Onion Creek Ranch, Lohn, Texas
Suzanne W. Gasparotto, Onion Creek Ranch, Lohn, TX
Lohn, Texas
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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. For this reason, mastitis is generally a reason for culling a doe in a meat-goat herd.

Ketosis is a pregnancy-related illness in does which can occur either right before or shortly after kidding. Ketosis is the result of producers not providing proper nutrition for pregnant does. The bred female does not receive adequate protein to feed both her and her kids in utero, so either just before or immediately after she kids, her body begins to draw upon its protein reserves so that she can provide milk for her offspring. Deadly ketones are produced as a by-product of this process, as her own body tissues begin to starve.

Treatment is simple. Oral administration of propylene glycol, molasses, or Karo syrup is necessary. The doe will dislike the oily propylene glycol, but it is by far the best product available for treating ketosis. Dosage is based upon weight of the animal.

Prevention is easy. Feed the doe properly during gestation as well as after kidding. Bringing a doe back from a bout of ketosis is difficult, and death often results.

Meat Goat Mania

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All information provided in these articles is based either on personal experience or information provided by others whose treatments and practices have been discussed fully with a vet for accuracy and effectiveness before passing them on to readers.

In all cases, it is your responsibility to obtain veterinary services and advice before using any of the information provided in these articles. Suzanne Gasparotto is not a veterinarian.Neither tennesseemeatgoats.com nor any of the contributors to this website will be held responsible for the use of any information contained herein.

The author, Suzanne Gasparotto, hereby grants to local goat publications and club newsletters, permission to reprint articles published on the Onion Creek Ranch website under these conditions: THE ARTICLE MUST BE REPRODUCED IN ITS ENTIRETY AND THE AUTHOR'S NAME, ADDRESS, AND CONTACT INFORMATION MUST BE INCLUDED AT THE BEGINNING OF THE REPRINT. We would appreciate notification from any clubs or publications when the articles are used. (A copy of the newsletter or publication would also be a welcome addition to our growing library of goat related information!)

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