Back in mid-January, our ram Sams somehow managed to break his right foreleg – probably cavorting around with the goats on the hills.
When we first put him in solitary, he wouldn’t put any weight on the leg at all. We called the vet — $800 to amputate, $1300 to set and cast. We love Sams, but he’s only worth about $300 on the market and since we got him from our neighbors at Distracted Acres down the hill from us, finding a well-bred replacement wouldn’t be that difficult.
Our next step was to call our mentors at Distracted Acres and ask them for their guidance. Heath dropped by the next day to take a look, and recommended we try setting it ourselves with split PVC pipe and vetwrap. Since the worst of the pain seemed to be gone, and we knew we wouldn’t be spending more, it was worth a try! As a breeder, his hind legs were still intact, so all we needed him to be able to do was get around comfortably, not necessarily have full use of the broken leg. And if it didn’t work, as long as we kept him fed and comfortable, we still had the option to harvest him after giving him time.
The local Ace Hardware folks helped us by cutting some short lengths of PVC pipe, 1.5″ and 2″ diameter, in half the long way. We packed the pipe with cotton batting, and attached it to Sams leg with vetwrap tight enough to hold the swelling and keep it in place. At first he didn’t put any weight on it, and he certainly didn’t enjoy being confined to his stall for 6 weeks, but when he’d put in his time, we were thrilled to see him able to put full weight on the leg!
Photo above is Sams out for a brief sunny visit to the lawn, still limping but with just vetwrap, no PVC for support.
After about 8 weeks, Sams shows no limits with the leg. We’re so glad we didn’t give up on him too early, and that we managed to get the same results with $10 worth of supplies as we might have for $1300 at the vet!