Examine the Legs and
problems are common in the small ruminant and careful examination is
required to be certain that a suspected locomotor problem is not, in fact
secondary to a neurologic, metabolic, or infectious disease. Animals
with Gangrenous Mastitis often present lame to the naive observer as the
limb in question bangs alongside the engorged, painful udder.
Parasitic migrations within the spinal cord (specifically P. tenius) often
begin as a hind limb lameness. Lambs and kids with White Muscle
Disease will present stiff and unwilling to ambulate. Begin by
observing the animal move about. The excited small ruminant may
appear sound and only when the animal settles down and moves slowly may a
subtle lameness become obvious. When standing still, the animal may
swing or hold the affected limb off the ground.
The foot should be
examined for dampness and/or redness in the interdigital space indicative
of Footrot. The claws should be tested for soreness with hoof
testers or digital pressure. A repetitive, positive response is
indicative of a hoof abscess. Overgrown hooves should be trimmed to
determine the health of the hoof wall and sole.
Next the joint
should be palpated for swelling, soreness, and/or decreased range of
motion. Septic joints in small ruminants are typically very painful
yet variably distended. CAE Arthritis is extremely common in goats
leading to lameness and enlargement of the carpal joints. The spine
should be assessed for straightness. Scoliosis is common and often
leads to lameness and/or an abnormal gait. When lameness is observed
and the examination is normal, evaluation of the neurologic system is
warranted. The presence of proprioceptive deficits in one or both
hind limbs is indicative of a spinal cord problem.
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