Goat with Broken Leg
Written by Administrator-GL   
Friday, 20 July 2007

How to fix a goat's broken leg

Ideally of course a vet should be able to Xray and cast or splint a broken leg for your goat. If for some reason you cannot have a vet do the procedure, it IS possible to do this yourself at home, depending of course on the severity of the break. ALL compound fractures (where the broken bone is extending outside of the skin) should be seen by a vet!

If the break is not compound, you can either splint the leg or cast the leg. I prefer to use a cast:

    Access the Situation:

  • Lay the goat down on the opposite side of the leg that is broken
  • Calm the goat down so you can take a look at the leg and determine where the break is
  • Have your casting material ready to go:

  • Get something to place under the break so they it will hold the leg in place while you cast/splint the leg- Use a flat brick or stack of books- the idea is to have the leg straight as possible where the break is and each side of the break even with each other.
  • Have something to use for padding: Gauze, papertowels, cotton balls, fabric, I use mohair from a sheared angora goat
  • Vetwrap or elastic bandaging to hold padding in place- I prefer vetwrap
  • Premade strips of impregnated plaster gauze is best-made especially for casting
  • Bowl of water to wet the pre-impregnated strips down
  • OR- Bowl of plaster of paris mixed with water to a consistency of cake batter
  • Strips of gauze to lay into the plaster of paris and allow to drip before applying
  • The Procedure:

  • Feel where the break is and determine where the bone should be, usually it is not that far off place
  • Once you have the break in your mind's eye, place something under the leg to hold it as close to where the bone should be as possible- try to line the broken ends as best as you can, with gentle palpation you should be able to feel this
  • You want to put a wrap of something around the leg for padding, You can use gauze, paper towels, soft fabric or I use mohair sheared from other angora goats
  • Once you have the padding in place, you want to hold it there- I use vetwrap, applied around the entire area to be cast- make sure to not have it too tight as you can cut off blood supply to the lower extremity - which would be worse than not casting the leg at all. If possible allow the goat to lay there for 20-30 minutes after applying the vetwrap to make sure the lower part of the leg and hoof is still warm- if the leg or hoof is cold, take off the vetwrap and re-wrap it more loosely
  • Go slowly and use one of the 2 choices of strips, wrap one around the area to be cast and wait a couple of minutes before you apply the next one
  • Once you get a single layer of strips on the leg wait about 15 minutes before applying the second layer- if you do not wait the plaster may not dry properly
  • Continue to apply the layers, making sure not to tighten the area to be cast more than it was with just the wrap on it.
  • Wait after each full layer of casting material
  • Make sure to go well above and below the break to support the broken bone
  • Make sure to allow the leg to be in a natural position for comfort
  • Make sure the cast does not rub on a joint or top of hoof to rub it raw and cause possible infection or pain
  • Make sure the cast is fully set before you allow the goat to get up and move around, this may take an hour
Once the cast is in place and the goat has been up and around for awhile (an hour) feel again the hoof and lower part of the leg below the cast- if this is cold or cool to the touch, Remove the cast and start again. This is of extreme importance! For the first few days after applying the cast, feel the lower part of the leg a few times per day to make sure circulation has not stopped and if it has immediately remove the cast!

My Goat's Legs that have been cast at home
Cast on angora goat leg
Goat with cast on front leg
Angora goat with broken front leg cast
5 week old baby angora goat with  upper back leg broken in 3 places cast at home
BeBeep with a bad break just below the knee on his back leg- because of the severity of the break and the placement I chose to cast the leg straight - well below the knee and above the knee for stability
BeBeep with a bad break just below the knee on his back leg- because of the severity of the break and the placement I chose to cast the leg straight - well below the knee and above the knee for stability
Note: You can make your own casting strips in your spare time by cutting strips of gauze and placing them in a bowl of plaster of paris slightly thinner than cake batter consistency, and then allowing to drip and dry by clipping them to a hanger. Make these about 2 inches wide and 12 inches long. Allow them to completely dry and then store in a zip lock bag for future use, all you do when using them is to dip them in warm water briefly before applying
NOTE: plaster of Paris gets hot when wet and beginning to cure so be aware of this when casting a goat's leg, make sure to allow each layer to partially dry before applying the next layer to avoid heat from curing
NOTE: If this cast is on a young goat the cast will need to be taken off and reapplied every 2 weeks to allow for goat growth

Usually a broken leg will be healed enough to not have to have the cast in place after 4-6 weeks.
Aspirin can be given for pain and swelling- Not tylenol, not advil ONLY aspirin, a whole baby aspirin for small goats and a 325mg adult aspirin for a large goat over 100lbs.
Penicillin Procaine G should be given for any broken bones to avoid possible bone infection. I use Penicillin Procaine G injected at the rate of 1cc/25lbs goat weight injected twice daily for 7 days, remembering to always draw back on the syringe plunger before injecting to make sure I was not in a blood vessel because PennG can be fatal gotten into the blood stream. Read How to Splint a Broken Leg: Broken leg
Andrea Green's Goat- Claudia's Broken Leg

When Claudia was just a few days old, she got her leg caught in the gate to her pen. When she twisted, her leg broke just above the growth plate. I called the vet. He came and put a cast on it. The following pictures show the way it was done.

After straightening the leg, the vet started by wraping it with gauze. He put adhesive to anchor the rest of the bandage.
His assistant held her leg in the proper position. Claudia was such a good girl.

He put a thick padding over the gauze and tape. Then he cut a piece of PVC pipe to fit the length of her leg and taped it in position.

After securing the brace, he wraped it with another layer of gauze then put the tape up over the gauze. The tape held the brace from sliding down

With a final wrap of vet wrap to hold it all together, Claudia's leg was all fixed.
It took Claudia a little while to get use to her "new" leg. But once she did, you couldn't keep her down.

The bandage had to be changed ever ten days to two weeks for six weeks. Once Claudia's leg healed, you couldn't see where it had been broken.

I sold Claudia as a two year old to a man that wanted to use her as a brood doe for raising boer kids. I haven't seen her for a number of years.

Provided by AJ's Udder Delight
Last Updated ( Saturday, 11 April 2009 )