As with any animal health issue, we strongly recommend you consult with your vet and animal health practitioners to develop your own protocols for dealing with mastitis. We have provided a guide, based on our own experiences, but your farm situation, your management, and your goats will of course be a different scenario.
What to look for:
The signs and symptoms which could indicate mastitis are:
- Fluffy face
- Fluffy coat/hairs on end
- Yawning, teeth grinding (pain)
- Snotty/runny nose
- Udder swollen
- Udder hot
- Lymph glands swollen
- Lump in udder
- Lumps in teat
- Thickening in udder
- Thickening in teat
- High temperature >40.6 C
- Not eating
- Not eating all of concentrate
- Sudden drop in milk
- Clots in milk
- Not in normal place on the line up
The first 24 hours are vital. Treat, don’t wait.
For a localised mastitis we have found a dilute solution of hydrogen peroxide injected into the teat is effective in flushing out any bacteria in the udder almost immediately:
5ml of 35% hydrogen peroxide in 1 litre of water – equivalent to 0.002% hydrogen peroxide solution
Flush 30ml into the udder, left for three minutes and then flushed out. Repeat at each milking
We will also give an oral Vitamin C/anti-inflammatory tonic.
Vitamin C is also a key treatment in mastitis but there are differences in action between giving it orally versus intravenously. Oral Vitamin C treatment will act as an antioxidant and we use it with kelp, or add tumeric and cinnamon for anti-inflammatory properties:
Vitamin C tonic:
- 2 tsp slippery elm
- 5ml nutrikelp
- 5ml phytobiotic
- 1 tsp protein biotic
- 10 tsp Vit C powder
- 1 dessert spoon tumeric
- 1 dessert spoon cinnamon
- 20mls natra kelp
- 1 tbsp Vit C
- 2 tbsp phytobiotic
- 1 tbsp slippery elm
Mixed with water to make a thick paste and give 100ml
Intravenously, Vitamin C acts as a peroxide in the blood, stopping bacteria passing from tissues into the blood and preventing septicemia. We inject it into the milk vein, not the jugular. The milk vein is closer to the surface, more easily administered and less stressful for the goat. It travels from the udder up under the stomach and is easy to locate. Using a 10ml syringe we can hold the needle still and inject each side of the udder twice. We have worked with our vet to learn the technique. It’s important you work with your own practitioner to develop a protocol for mastitis.
Any sign of fever over 40.6 degrees Celcius we will give 40ml Vitamin C injected into the milk vein; 20 ml on each side of the udder. High fever is critical in goats, so prompt and intensive action is needed. Alongside this we give the goat electrolytes either orally or through a stomach tube – a handful of salt, 1 tbsp dextrose, 2 litres water.
We also use homeopathic treatments, working with our homeopath for advice and direction. Arnica, Belladonna, Apis, Phytolacca, Bryonia, Rhus Tox are all applicable to mastitis, but care is needed because some remedies can work against each other. We use practitioner only concentrations.
We are always on the watch in our kidding does for milk fever that may become mastitis. A “fluffy” coat or face is usually a sign of milk fever. With these symptoms and a high temperature, the likelihood of mastitis is high. We will treat with a mineral supplement called ‘4 in 1’ (Calcium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Boron) which is injected just behind the shoulder blade under the loose skin there, massaging it in. Vitamin C is also administered, either orally or intravenously depending on the goat’s condition.
An additional treatment, if the goat is off her feed, is an appetite stimulant in the form of B vitamins. We inject it into the muscle:
- 2ml B complex
- 2ml B12
- 2ml B1 (thiamine)
Kidding is the most stressful time for goats (and humans!) especially our maiden does, so having them on a good plane of nutrition is important. The eight weeks leading up to kidding are critical. It’s called “lead feeding” and we have talked about this in a previous post – see the link. We also provide ad-lib minerals, mainly Magnesuim, stirred into water:
- Two cups of Epsom Salts (MgSo4?)
- 80 litres of water
This is placed next to the drinking water. Ten goats can easily consume this in two days. We also provide salt licks – link to earlier post – to provide Boron and other minerals which the soils on our farm are low in.