Goats/mastitis

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QUESTION: Hi,  I have a doe kidded a month ago having 2 kids.  A couple days ago I noticed she was standing off by herself and not eating her usual amount.  Then yesterday she wasn't eating at all and acted depressed.  I took her temp and it was 107! And the one side of her utter is hard.  I gave her a shot of antibiotics.  This morning her temp is down a degree and she is acting a bit brighter.  I bottle fed her kids, though one got very little as he won't suck from the bottle.  I read mastitis is contagious so put her in a pen by herself.  She is not a dairy goat and I do not milk the goats so I wondered if it would be okay to let her out with the others?  Also I can not milk her as her teats are small.  She is Boar.  Can I let the kids stay with her and let them continue to suck her and then supplement their diet with bottle feedings.  My thoughts were to give her 3 antibiotic shots 36 hours apart.
So, I guess my questions are... can she go back with the rest of the herd and can the kids remain with her to suck her since I am unable to milk her?
Thank you very much.  Joanne.

ANSWER: HI Joanne:

I would keep the babies with her and if need be supplement them  with bottle feeding , milk not replacer!  I have not  in my personal experience  seen one goat give mastitis to another  as long as they are not milked with  hands that were not cleaned and sterilized from one goat to another - BUT you might want to keep her and her babies in a separate pen  until this is cleared up -  there is always a chance that THIS strain of bacteria is the contagious type - without specific  veterinary tests, you cannot know for sure.  Is her fever down?  with antibiotics it should be - also you should treat her with a product called TODAY  which is made for cows but works very well on goats  -


Mastitis in Goats
By Ronald J. Erskine, DVM, PhD, Professor, Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University

The organisms infecting the udder of goats are similar to those in cows. Coagulase-negative staphylococci are generally the most prevalent and can cause persistent infections that result in increased cell counts and low-grade mastitis with some recurring clinical episodes. The level of infection and incidence of mastitis due to Staphylococcus aureus tends to be low (<5%) but can result in persistent infections that do not generally respond to therapy. Streptococcal intramammary infections can occur in both subclinical and clinical cases but are usually much less frequent than in cattle. Streptococcus agalactiae is not a common pathogen of mastitis in does.

Mycoplasma infections, primarily M mycoides (large colony type) and M putrefaciens, sometimes cause serious outbreaks of mastitis in goats (see Contagious Agalactia). The latter also causes septicemia, polyarthritis, pneumonia, and encephalitis, together with serious disease and mortality in suckling kids. M capricolum has also been reported to cause severe mastitis in goats and infection in kids. Does usually recover in ~4 wk.

As with cows, gram-negative organisms cause intermittent infections that may be severe but are usually self-limiting. Trueperella (formerly Arcanobacterium) pyogenes sometimes produces multiple, nodular abscesses.

Does can also exhibit signs of mastitis from caprine arthritis and encephalitis (see Caprine Arthritis and Encephalitis) and ovine progressive pneumonia (see Progressive Pneumonia in Sheep and Goats) secondary to systemic infection. Agalactia is common, as is a hardening of the udder from fibrosis.

Programs for diagnosis, control, and treatment of bacterial mastitis in goats are similar to those in cows. However, monitoring subclinical mastitis with somatic cell counts (SCCs) in does is difficult because of poor discrimination between infected and noninfected animals, especially in the later stages of lactation. This is partially because a higher proportion of cells are epithelial in origin in goat milk than in cow milk. As lactation progresses, shedding of epithelial cells into milk increases; thus, SCCs >1,000,000 cells/mL are common in uninfected does in late lactation. Proper milking procedures and good environmental sanitation are needed to reduce the prevalence and spread of infection. Chronically infected goats should be culled, as should goats with M mycoides infections and those that do not recover from M putrefaciens or M capricolum infections.

