Goat Health 101 Week – Mastitis

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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8 comments on “Goat Health 101 Week – Mastitis

  1. I'm a new follower. I like your blog. I was wondering if you give your goats any medications for any reason. Do you vaccinate them for anything? We are considering dairy goats, but haven't quite decided yet. I have a lot of research to do first.

  2. This post made me sooo happy! I just started readying Pat Coleby's book Natural Goat Care and was trying to figure out where to find Dolomite and then I found this blog post in my e-mail!! A link on where to find it AND when I looked it up at the Hardware store where I work they can order it!!! Just need to make sure it is NOFA-NY approved… Thanks so much! I love reading your blogs!! 🙂

  3. This is a great post on mastitis, I am a veterinary technician and we had to learn all of this in school. I would only add two things to this; first, make sure to manually remove any dirt or manure from the teat before you use a teat dip as organic matter can render the cleaning agent ineffective, second, make sure to read the instructions as to the contact time needed for the dip to work lots of people make quick work of cleaning but it isn't effective if they do not leave it on long enough.

  4. Ihis is a great post, I was not able to find dolomite lime in town, will horicultural hydrated line work. Do you need to feed Vit. C with it or is it fine by itself. I dont have Mastitis , just conjested udders,

    • Dolomite is a natural form of calcium and magnesium, so that might be why you can't find it. I do not recommend the hydrated lime. You can order it from Amazon by clicking on the link in my post:)

  5. Hello I am so confused on the whole mastitis thing.I have 6 female nubians in milk and I check once a week with a mastitis kit.I have 3 does right now that has tested possitive for mastitis.It was a good jell stage.But they have no symptoms.Milk is white,teats are not swollen or warm to the touch.Milk production is still good.No blood and no clumps.But they are testing positive.When milk is chilled it taste just like the negative ones.Hopefully you can help me figure this out real soon cause the whole mastitis thing scares me.I have treated in the past with Penicillin it would clear up for a few days and then come back positive again.I clean the stalls daily now.And wash with a goat soap for teats before each milking.They get dewormed on a monthly bases.Hopefully I didnt leave anything out.But if ya have any Idea what im dealing with and can give me some insight I would greatly appreciate it.Oh and they are still drinking water and eating real good.Romping and playing like always.

    • Hi Krista! Did you ever figure out why they were testing positive? I would call the testing company and explain your situation. I've heard that sometimes goats with CAE will have continued problems with mastitis. Keep me posted if you can!

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