Merck Manual

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Professional Version

Trauma in Goats


Evelyn MacKay

, DVM, Texas A&M University

Reviewed/Revised Sep 2022 | Modified Oct 2022
Topic Resources

Goats, in general, are agile creatures; however, if frightened, they may attempt jumps that result in fractures or other injuries. Yards designed for goats that are infrequently handled should have a visual as well as physical barrier. Chain-link fences are often associated with limb fractures when used for goat enclosures. Shearing of Angora goats is a source of potential problems when the shearer’s comb cuts into or through the gastrocnemius tendon. If goats are attacked by dogs or wild canines and survive, they often have multiple traumatic injuries that can include fractures.

Some IM injections can cause inflammation and lameness. For example, mixed clostridial vaccines can cause severe soft-tissue swelling and lameness for ≥48 hours. Irritant drugs can damage nearby nerves and cause lameness, particularly when thin or young goats are injected in the thigh muscles and the sciatic nerve is affected. In some cases of severe mastitis, especially gangrenous, there is a hind limb lameness on the affected side because swelling and pain in the udder cause the doe to change her gait.

Fortunately, most fractures of the lower limbs heal rapidly with external fixation and a cast. Orthopedic procedures suitable for large dogs can typically be used for fracture fixation.

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