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Another article states:

Mastitis is essentially an infected udder. Does of all goat breeds can contract mastitis, but it is more often seen in heavy milkers. Since bacteria that cause mastitis enter the udder through the teats, the cleanliness of pens and feeding areas has a significant impact on whether or not mastitis develops in a herd. There is some evidence that mastitis can be hereditary, but it is fair to say that it is mostly acquired via external sources.

Mastitis prevents a lactating doe from providing quality milk for her kids. Indeed, it sometimes prevents her from nursing them, creating a "bottle baby" situation. The udder gets swollen, hard, and hot. The milk, if there is any, is stringy, spotted with blood, and often unuseable.

Mastitis is not responsive to injectable antibiotics because the medicine cannot get to the source of the infection. The udder is an interwoven mass of fibrous tissue that is "walled off" from the rest of the doe's body. Never inject a doe's udder with any substance, antibiotic or otherwise; it will kill her.

Treatment involves removing the kid from its mother and bottle feeding it. Occasionally a mild case of mastitis will permit treatment and still allow the kid to nurse, particularly if the infection is in only one teat. The udder is walled off into two parts, each supplying one teat with milk. Milk out the infected udder(s) and infuse each infected teat with an intramammary medication like ToDay (cephapirin sodium) or similar product for at least two and preferably for four to five consecutive days. Massage the udder to move the medication around inside as much as possible. Bag Balm can be applied to the outside of the udder for ease in massaging and for the doe's comfort. Some does run fever with mastitis, so fever-reducing medication must be given.

Since it is virtually impossible to kill all of the bacteria inside the udder, mastitis is usually chronic, recurring with each kidding.

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let me attach a couple articles for you to read on these subjects to further help you -

Bottle feeding:   http://goat-link.com/content/view/94/76/

Treating mastitis:  http://goat-link.com/content/view/122/123/1/2

NOTE: You can empty out the contents of the tube of medication into a large syringe and using a teat cannula to administer half of the contents one day and change the teat cannula to use the second half therefore not wasting the second half of the medication.

Before you infuse the teat, the udder half should be thoroughly cleaned and dried and milked out as completely as possible and the milk thrown away. Apply the tip of the cannula just inside the teat opening or at least right up to it before applying the medication. Pinching the teat end with one hand, press the plunger and make sure the meds are going into the teat. Now pinch the teat end shut, and strip the meds up into the teat and up into the udder as far as you can. The treated side should be massaged after treating to work the medication as far up into the udder as possible- holding the tip of the teat closed after application and during massage.

I hope this helps - it really should be tested, and  I  have not  personally ever taken kids away from the moms which have had cases of mastitis, but  I have never had a severe case myself .



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QUESTION: Thank you so very much for your help!  Wow, you gave me some very useful information.  I am so very thankful because where I live the vets really do not have experience with goats.  I live in horse and cow country.  I'm kind of in awe that you provide this service free of charge.  God bless you as you are such a blessing to others.  

My doe has recovered as in her temp did go down.  It took my trying oxytetracyline (which didn't help) and then Penicillin.  I gave her Metacam for pain and fever.  And infused the infected side with antibiotic.  She is now bright and acting like herself and eating better.  I am feeding her 2 kids completely, using homogenized cows milk adding 3 tbsp corn syrup/gallon,  though the one kid does suck her.  I don't think he gets much from her.  

This entire time I tried to milk her out but really didn't have great success.  I would get very little milk and I don't know if it was because I just wasn't getting it or if there wasn't much there.  Last time I tried I didn't get even a drop.  I always massage her utter and put a warm clothe on it before trying to milk her.  

The only problem that remains, beside the fact that I am now feeding her kids, is that she still has a hard mass in that side of her utter.  It is one oval mass the size of a medium sized hand.  

I am going back to the vet to see what, if anything, in his opinion I could/should do now.  

I would also like to ask your opinion on this.  

I'm concerned that that side of her utter will not recover and if I were to breed her again she would only have 1/2 an utter to feed her kids.  
I realize now that this may have been caused from the fact that out of her 2 kids the weaker one always sucked on that side that is now infected.  I never suspected a problem because being Boer she didn't have an obvious engorged utter that she would have if she were Nubian.  

