We have a goat, Claw, who is almost 4 months old. He was born with contracted tendons due to his mother being overfed and there not being enough room for he and his brother.
Claw has had good and bad days and this past weekend we were finally able to shorten his splints so that he has full mobility of both front legs. However, his strength is not so great. When he had his full leg splint on his right leg, the leg that needed the most support because it would over rotate and over extend, he had almost no trouble moving around, in fact he would almost keep up with the others. He is starting to build more muscle around his knees and forearms, but not enough to keep him standing long enough to go to the bathroom after a day of therapy. Now in the morning when I go into the barn his belly and thighs are wet from lying in his urine.
I should mention that prior to his short splints that he was unable to lay down properly, like the other goats, but now that his mobility is there he is starting to figure out how to lay down and get back up the way the others do, and that is where he struggles. He will sometimes use his head and hind legs to propel himself to get his hooves under him if he falls down.
He is a fighter and thats why we kept him, I know deep down that someday he will walk because I've seen him run when he had his other splints on.
I've looked into Munk's livestock sling, goat/sheep boots to aid in traction, and barrels that he can be laid across to help him stand for short periods of time during the day.
I guess what my real question is, is there anybody on here who has ever had experience with a down goat, or seen a situation like this where therapy was used. I have come across numerous blogs online that I googled where there were goats in a similar situation but they had already known how to walk so it was easier for them to get back on their feet.
Please no negative comments, I understand that most people would have just put him down when he was born and saw that his legs were crooked. But for the life in me I couldn't bring myself to because I saw how he was determined to get up and nurse just minutes after birth.
No advice, but just wanted to wish you luck. I enjoyed the pictures you posted of Claw a while back. You can tell he has a very sweet spirit and I can understand why you're working so hard to help him live a good life.
My theory has always been that if a critter shows a will to live, I'll do everything in my power to help them do so.
Give Claw scritches for me~
I was probably one of those blogs you read. I get a lot of hits from people googling contracted tendons. I keep meaning to do a really indepth explanation for what it is, what we did, etc. But, like you said, our situation was not quite like yours. Lily actually couldn't walk but only for the first few days. Once she got the hang of walking, it was better for us to take the splints off as much as possible. Full use of her legs was what she needed to get the right muscles going. The splints just hindered her. BUT, we did need to splint her at night to try to keep things stretching.
So...er...sorry, not much help. I think moving away from splints all together is the right direction. Do you give him any time of no-splints to experiment with his legs? If not, I would start that and give him some time every day. You might have to hold him up with one of those aides you mentioned - but do it without the splints for sure!
I'm guessing it was 6 months before you couldn't tell anything had ever been wrong with Lily's legs. I may have to go back and look at my notes from that time, but it seemed like forever that she ran funny.
I would maybe splint him sometimes & then take the splints off for the rest of the time like Madness said so he will have to work the other muscles he's not used to using because of the splints & gradually give him more & more time off the splints each day.
I wonder if a sling under his belly & a harness & then put him on a leash so you can kinda help steady him & walk around with him everyday a little bit to help build his strength & muscles up would work?
I don't have any experience with this I am just guessing what I would try if I had a baby like that.
Your doing such a good job with him & I remember his pictures you posted, he was such a little cutie.
Thank you for all the kind words and advice! Today was a better day than yesterday. I brought him outside when the rain stopped and helped him stand for a little bit then showed him how to lie down and get back up properly before he relaxed. For the claw lovers I have new pics!
Claw ventures outside of the barnyard for some taller grasses.
Claw with his long splint on to provide support when walking so his knee didn't hyper-extend, and Safak, one of our Turkish Kangal LGDs