Hard udders on goats may be a sign of a congested udder or of a common inflammation called "mastitis." Congestion is extremely common after giving birth or during a dry period for high-producing goats. Mastitis occurs as a result of germs or injury, and may be accompanied by lumps in the udder, clots or blood in milk, a swollen udder, pain, cracked teats, loss of appetite and/or an unusually hot or cold udder.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Mastitis test
- Mastitis massage salve
- Intramammary 2-per cent-chlorhexidine solution
- Antibiotics or corticosteroids
Follow the instructions that come with your mastitis test to take a milk sample. You can obtain a mastitis test from your local livestock supplier.
Analyse the milk sample according to the instructions that come with the test. If the sample is negative, the hard udder is likely due to congestion, not mastitis. Milk the affected udders four times a day and feed salt, potassium and high energy foods sparingly; less than 1 per cent of the day's food should come from salt and potassium, and only 20 per cent should come from high-energy corn meal. If the sample is positive, follow the next steps for information about treating your goat.
Contact your vet if the mastitis test is positive. Ask if she can recommend any antibiotics, corticosteroids or other medications for its treatment. Administer medications according to her specifications.
Milk the goat more frequently. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before milking, and wash the udder with warm water. Hand-milk the udder or use a catheter to milk it every hour. Massage the udder for five or more minutes with mastitis massage salve.
Apply an intrammammary 2-per cent-chlorhexidine solution in the infected udder twice every 24 hours for five to 10 days.
Test your goat for the presence of mastitis and antibiotics before using its milk for human consumption.
Tips and warnings
- Over-milking a recently freshened goat can cause milk fever. Ask a veterinarian for advice concerning hard udders in goats that recently gave birth.
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- Goat Wisdom; Udder Care; Dec., 2001
- University of Florida Extension; Dairy Goat Production Guide; Barnet Harris and Frederick Springer; Nov., 1992
- FAO Corporate Document Repository: Chapter 3: Cattle, Sheep, Goats and Buffalo
- Alabama Cooperative Extension System; Mastitis in Goats; Maria Lenira Leite-Browning; Dec., 2008
- Fias Co Farm; Mastitis; Molly Nolte