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Old 26th February 2009, 08:47 AM   #1
Hawai
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Rickets in young goats??

I have a call into my vet but while I'm waiting for a call back I thought I'd ask here as well seeing as there's a good number of goat people here.
I have a some young (6-7 months old) Saanen kids (does & wethers) and when I drenched them yesterday afternoon I noticed two of them looked to have mildly bent/bowed front legs. Further inspection showed their knee joints look a bit swollen too, but don't seem painful to touch/flex.
They are grass fed, with adlib hay & a multimineral salt block, and have free access to a large barn for sleeping and as shelter from pesky rain showers.
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Old 26th February 2009, 09:38 AM   #2
Pumpkingirl
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Re: Rickets in young goats??

There's a couple of thing to consider but obviously a vet on the ground with all the information in front of him/her is going to have the best idea, well done for getting them on to it so quickly.

One thought is that kids can have contracted tendons (which tends to cause the legs to bow inwards, knee to knee). Pat Coleby (author of Natural Goat Care*) says to her, that indicates a lack of vitamin A+D and she uses cod liver oil to correct it (half a teaspoon every day, in the mouth, good luck with that!). But why the lack of vitamin A+D, if that is the case? There are lots of reasons for contracted tendons but the one that Pat goes on about most is CAE (Caprine Arthritis Encephelitis), passed on from mother to kid via colostrum, which also causes swollen knees (and is often referred to coloquially as "big knees").

The other option is "bent leg", often caused (says Pat) by over-feeding of milk, causing a calcium/magnesium to phosphate imbalance - the bones grow too fast, become soft and porous and then bend under the weight of the growing body. Again, she recommends cod-liver oil, no grain, a teaspoon of dolomite and yellow sulphur each day, and seaweed meal ad lib.

*While I greatly admire Pat, I do always caution this information by saying she writes about conditions in Australia, which are vastly different to NZ conditions/soil etc, and I would never take her information over a vet standing in front of me (although I may ask a question or two).

Having had a doe with CAE, with swollen knees, I'm a bit more suspicious of that these days. It does kill them in the end, as the CAE spread to their organs. You can test for it, if you're worried.
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Old 26th February 2009, 10:05 AM   #3
LongRidge
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Re: Rickets in young goats??

If you said where you were, it would make giving suggestions a lot more relevant for your area.
Goats need much more copper than sheep do, and bowed legs is a symptom of copper deficiency in goats. If you are in a copper deficient area (Northland, Canterbury and others), then the copper in the salt block is about ten times not enough for goats. Unfortunately a blood test won't show much, because a liver sample is needed to get a good guess of copper status. Also, there is very little accurate information about goats in NZ, and some overseas information is not very useful because the analyses are done differently in NZ and overseas.
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Old 26th February 2009, 09:03 PM   #4
Hawai
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Re: Rickets in young goats??

Thanks PG & Longridge. PG, I hope it's not CAE, the herd they came from is supposed to be CAE clear.
The vet rang back & he wants to start with a pasture sample, so tomorrow on our way to Auckland I'm going to drop one into the clinic. He's also going to have some Adjec ready for me to collect at the same time and I've got to inject it weekly for 3 -4 weeks. Because they're only mildly affected he feels we should be able to correct it without any problems. He has also recommended that I supplement their grass & hay with a good quality goat meal, one that has good levels of Calcium & Phosphorus in it. I'll pick this up in Cambridge tomorrow on our way home from Auckland.

Longridge, we live in the central NI.

Thanks again.
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Old 27th February 2009, 07:29 AM   #5
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Re: Rickets in young goats??

I am not sure what they can tell you with any certainty from a pasture sample...they are not well correlated to what is going on in the animal (an example for me comes to mind: a serious copper deficiency in cattle ...and the pasture sample showed high copper. Other interfering factors came into play and caused a real copper deficiency while the pasture sample was high). Testing the animals is a lot more reliable when investigating the cause of a suspected deficiency.

A copper deficiency can be diagnosed on a blood sample - a liver sample is best although not many people are keen on live liver samples for some reason. Copper in the blood remains normal until the animal is in a deficient state and liver stores have run out. A low copper in the blood therefore can tell you a lot!

A good clinical exam of the animal and blood test for calcium and phosphorus can be strongly indicative of rickets. If you want to go the whole way then x-rays can also help.

http://www.merckvetmanual.com/mvm/in...m/bc/90600.htm
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