using his front legs. Sometimes he keeps them bent and walks on them like little nubs, sometimes he just walks on his back legs. I’ve noticed he’s limping with the front leg and a back leg too
I’m so sorry for your little guy. We had one that bad years ago. I wasn’t able to ever get her better. I hope you’ll read through a lot of folks comments to know that you are not alone!
Good news down the road, hopefully, Oregon State University has indicated that they, or someone there, will be researching it. I’ve asked to be included and notified, but I haven’t heard anything yet.
Hi there! I was wondering if you ever found resolve or treatment for the limping goat? Having the same issue here with a 1.5 year old myotonic wether.
Hello, sorry about your wether’s trouble. The mineral buffet I mention in the post and detail in Holistic Goat Care worked for us. It took a generation, though, it wasn’t a fix. Sadly. None of the other hundreds of people who have commented and/or emailed me have found a fix either. So sorry!