In this complete guide to goat hoof rot, we answer the most common questions that farmers ask about this condition, including what it is, symptoms, treatments, and more.
Table of contents
What is Goat Hoof Rot?
Hoof rot, infectious pododermatitis, or foot rot is the disease of the hoof in goats and other ruminants. As the name is indicating, this disease rots away the hoof of the goat, especially the region between the toes of the goats that get affected by this disease. This disease is very painful, and it is an ailment that spread from one goat to the others.
This disease causes economic losses to the farmers as if the goat become unable to stand or walk, and it doesn’t remain productive to the farmers. The goats become unable to stand and thus making the condition worse for the goats and the farmers. The goat will start losing the weight and the result is the loss of money.
What Causes Goat Hoof Rot?
Hoof rot is a common disease that occurs in goats. This disease is caused by the combination of two bacteria, i.e. Dichelobacter nodosus (also known as Bacteroides nodosus) and Fusobacterium necrophorum. The bacteria F. necrophorum is the naturally resident in the large intestine of small ruminants including goats, and also present in the faeces and soil.
The wet and cold weather condition will cause the accumulation of mud and the manure these resulting from the irritation of the foot of the goats. F. necrophorum alone cannot create the hoof rot disease in goats, and it only irritates the hoof. The other bacterium D. nodosus survive for fourteen days in the soil and will aid F. necrophorum bacterium to cause this disease.
The irritation from the hard surface starts between the toes of the hoof. With consistent access to moisture and dirt, the chances increase for bacteria to enter into the cracks created due to the hard surface. Initially, there will be the development hoof scald that is the formation of sores in between the hoof.
This condition is very painful similarly to the hoof rot and there will be the development of bad smell from the hooves. If kept untreated, the bacteria will enter the inner tissues of the foot that leads to rot.
The wet ground will keep the hood moist, thus increasing the chances for the bacteria to develop the disease within the hoof of the goats. The hard ground will support the bacteria and aids in causing hoof rot in goats by irritating the soft tissues of the foot.
What Are the Syptoms of Goat Hoof Rot?
The most common signs are the development of lesions within the toes. These lesions can be on one or both hooves lead to difficulty walking or lameness. The goats will start grazing on the knees.
The foot of the goats will become pinkish to red. There will be slimy and foul smell. The bacteria will break the soft tissues of the hoof between the outer wall and the sole. The goat will limp and avoid moving or walking. There will be a decrease in weight and decrease in production.
How to Treat Hof Rot in Goats?
The initial treatment of hoof rot is trimming of the hoof. Elimination of all the dead tissues from the foot, exposing the live tissue will aid in recovery. A solution containing zinc sulfate or iodine solutions is the most effective treatment against the hoof rot.
Administration of antibiotics like penicillin or other broad-spectrum antibiotics to avoid secondary infection is useful to treat the hoof rot. Apart from medicines, inject tetanus booster to eradicate the chances of tetanus disease to occur. Try to keep the hooves dry and clean to reduce the infection from the feet.
A foot bath in the copper sulfate is another effective treatment for hoof rot. Pour the maximum solution in the shallow enclosure for the goats to dip the affect hooves. Footrot remedy includes copper sulfate in a spray bottle will squirt the solution directly on the affected areas.
Use of lavender essential oil and garlic oil in a blend will help to treat the hoof rot. Other combinations from clove oil, tea tree oil, sage oil, or cinnamon oil are also useful in treating the foot rot.
Preventing Goat Hof Rot
It is challenging to prevent hoof rot to a certain extent as it is caused by the bacteria that survive within the soil. However, it is possible to minimise the chances of its occurrence. The reduction of disease chances is possible to limit the access of the goat to wet, moist pasture.
By providing a dry grassland to the goats, mainly during the seasons of rains will reduce the disease outbreak. The muddy bran or field will provide an environment to the bacteria to develop hoof rot.
It is one of the most common spreading diseases by introducing newly infected goats to the flock. To stop the illness from entering into the flock, quarantine the new goat to an isolated area for at least one month.
Trimming of the feet is necessary before the new goat introduces to the herd. There should be proper sanitary conditions especially during the wet season to minimise the chances of footrot development within the goats.
Avoid purchasing the goat having the issue of hoof rot. It is a contagious disease so a little effect of hoof rot in any goat will make it the illness of the flock. Trimming of the hoof is necessary to allow air to reach the foot so the air can blow the bacteria out of the hoof.
The regular trimming of the hoof should be 1-2 times per year. Trimming makes the sole flat by removing all the mud and the faeces trapped in it and decreasing the possibility of the hoof rot and hoof scald.
A bath of copper sulfate can help to prevent the occurrence of this disease. Keep the bedding clean, especially for the goats that get infected with this disease. The bedding should remain fresh at least till the foot of goat heal completely before reintroducing the affected goat to the herd.
Thus it is essential to keep the bedding, and the hooves of the goat clean and well maintained so that the disease outbreak doesn’t enter into herd and goats remain safe. With proper care, the hoof rot infection will stay out of the pack and goats can enjoy health and a comfortable life.