This blog post was left in “Draft” purgatory. The injury happened back in April. Whoops!
This innocent looking hay feeder has caused a lot of grief. Thus it, and it’s siblings have been banned from the kid pens forever.
It was fine until Rhododendron took to napping up there. She and her sister had managed to pull out quite a bit of the hay while playing after the night time milk bottle. She slipped a front leg and her head through one of the squares while napping. This cut off some circulation to the leg and pulled a muscle and or tendon in her shoulder. She was not really thrilled about being stuck in there and was happy to be fished out in the morning. My guess is she had a really nasty case of “pins & needles” as the feeling returned to her leg.
Goats bear most of their weight on the front end, so she had been hobbling along on 3+ legs for a week. It is getting better, and she is putting weight on it when she walks. I was fairly certain I had fixed the problem with the feeder and left it in there.
Well, either I didn’t fix the problem well enough, or Rhubarb was feeling left out. I gave the brunch bottle and then headed back to tidy up a few things around the grain bins and pulled a few weeds in the garden outside the barn door. No sounds of distress were heard at any time.
When I went back in, Miss Rhuby was dangling her back leg at a very odd angle. When I felt of it, I was sure that there were no major breaks along any of the bones. The stifle joint did feel odd. I made the assumption that she must have been doing “Wallies” and caught her leg in the feeder and dislocated her stifle joint on the way down. (Neither she nor her sister will confirm or deny this.) “Wallies” are when baby goats zoom around and run half -way up a solid surface and bounce off.
I called our long time veterinary hospital and scheduled an appointment. I am guessing it has been 6 years or so since we had anything for them to see. Most of the general animal care can be done by the herd owner, if they have the interest to learn the skills. After 20 some years, the vet knows if I am bringing him something, it’s gonna be something worth looking at. He read the bit about my theory on the dislocated stifle joint and then brought her into the exam table. After skootching her leg around a bit while holding the stifle he rattled off a sentence that sounded like this. “Hmmm. I think what we have here feels like a Paddellurlar Fracture.” Really. He told me at least twice what it was called, but my brain refuses to hold on to the word. I know where it is. It is the growth plate at the base of the ball of the stifle joint. Yeah. My heart sank at the mention of the word “fracture”.
So that meant a few x-rays. Sure enough Dr.K showed me the nifty wedge of nothingness in that area. He also took a shot of the angle he was proposing to splint the leg in. While discussing the problem with fractures to growth plates, it was brought up that this may heal fine, but cause the growth plate in that area to stop growing. Nice. It had to be the longest bone in the rear leg too, huh?
After consulting with the other vet in attendance it was determined that we ought to try this relatively new method of splinting the leg. If we left the leg to heal splinted or casted out straight, it may heal, but the angle of her rear leg would be effected, causing her to have an altered gait. When we looked at the image Dr. K took of her leg tucked up, it closed the gap in the fracture, putting it as close to closed and normal as possible. This splint/sling holds the leg like this. Granted it means that she’ll be three-legged for about 2 months, but it also means she may walk normally again.
So, functioning off of some photocopied directions of a dog’s leg being done up this way, he and the girls gave it a go. I did take some photos for his scrapbook, or if he decides to write up an article on this for a vet journal or something. Rhuby was not too thrilled with the x-ray portion and not wanting to be in the way, nor exposed to random radiation we did not photo that portion of the adventure. That, and I left the camera out in the car until we started the splint business.
The lower portion of the leg was wrapped with a hefty layer of cushiony gauze and then wrapped with Elasticon. If she had been a buck that would have posed a set of different problems since a belly wrap would have been impossible. That Elasticon stuff is like a sticky ace bandage. I am not looking forward to removing that. We are hoping for only one or two re-wraps during the two months, but it will depend on how much she grows.
So for now I have two adorable but gimpy Saanen kids. The hay feeder has been removed from the pen, and banned in any pen that kids will be in. So here’s to hoping that all grows together well!