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Old 09/16/04, 12:01 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Washington
Posts: 3
Question Why is my goat walking on her knees?


Our Alpine doe is walking on her knees off and on. She will even graze or rest on her knees! She has been doing this the past two weeks or so, otherwise she seems normal. She does seem thinner than she was 3 mo. ago, but those are the only changes I'v noticed. Heres a little background info on her...
We bought her at an auction 15 mo. ago. She is about 6 yo. She had 3 kids five mo. ago and still had one buck kid with her, though he is weaned. When we got her she was skin and bones and had 2 8 week old kids with her. She is up to date on her goat shots, and we recently trimmed her hooves and checked for any foreign objects that might be causing her to walk on her knees. We have not tested our goats for CAE.
Thanks for any suggestions you might have
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Old 09/16/04, 12:08 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,061
I would strongly suggest getting her tested for cae, and i would keep her from the other goats, until , I found out what was wrong with her.
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Old 09/16/04, 06:27 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: CO
Posts: 601
My DD goats do this quite often. They are too lazy to get up and walk they would rather just stay close to the ground and move to get the food faster..
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Old 09/17/04, 03:43 AM
Laura Workman's Avatar
(formerly Laura Jensen)
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Lynnwood, Washington
Posts: 2,475
A goat on it's knees is a goat not feeling good. Presuming you can't find anything wrong with her feet, and she hasn't got arthritis, you will want to seriously question her mineral status. Are you feeding alfalfa? If not, where is her calcium coming from? Does your free choice mineral supplement contain copper? Sheep & Goat mineral has no copper and goats NEED copper, lots of copper. Without more information on your management, it's really hard to guess what's going on, but this should be a start.
The basic message of liberalism is simply: The true measure of a society is how it treats the weak and the needy. A simple Christian message (Matthew 25:40). -Garrison Keillor
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Old 09/17/04, 05:07 PM
Join Date: May 2002
Location: North of Houston TX
Posts: 4,817
Something else to add to Laura's great post is your feed. Lots of times when new folks get on lists like this, they use all the information, good and bad, then start overgraining their goats, especially when the goats are thin. This causes founder, a buildup of heat in the front hooves, although the damage can be seen in the hoofwall of the rear feet, rarely do the goats limp on these. The first thing seen is a doe who will not walk on her hooves, you can also after several months see the deep groove in the outside wall of the hoof, where the founder occured. If managment doesn't improve, or the doe doesn't get used to the copious amounts of feed, usually sweet feed, which makes her want to eat more and more, than she will go down.

Keeping her feet trimmed really short is about all you can do. Jeffers carries a herbal bute called Buteless, any minerals that are good for horse feet, biotin etc., works well also. You can also put her on glucosomine/chondroiton and MSM for joint health. If you do not have her up and walking by winter, and you can not pen her in a ultra clean barn for your muddy or wetcold winters, you may want to put her down.

CAE is usually quite eveident in a doe who is now down. The knees are huge, padded, the knee pads are usually noneveident, and the fluid can be felt in both knees. You can usually see swelling in the hocks also, although once again it is not a cause of limpling.

A sure way to find out what is going on is to have an experienced goat owner come look at them, knee fluid pulled and sent in would diagnose CAE or mycoplasma. Rarely do healthy goats have arthritis that only causes knee problems, it is actually shoulder and hip problems that arthritis hits. I would be scarred to death just what all she is passing around your herd, not only to her kids in the milk, but to your other goats...or you in the milk. Good luck with her. Vicki
Vicki McGaugh
Nubian Soaps
North of Houston TX

A 3 decade dairy goat farm homestead that is now a retail/wholesale soap company and construction business.
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Old 09/17/04, 08:30 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: CHINA
Posts: 9,569
I have a huge HUGE like 160lb doe that is mostly Toggy that does this always has and probably always will !!! There is nothing wrong with her but her neck is shorter than my Nubians....eating uphill on her knees with a green stained chin!

She has done this since I got her at age 2 years, now she is 7 and still the Queen of Mean and strong and agile and giving over 1 gallon a day with fast growing babies. She has more giddyup than any of the other girls I have. She loves to eat and way more than the rest....
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Old 09/19/04, 11:45 AM
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Northern Maine
Posts: 110
Minerals and feed have a lot to do with health and health problems. I finally ordered my bag of cold sea kelp and am awaiting it to get here by Pony Express. I can't wait to see if it will make a difference like I have read. We went back to getting our old minerals we used to feed when we lived near the supplier in VA. I can get them up in MO. A good mineral and selinium and copper are important. As is the feed.

Many years ago, this was back in 1991 when we had Nubians, I got an older doe who was 8 yrs old, she lived with a horse as his companion all her life and had never been bred. She ended up getting bred by our Nubian buck and had a baby buck in Jan of 1992. Shortly after I noticed Nancy on her knees a lot, wondered what it was. I can't remember if her knees were swollen or not. So when the blacksmith came out to do my horse's feet I had him check hers, no founder, all OK. So next step was the vet, I took her to the vet and he said it was CAE. Do you know how he determined that? I'll never forget it, he looked it up in his book. He couldn't figure out what it was she had. Never drew blood, etc to make sure. But that was in the early days of CAE and with us being new to goats we didn't have any sources of information other than our small local goat community. No internet, etc. So no one ever mentioned CAE back then. The vet put her to sleep, I had to take Nancy there, and in my car to boot, because my husband had the truck. I asked him to take her body, he told me he couldn't, he put her in a garbage bag and in the trunk of my car. It was awful.

Just a plug here for glucosomine, I bought a pound container 4 yrs ago and began feeding it to my older does. The stuff lasts forever because you give a 3TBLSP once a day to them. Its a sticky powder and sweet. People use it too, I tried it and that was because the folks at springbriar where I bought it from took it too. But don't eat it outright, its nasty, I tried top dressing it for the girls but they snorted it away. I had to mix it for Jackie (my beloved Alpine) in peanut butter, she spit that clump out at me and it landed smack on my chest, looked like she slung poop at me! I then gave it to her in yogurt, she took it that way. Now I will add this too, if she has arthritis like my Jackie had in her back, the best thing to do is to put her down. I knew Jackie was in pain, the vet pointed it out to me too, I loved her so much that I did. It still hurts, but I know she is OK over the Rainbow Bridge and causing trouble there too!

Another insight into CAE, respiratory problems usually go hand in hand with it, so if she is suddenly experiencing pnemonia and its frequent and getting skinny I'd be leery. Frequent pnemonia doesn't always happen, but it can. Get her tested for your peace of mind. You can draw the blood yourself and send it.

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Old 09/19/04, 11:25 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Washington
Posts: 3
Thumbs up Thanks, you guys are GREAT!!!!!

Thanks for all the wonderful advice you gave me. It looks like she might have a mineral deficiency. I checked her knees and they are fine. No fluid or squishy feeling. Next I checked their mineral/salt block and you are right, NO COPPER! Oh I feel horrible, I'v had these goats for almost 2 years and didn't know that they needed copper in larger amounts than other farm animals. I knew they needed selenium as our area is deficient. You guys are the best, thanks so much
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Old 09/19/04, 11:45 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 1,061
Just glad you found out.
I give mine goat minerals, as a top dressing , on their grain. a bag lasts forever. mine is called
purnia goat minerals. It is great stuff. and like I said, it lasts for ever.
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