Mastitis is one of the most common infections in the goat world. When I think of mastitis, I get the same feeling as when I think of squash bugs... frustration! Although I have yet to find a way to get rid of the bugs from down under(actually from China, oh, wait...), I have been able to prevent and combat mastitis with a fairly good success rate.
The key here is prevention. Sometimes we don't like to hear that word, me included, but prevention could save an otherwise healthy goat from ruin.
So, how can we prevent mastitis? The most obvious is to keep the udders clean as much as possible. Make sure the bedding is dry. Before you milk, wash your hands, then wash the udder. You can use the teat dip, but I prefer to use an antibacterial wipe with each teat. Strip her out as much as you can. In other words, do not leave any milk in her udder. When you are done milking, clean her udder again. We use FIGHT BAC 22OZ *ORMD* , which contains chlorhexidine and glycerin. This will disinfect the udder and sprays on easily.
Maybe you have done all of this, and your goat gets mastitis anyway. You might feel hard lumps that may or may not be red and hot to the touch. Your goat might not be feeling well. There could be an underlying cause. Usually this means that they are lacking calcium and magnesium. Dolomite(Espoma Organic Traditions Garden Lime - 5 lb Bag GL5) has the perfect ratio of calcium and magnesium for a goat. When you notice signs of mastitis, give your goat a spoon full of dolomite in her feed along with a spoonful of vitamin C powder twice a day or until it clears.
During this time, we really put our muscles to work and massage her udder with deep, strong movements that can be uncomfortable, but will help unclog the udder.
We have found that the dolomite works so well, we also use it as a preventative too. We give them a spoonful in their feed once a day or every other day. We have helped a couple of goats that had an onset of mastitis by using the dolomite and vitamin C powder and it has worked wonders.
Of course, call a vet if you feel that the doe is getting worse. Sometimes, a goat will get a case of black mastitis, where it hits so fast and totally wrecks the udder that there really isn't much you can do. Even antibiotics will not save the udder. It might kill the bacteria, but the udder will be ruined.
You can also try Ex-Cell Goat Udder Clear teat infusions. It is an alternative to antibiotics by using an herbal blend to infuse into the teat orifice. I have not tried this, but it might be worth it!
Remember, prevention is key! Here's to happy, healthy goats!
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