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Udder Problems

Because of the way this year has hit us we didn’t vaccinate against mastitis as we usually do. One of the benefits of using Lysigin is that it also seems to reduce or eliminate staph infections on the doe’s udders. This year we didn’t do boosters and we didn’t vaccinate Misty (Vet2Be’s Jr. Best in Show last year).

We did what we could while waiting for the vet to be able to come out about a week after I called her.

I didn’t start taking pictures right away. I wish I had. The first set of photos already show some of the healing taking place.

These photos show some healing that has already started. The infection started about 4 days before this photo was taken. The infection started with a few pimples that had pus in them. Then almost overnight (literally), the scab covered quite a bit of area between her two teats.

I started soaking her udder in 1 cup of epsom salts mixed in 1/2 gallon of water with some experimental silver particles for 5 minutes twice a day after milking her out. This isn’t the colloidal silver (however high in quality) you can buy at the health food stores, although that would probably work, just not as fast as the new stuff does.

We also continued to wash her udder with an udder wash before we milked her each day.

After soaking her udder we sprayed her with Vetericyn.

We also boosted her immune system with Mineral Max Ultra Paste, which we are able to find at our local CAL Ranch store. I found it a few days later much cheaper (called Mineral Max EAD Paste) at Stearns Vet Outlet, which is a mail order site.  

(update 9/13/12: I called Stearns Vet Outlet today to order more Mineral Max. They said it is no longer being made. The company is coming out with something new….. but the Stearn’s Representative didn’t know what it was or when it was coming out. She said they had to wait for the manufacturer to contact them.)

We also kept her in a tee-shirt with the sleeve covering her udder. You can see another goat wearing one here. We didn’t want dirt getting on her udder, and although it hadn’t spread through the herd, we didn’t want to chance it spreading either. She got a clean tee-shirt each time we went through ‘the ritual’ as Prion so aptly named the process!

Two days after the above photo her udder looked like this.

We didn’t touch her udder with bare hands, they were gloved just in case we could catch this. We also opened the scabs after each milking to get out any pus. The large sore on the right side of the udder was a hard area that was always filled with pus. The look of the sores made us worry that it might be a staph infection.

This is what her udder looked like the day the vet was able to come. I showed her the ‘before’ pictures so she would have reference photos to work from.

The vet recommended that we continue to use warm compresses (or soaking is better!) twice a day on her udder, to continue to wash her with a sanitizing solution (chlorhexadine if we wanted to try something different), and to continue to open any scabs to let the infection drain out. The vet gave Misty a shot of Excede, which I had never heard of before. It’s a long lasting (5 day) antibiotic.

After reading about it’s use in horses, I’m not so sure I would have let her use that on Misty. However, Misty hasn’t had any problems with the shot and as of today there is no pus coming out of any of the sores.

The vet said this was a bacterial infection, but she wasn’t sure it was staph. She could tell it wasn’t a viral infection like Sore Mouth or Orf because none of the kids had it and none of the other goats got it, either.

Soaking the udder! I use a Glad container, the cheap kind you get at the grocery store. I have a timer and I set it for 5-6 minutes. I don’t cheat on the time, saving her udder is much too important.

I’m not sure I could soak the udder on a goat other than a Saanen. They are so mild tempered (usually) that they take all kinds of messing-with in stride. She’s not thrilled when we pull the scabs off (after soaking) but if I hold her leg up, Vet2Be can take care of the rest without getting kicked in the face.

Vet2Be also goes out in the middle of the afternoon and sprays down her udder with the sanitizing solution again, so she’s ‘sanitized’ three times a day.

We also cleaned out the stalls and put down fresh shavings even though they weren’t that messy. We cleaned them out less than a month ago. We wanted to reduce the chance of spreading as best we could.

Every day I run all the milking equipment through the sanitizing cycle on the dishwasher and all the towels and udder cover tee-shirts through the sanitizing cycle on the washing machine.

The next time we see any pimples with pus anywhere on an udder our first response will be to start the soaking right away instead of waiting to see if the goat can fight it off herself.

One other goat had a few pimples on her udder between her teats, but the soaking cleared them up enough that the vet didn’t want to take a look at her (and she could have made an easy $40 by looking!)

Oh, and in case you are wondering, we’ve been throwing the milk away. I haven’t even been giving it to the chickens.

As soon as Lysigin is available again (it’s on backorder everywhere!) we will get some and give booster shots to all the older does and start Misty on her set of shots as well.

We also vaccinate with J-VAC, which takes care of mastitis caused by e. coli.

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