Goats/Udder injury?


QUESTION: My Lamamcha doe is due to kid any day. This morning she turned from her grain so I figured today is the day. I have been checking her every hour and her behavior is indicating birth or discomfort. She was backed into a corner of the barn and standing each time. Last check she had turned to face the corner and I could now see that the skin on one of her udders had split into a near perfect 3" circle. I can see no point of puncture or abrasion. I do not have a vet willing to visit my rural farm. I do have a good selection of meds but rarely have need to use them. Thank you for any advice you can offer.


ANSWER: Is the udder tense/tight? Is she running a fever? (anything over 102.5 is a fever/infection).  Is this 3" in diameter or a totaly circumference of 3"?  If the udder is full/tense then doubt you could even suture the split.  Where is the split located? At this point would shave udder in that area so that you can clean the wound and then put antiseptic ointment on and a bandage, if far enough away from the doe's mouth so she cannot eat it.  Would also give her a CDT toxoid booster just in case this was a tear from a nail or other metal that could harbor Clostridium tetani.  If she is running a fever would also start her on injectable antibiotics - penicillin would not hurt the kids.  Let me know about the questions and I will get back to you - Donna

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QUESTION: Temp is 102 and lower teat feels cool at the nipple. Milk (colostrum) is already easily expressed. The diameter is 3" across and almost perfectly round. Lowest part of the split is about 1" above nipple on right udder. Three hours ago it looked bloody, moist and raw where the tissue is exposed but now it looks like it's drying to a degree. Udder is full and firm but no more so than usual for her at this point in freshening. There is no hair/fur on udder and skin is somewhat shiny as she normally gets. Suturing would likely not hold. She had a CDT about a month ago. It was slightly expired but I have a new bottle now. Doe is so HUGE with kids that she probably cannot reach it if I were to bandage. I have Triodine, Betadine, antibiotic ointments, bag balm, etc... if one is preferable to another.

ANSWER: Thanks for the info.  Yes, suturing would definitely not hold at this point/size.  Would definitely give booster 2 cc of CDT now.  Would cleanse and use any of the antibiotic ointments - others would sting, then put bandage on it to keep clean and keep flies out.  The wound will probably weep a little and that is okay for healing, but if the discharge turns cream to greenish in color would start her on injectable antibiotics, penicillin would be my first choice.  Only issue I see with healing is that once the kids start nursing they will most likely tear open the wound.  Any chance you can bottle raise the kids?  Hope this helps - Donna

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QUESTION: I have never bottle raised kids before and have a lot of livestock to care for and little, if any spare time. I could milk out the colostrum to give them as much as possible and start bottle feeding them until I can get them to accept a "mommy bucket" that I bought for just such an occasion. Hopefully that would not take too long. She is our only milk goat and maybe I can continue to milk her myself if I'm careful until the injury heals?

We bottle raise all our goat kids, as well as other livestock - and work full time - know it can be a circus that is for sure.  But, I am very worried that any of the kid goats pushing and butting on mom's udder will tear the healing portion open and possibly even make the wound larger.  So, yes on milking out the colostrum - if the kidding date is soon you could even milk out some of the colostrum and freeze it so the udder is smaller in size especially on the affected side.  Usually you can switch them to a bucket feeder by about 5 to 7 days of life as long as they are all drinking well.  You certainly should be able to milk her yourself without causing further damage to the injury - this would also keep the wound and site around it cleaner than if kid goats were fiddling with it.  Do hope this helps - Donna


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Donna Ruelas-Semasko/Edelweiss Acres


All goat health care, nutrition, judging questions about all goats - packgoats, dairy goats, pygmy goats, meat goats, fleece goats.


27 years health care/nutrition of all types of goats, 17 years experience in packgoats, 20 years experience in 4H goat projects as leader, superintendent and judge. 20 years experience in putting on goat care/nutrition seminars.

NAPgA, The Evergreen Packgoat Club, 4H, ADGA.

Hobby Farm, many newspapers, 4H newsletters, Packgoat Manuals (youth and general), judging information pamphlets, seminar handouts about health care and nutrition.

4 years of college, ongoing education in goats.

Awards and Honors
Small Farm Award of Thurston County

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