Oregon State vet school launches CH study
Carpal hyperextension (CH) in Nigerian Dwarf goats is a painful, well-known condition usually involving the front knees. It causes varying degrees of lameness. CH animals have a characteristic posture of ‘hanging’ an affected leg – holding it forward and slightly off the ground, and the condition tends to worsen with time.
OSU will study the condition to learn more and to attempt to identify possible causes, both genetic and environmental. CH can be extremely debilitating, and has been a known problem in the breed since author and cheesemaker Gianaclis Caldwell at Pholia Farm first published a description of it in her Oregon herd.
Dr. Erica McKenzie, a professor of large animal medicine, and Dr. Leah Streb, an OSU resident, led the study, which included a broad survey of breeders with animals who have experienced carpal hyperextension. There was also extensive field examination with “hands on animals” and a battery of tests, including mineral and bloodwork, imaging of affected legs, calculation of joint angles, and an exploration of possible genetic links.
CH has been attributed by some to mineral imbalances, which certainly could be a factor. It’s also possible there is a genetic predisposition; McKenzie is “strongly suspicious” of genetics playing some kind of role. To read more about the status of the recently concluded study please visit the CH Facebook group, linked below.
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