Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Feeling Down AKA Goat Mastitis Blues

***Update to add**** One of my favorite laying hens died today too. RIP, Sunday.

As most of you know, I bought a third dairy goat a couple Tuesdays ago. My parents and I drove up to north GA to get her. They rode along because I was sick and could not even get out of bed the day before.

Back to the story, her name is Onyx and she's a sweet little year-old LaMancha. It really is a good thing she's sweet.

When I got her, I noticed that one half of her udder was a bit smaller than the other. Over the first couple days with her, milk from her left half dropped down to almost nothing. Friday, I called my friend Dave who got me into dairy goats. He told me to get her to Auburn U. Large Animal Teaching Hospital STAT.

Mom and I loaded her up and set off on the hour drive. The people at the vet school were fantastic. We got a diagnosis of mastitis, a sample was sent off for culture and we were sent home with eight days of antibiotic to be administered intramammary- that's a fancy way of saying shooting a syringe up her teat. Trust me, goats don't like it.

The vet called me after the weekend with the result of the culture- Klebsiella pneumoniae. Of course that doesn't mean too much to me, I was just relieved to hear it wasn't Staph aureus which the vet said could shut down her left mammary permanently.

Let me go off on a little tangent here about even udders and dairy goats. You've gotta have them. I don't make any money on milk. I hope to recoup some of the cost of my goats by selling their kids each year. If you want a premium price for kid, mama needs a pretty udder. Period. A goat with one non-functioning teat, will be grossly uneven.

So I was relieved to hear that it wasn't the dreaded Staph aureus. We managed the injections (with help from burly men) and milk production on the left started to go up. I was having to dump out all of her milk because of the infection and the antibiotic. There is a 3-day withdrawal period to drink the milk after the course of meds so I was anxiously awaiting actually getting to drink her milk yesterday.

Alas, it was not to be. No sooner had the antibiotic gotten out of her system, than that teat started to shut down again. I purchased a California Mastitis Test (CMT) and administered it this morning. Positive on the left.

I called AU again and talked to another vet. Seems my relief was premature. Klebsiella pneumoniae is a gram negative bacteria that does not respond to most antibiotics (including the one I had just struggled with giving her for 8 days). He suggested that I milk that side 3-4 times a day for the next few days (in my other spare time). If there is no improvement, he will prescribe a different antibiotic that has at least some efficacy (oh joy).

Then came the really good news (note sarcasm). He said that he'd give it a 50% chance that her left side will come back after her next freshening (when she next gives birth). There is equal chance that the gland is damaged beyond repair. See above for the ramifications of that.

I am feeling very defeated today. It's a good thing she's so sweet......

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