Patrick the goat with laminitis

Patrick the goat with laminitis

Watch for this stealthy, painful condition! Patrick has painful laminitis, a condition that goes drastically underdiagnosed in goats, but is rife amongst the pet-goat world.

Patrick is a much-loved middle-aged goat but he has been eating on his knees lately, and his owners had become concerned. Eating down on their knees means his feet are painful for one reason or another, so as our Lifestyle Block vet I was called out to help poor Patrick out.

Patrick’s hoof quality is not great, and he does have the nasty bacteria that causes Foot Rot lingering in his paddock but underlying all of this he has a long term condition called “Laminitis”. At my last visit, Patrick displayed the signs of laminitis so textbook that I just couldn’t help snapping a few pics and doing a story.

See how he is standing in a “rocking horse stance”, rocking back on to his heels? That tells us his toes are sore. The shifting lameness from one side to the other tells us it’s in BOTH front feet, and down on his knees…. well we already know what he’s telling us there.

Laminitis is when the laminae (the velcro that holds the bone of the toe, to the inside of the hoof wall), becomes inflamed. You can get sudden horrible laminitis from inflammation in the body, but more commonly (and very often undiagnosed) is smouldering laminitis often from “Carbohydrate Overload”. In other words, too much lush green, sugary grass, bread, grain, etc. Just like horses.

We see:

  1. Soreness of the toes, usually both front feet.
  2. They don’t want to stand long, they’ll often eat on their knees
  3. Grinding teeth is a common pain behaviour
  4. Hot feet around the top of the foot, but cold at the toe
  5. You may notice old bleeding through the sole of the foot. Like bruising, but bruising should no longer be painful by the time you see it.
  6. Any other signs of the underlying cause.

Over time, the hoof grows oddly, and eventually, the middle toe can be a LOT deeper than the outside toe (a little height difference is normal). We call these “Platform Soles”.

Make sure you get a vet out if you notice them eating on their knees - their feet are painful! If we don’t get this condition corrected, you can have real long-term damage to the feet that is difficult to correct.

Lucky for Patrick his owner is getting to the bottom of it! Blood tests to detect nutritional deficiencies leading to poor hoof health, management to prevent any infection, dietary correction and anti-inflammatories. I’m very impressed

Dr Sarah Clews BSc BVSc


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