I don't know what got into Pepper a few nights ago. A young Nubian buckling, he seemed to go from cute bottle baby to hormone driven horn dog over night. Lately he has been spending a lot of time at the gate to the doe pasture, tongue hanging out, pawing the ground and trying to convince the girls that he is mature beyond his young age and boyish good looks. I knew his adolescent buck hormones had driven him goofy when I caught him trying to romance an overturned bucket in the backyard one day but neither my husband or I expected him to do what he did the other night.
Pepper has a routine, it is the same one he has had for months. Since he is too young to go out with the big Boer bucks but obviously too mature to go out with the doelings he has had the run of the backyard during the day and we shut him in his pen at night to keep him safe; though that seems ironic now.
My husband had just shut him in his pen for the night when out of the blue Pepper decided he was going to jump the cattle panel fence that his pen is made out of. He almost made it over, almost. Neither one of us seen him jump, Jamey was walking away from the pen when he heard Pepper let out a yell and the cattle panel shaking. He ran back to the pen in a matter of seconds to find Pepper hanging from his back leg and he quickly lifted him down and set him on the ground outside of his pen but it was too late. I did not see this happen but I knew it was bad when I heard Jamey bellow out a string of cuss words that didn't quite hide the break in his voice. I calmed Jamey down but Pepper didn't need calmed down. He was back over at the gate to the doe pasture again standing on three legs and trying to romance the does on the other side like he didn't even know he was hurt.
I knew the second I looked at his leg he was though, it dangled at an impossible angle for any intact bone. It was not a pleasant thing to see but at least luckily it was not a compound fracture. This was 10pm and I knew we would not get a vet out that night. We would have to splint it and take him to the vet first thing in the morning. In the almost eight years we have raised goats I have seen and treated a lot of different things but this was the first broken bone that needed splinting. I cleared off a table and we brought Pepper in the house and gave him a shot of Banamine for pain and inflammation.
Then we gathered up what materials we had knowing that we did not need something long term but just something to get him through the night until we took him to the vet first thing the next morning. I would have preferred to have a lighter weight PVC pipe cut lengthwise in two to use but we had to make do with some slightly curved trim boards cut to length. We also had scissors, cloth for padding (cotton or gauze wrap would have worked much better) vet wrap and tape. The cotton balls were there for extra padding if needed, though we didn't end up using them.
This was definitely a two person job even with a young goat like Pepper. We laid him on his side on the table with the broke leg up. It was easy to determine that it was his cannon bone that was broken. Carefully aligning his leg straight it was then wrapped snugly with cloth padding and taped. Then the two boards were positioned on each side of his broken leg and slightly past his hoof so that his weight would be on the boards and not his hoof and that was taped. Then we wrapped his leg with vet wrap starting at the bottom and working up, being careful to keep the vet wrap smooth and snug but not too tight as to impair circulation. His toes were left exposed to air so I could check them for swelling periodically. It just had to get him through the night. Pepper was then put in a small room until morning to keep him from getting any more ideas about jumping or running on his leg.
First thing the next morning as soon as the vet clinic opened we loaded Pepper in the car and drove him to town. He rode the whole way in the backseat with his head laying between the front seats to be close to us. The picture below is Jamey and Pepper outside the vet clinic. In this picture it looks like Pepper's whole foot is sticking out of the splint but that is actually his other leg. It is important the splint goes slightly past their hoof so they are walking on it and not their broken leg.
Pepper was very well behaved in the waiting room at the vet clinic. He was the center of attention, being such a charming goat in the waiting room. He visited and made friends with everyone. Though he didn't much care for being held to get his leg X-rayed. The receptionist thought he yelled like a woman but I didn't tell Pepper what she said.
After the X-rays were taken it was back out to the waiting room again to wait for a little bit but as long as he was getting lots of attention and nobody was holding him down on any tables, Pepper didn't mind.
It wasn't too long until we got to go back and look at his X-rays to see his broken bone. The vet said we did a good job aligning it when we splinted it. He was going to just leave the splint we had on him because he said he couldn't align it any better than we had it, but we all felt like it needed just a little more padding since we didn't have any cotton padding and had to make do with a washcloth. So they kept Pepper at the vet's office for awhile and put a new splint on his leg with more padding. Then they called us to come pick him up.
We brought Pepper home and put him in a small stall so his leg can heal. He has another follow-up appointment with the vet in a week. He will most likely be wearing a splint for six weeks. Poor Pepper, but he is getting lots of TLC and treats to keep his spirits up while he recovers. I am certainly praying that his leg heals well and he can get back to his old antics soon. Minus any fence jumping of course.
8 hours ago