I appreciate all that help you have already given me.  It is nice to not feel alone in this!!
Grace and peace, Joanne.

Answer
HI Joanne:

I'm afraid any time a doe has a severe case of mastitis, that half of the udder is usually non productive forever -  the scar tissue prevents it from  being productive, BUT there  is a chance she will be able to still have kids, provided you  supplement them with bottles or make them bottle babies completely while leaving them with mom for nurturing - what did the vet say? As far as the knot, I suspect this is scar tissue. The main thing is she  is eating feeling good and her fever has subsided..  The other possibility is that she may have a benign  tumor..  

I think I would continue to massage the udder after warm compresses.. for another week or so  trying to milk out what she may have -  continue to use the "Today"  teat infusion.. for a 5 day routine.., keeping in mind NOT to reused the tip of the  tube  twice..  if the  knot remains I think this is something  she will have - and nothing can be done about it..

((((NOTE: You can empty out the contents of the tube of medication into a large syringe and using a teat cannula to administer half of the contents one day and change the teat cannula to use the second half therefore not wasting the second half of the medication.))))


http://goat-link.com/content/view/122/123/1/2

This is made for cows and comes in a tube much like a plastic syringe ready with a cannula tip to place into the teat opening. This can also be found at feed stores or at online vet supply houses. Because it is made for cows there is actually too much medication in one tube for a goat- so use half of the contents- and because you cannot properly clean the inside of the tip- rather than to "reintroduce" the infection into the teat- breeders throw away the second half of the tube contents and treat with a new tube each time. Never use the second half of the tube in either the same side of the udder or the other die as this will reinfect the udder.



NOTE: You can empty out the contents of the tube of medication into a large syringe and using a teat cannula to administer half of the contents one day and change the teat cannula to use the second half therefore not wasting the second half of the medication.

Before you infuse the teat, the udder half should be thoroughly cleaned and dried and milked out as completely as possible and the milk thrown away. Apply the tip of the cannula just inside the teat opening or at least right up to it before applying the medication. Pinching the teat end with one hand, press the plunger and make sure the meds are going into the teat. Now pinch the teat end shut, and strip the meds up into the teat and up into the udder as far as you can. The treated side should be massaged after treating to work the medication as far up into the udder as possible- holding the tip of the teat closed after application and during massage.

Udder Balm can be applied to the outside of the udder to make massaging more comfortable for the doe. Warm towels can also be applied to the udder before massage to help break up any congestion. Make sure you clean the teat with alcohol before and after applying the teat infusion. This treatment should be applied twice a day for at least 3 days - some breeders treat for 5 days depending on the severity of the case. At the same time, an antibiotic should be used as an injection twice a day- either Penicillin Procane G or Bio-Mycin, either of them used at the rate of 1cc/25lbs is what is the common dose. (If you use PennG Please remember to draw back on the syringe plunger before you inject as this can be a fatal situation if gotten into the blood stream. ) One other choice is to get a teat cannula (also found at some feed stores or supply houses) and use a regular syringe for injections, using the cannula in place of the needle and infuse the teat with PennG, the same way as you would use the Today or Tomorrow medication which is what people did before these products were available.



Maybe your vet has better suggestions - I'd be happy to hear what he has to suggest .

So happy her fever is down and she is back acting normally though :)  

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Specializing in New Goat Owner understanding of goat physiology, goat anatomy, goat care and herd management. *I am not a veterinarian, any advice and information should be verified by your veterinarian before administering to your goats. (! During times of severe weather in the Midwest, I may experience a delay in internet service due to the interference of the satellite reception - but will answer your questions as soon as service is restored. !) Note: Keep in mind, the goat expert is volunteering her time to help other goat owners, she also runs her farm with her own herd of 100 goats and may not be at her computer at all hours. Questions are answered as soon as she can possibly read and answer them, usually within 24 hours.

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