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Laminitis (Founder)

Laminitis (Founder)

Laminitis, also often called founder, is a condition of the hoof, caused by incorrect feeding. Similar in cause and effect to laminitis and founder in equines, it is the result of too much high protein feed or grass – often damp, new grass – which causes the laminae in the hoof to break down, hence the name, ‘laminitis’. Laminitis is actually the first stage of the illness, and will cause lameness, heat in the hooves and lower legs and a strange stance or gait. Founder is the second stage of the condition, where the laminae have released or relaxed their hold on the bones of the hoof, and it has rotated down to an improper position.


Laminitis, if caught quickly enough, is curable, but must be aggressively treated and managed to prevent a further episode. When founder occurs it is too late to cure, as the bone cannot be returned to its correct position, but if it is not too severe and the goat has not progressed to walking on the knees, or can be persuaded to walk correctly again, it is possible that it may be managed.


Other issues which may cause a goat to walk on the knees are an infection such as mastitis or pneumonia, or poor hoof care.


Treatment and Prevention: Caution must be taken to avoid excessive grain feeding at kidding time and immediately after as this can trigger knee walking. Neglected hoof trimming where “snow shoe feet” are evident will also result in laminitis. A round of antihistamines along with electrolyte drenching has been seen to aid in treatment. Cold-tubbing, immersing the goat’s feet in cold water to reduce the blood flow to the laminae, aids in recovery of laminitis, but a course of anti-inflammatories may be necessary. Good herd management really goes a long way in prevention, ie. attention to feeding, hoof trimming, and cleanliness is the best medicine.


Supplies for Prevention and Treatment

Shear Magic Hoof Trimmers
Hoof Plane
Hoof Pick
Hoof ’n Heel


Rx for Foot Scald


  • 1 pint Rubbing Alcohol
  • 2 Tablespoons “343” Terramycin Powder


Mix 2 Tbs of Terramycin Powder [22B-1] with 1 pt. of rubbing alcohol.  Pour into a spray bottle and apply liberally to affected area between “toes”.  This topical treatment may be enhanced by giving a 4cc injection of Bio-Mycin [18M-1]. The alcohol and terramycin  solution will change color after a few days, but it’s still okay to use.


Merck Veterinary Manuals – Laminitis in Goats

Pygmy Goat World Magazine – Laminitis / Founder in Goats