Hoof care is one of the most important routine “maintenance” procedures we do to keep our residents comfortable and healthy.
It’s more than just a pretty pedicure!
The hooves on animals like pigs and goats serve an important function. They help to evenly disperse the weight of the animal for better balance, and they help to absorb the impact of the animal’s weight when walking on hard surfaces. When hooves get overgrown, or cracked, a series of health problems from minor to life-threatening can occur.
A cracked hoof is like an open door for bacteria to just walk on in. This is particularly a problem for pigs. Hoof infections in pigs, if not treated quickly and thoroughly, can lead to major health problems as the infection spreads through the hoof into the leg and then throughout the body of the animal. Regularly trimmed hooves help minimize the chances of cracks.
In goats, overgrown hooves can make it difficult to walk and can seriously affect the animal’s joints and mobility. As well, as a goat’s hooves grow, they tend to curl over trapping bacteria underneath and against the foot pad. This can cause an infection and lead to lameness or an infection such as foot rot, which is highly contagious and can spread to other residents.
It just takes five minutes to trim the hooves of a pig or goat and we do all resident hoof trimming ourselves at the sanctuary. The goats get their hooves trimmed every six weeks and we hold them by the collar while we complete the process. Most of our pigs, however, prefer to just flip on to their sides and enjoy a nice relaxing belly rub as an added service with their pedicures!