The vet came yesterday to take care of Richie's broken horn. We decided to stabilize the horn rather than take it off because it is too close to breeding season and there is no way to keep Richie from beating his head against all and sundry from now until January.
I learned a fair amount about goat horns during this event. The most important thing that I learned was that this break was six inches below where the blood vessel stops, not above it. Richie managed to not bust all the way through to the center of his horn - thank goodness - but it was a very close thing. There was the tiniest bit of dried ooze on one side. Horns are grown in layers, which means that the horn can peel in layers, and it even can shed off outside rounds like a sheath sliding off of a knife. So the crack had to break through the layers, which is harder to do than if it were one single bone. Think "cutting through a stack of paper" vs. "cutting through a piece of wood."
The process for stabilization of a goat horn is straightforward and logical. The vet started by peeling away the separated and broken horn layers. (This was the one part that I would never be confident enough to do!) Then the horn was filled with what the vet called "resin" but which looked a lot like cement. After the cement set, he cleaned the horn with alcohol to be sure the cast would grab the horn and not a layer of crud and took a file to the horn and the cement to rough it up to give the cast a better grip against the various parts of the horn (see comment about sheath, above). He dunked a spool of fiberglass casting material - the same stuff that my doctor used when I broke my arm 30 years ago - in a pail of water and started unrolling at the base of the horn on up past the cement. In five minutes, the fiberglass was set and drying. Ten minutes later, an annoyed Richie was sent off to play with his buddies.
The play-by-play photos are behind the cut.