Both of Harriet’s horns had already broken off before we bought the farm – long time readers will remember that Harriet was one of the 2 original goats that came along with the farm from the prior owners.
However, the prior breaks did not completely stop the horns from continuing to grow. Pieces of each of her horns are still growing slowly. The remnant horn growths are called scurs.
Unfortunately one or her scurs was growing but curving back towards her head and was close to touching her skull. It needed to be cut or removed to prevent the horn from pushing against her skull.
We asked the vet to perform the procedure as we hadn’t previously cut or removed a horn ourselves (though we did deal with the aftermath after another goat broke off a piece of his horn). The vet’s initial plan was to just remove a small portion off the tip of the scur so it wouldn’t be touching her skull. Given Harriet’s advanced age and slow growth of the scur, it would have been unlikely that the horn would grow enough to touch her skull again.
However, not everything goes to plan. While the vet was beginning to cut the tip of the horn, the entire horn scur broke off!
The vet had already numbed Harriet’s head all around the horn so Harriet was not in immediate pain. But we needed a way to seal the horn and stop the bleeding.
The vet used candle wax – it would seal the wound and stop the bleeding while being safe for goats in case they tried to eat it off of Harriet’s head.
The vet used a scented Apple Pumpkin candle so Harriet’s horn was bright red and she smelled fairly pleasant (for a goat) for a couple of days. We kept Harriet separate from the other goats for a few days so we could monitor her, have easier access to give her additional pain medication and prevent the other goats from ramming her in the head while she was sore.
Harriet never seemed to be in any major distress over it and has now fully recovered.