Goats are known for their horns, which are an important part of their anatomy. Horns help regulate internal temperature, eliminate excess heat, and protect against predators.
However, some goat farmers are worried about goat horn growing into head or ingrown, causing major problems for the goat if left untreated. This article will discuss the causes, prevention, and treatment of goat horns growing into the head.
Why Goat Horn Growing into Head?
Goat horns can grow deformed as a result of improper dehorning or disbudding. When this happens, it can cause major problems for the goat if left untreated.
Complications can arise from dehorning procedures, with one study reporting complications in 38.91% of goats that underwent surgical dehorning. These complications were categorized as major or minor.
Alternative methods, such as clove oil and cautery disbudding, have also been explored to evaluate their effectiveness in inhibiting horn growth in goat kids.
Other natural deformities can cause ingrown horns too, but you should always consult about this if you are buying a young goat from someone. Typically, what happens is that a goat that has been poorly disbudded will have ingrown horns or at least deformed horns.
Dehorning practices have become more widespread in recent years, and most ingrown horn incidents occur due to improper dehorning.
If all the horn-growing tissue is not removed, horns will grow deformed, often curling back towards the animal’s head. Dehorning procedures must be performed by an appropriately skilled person.
If the horn has penetrated the skull, it should be trimmed in accordance with the advice of a veterinarian. If the injury is too severe, the animal should be humanely killed.
The only thing you can do if your goat has an ingrown horn is to try and remove it.
There are a couple of ways you can do this. Unfortunately, there isn’t a way to do it that is entirely without discomfort for the goat. Either way, though, removing a goat’s horn is a very delicate job.
Ingrown horns are a serious concern, then, and you should always be on the lookout for signs. As soon as you notice any indication that the horn may be growing inwards or in any way that it is going to impact the head, you should start thinking about how to combat it.
Trimming a goat’s horns is a task that requires some finesse and a little help. Goat horns are part of the goat’s skull and have blood vessels within them, so you must not injure the animal during this procedure.
Use a bone saw to trim off only 1-inch sections of the goat’s horns at a time. Trimming more may strike an underlying blood vessel, causing severe bleeding. Clean up any blood immediately and tend to the wound if the animal is injured.
Medications After Dehorning
Although there are no drugs specifically approved for pain relief during dehorning in goats, options include local anesthetics, nerve blocks, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Antibiotics may also help prevent infections.
Consulting with a veterinarian is crucial for determining the best course of action based on the goat’s age, health, and circumstances. A study showed that isoflurane with or without meloxicam reduced pain, and meloxicam alone remains effective for up to 44 hours.
Sarah Lane has been a farm wife since 2010 and mother of two children for nearly as long. She and her husband, Jonathan, live on a small farm in Texas where they raise dairy goats and beef cattle as well as chickens for eggs and meat. In addition to growing their own hay, straw and garden produce, the Lane family works with other nearby farms to source organic grain from which they make artisan bread sold at local farmer’s market.