Why Do Fainting Goats Faint?

Why Do Fainting Goats Faint?

Goats by nature are not animals that actually faint, but there is a breed of goats that exhibits this ‘particular, behavior. They are called fainting goats but also goes by other names like Myotonic goats, nervous goats, stiff leg goats, wooden leg goats and Tennessee goats.

They do not actually faint because they wanted to, it is more on the congenital disorder known as ‘myotonia congenita,. When people and animals are startled or frightened, the brain releases hormones that trigger the ‘fight or flight response,. This involves a little tensing of the muscles until we decide on what we will do. With this sudden rush of adrenaline we could run as fast as we can, or hit as hard as we can. That is what you call the fight or flight response.

The only problem with this particular goat is that whenever the brain activates this kind of response, the ‘tensing of the muscles, lingers a little longer than normal goats do. When the muscles contract and tighten it stays in that state for at least 10 seconds or more. Imagine yourself wanting to run away but your legs won’t move. You might even fall down in the process. That is what fainting goats experience, their muscles stops functioning for a little while and they just fall down. But they do not actually faint, they are conscious the whole time.

This abnormality can be found at a cellular level, when Myotonic animals receive signals from the brain their muscles tense and stay that way for a period of time. This is due to the work of the myotonia congenita affecting the gene CLN1 (Choloride Channel 1). This gene is primary responsible for the flexing, tensing and relaxing of skeletal muscles. This condition is hereditary and is not only exclusive in goats but to other animals as well, this includes human beings.

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