In this complete guide to goat udder problems, we describe udder diseases and conditions that are common to goats. If you’re a new farmer, you should be aware of these problems so you can be prepared!
We also cover the basics of udder anatomy and development.
Why Is My Goat's Udder Swollen? Possible Causes
Maintaining the good health of the goat’s udder is the key to have more production and a healthy herd of goats. In order to have healthy goats with healthy udder, following are the list of disorders need to eradicate from the farm.
One of major concern for the farmers having goats, especially dairy goats, as it effects the udder of the goats. Not only this mastitis causing issue in the udder of the goats, but also have economical effects for the farmers.
A bacterial disease that occurs due to single or combination of the bacterial infections causing the development of swelling on the udder, make the udder hot and lumpy, and blood in the milk.
2. STAPH INFECTION
The staph infection is usually by the development of pimples or white heads on the udder of the goats. These pimples will grow rapidly with a quick spread of the infection from one goat to the other. The main cause of the staph infection is wet and humid conditions provided to the goats.
3. AGGRESSIVE NURSING INJURIES
Kids of the goats can also lead to problem of the udder in goats. The goat may have soreness, chaffing, or splitting especially the goat is having more than two kids. The teeth of the kid may cause damage to the teats from too much nursing of the kids. Make sure the there is no injuries to the teats of the goats due to aggressive nursing.
Congested/Hard Udder in Goats
The congested udder usually occurs when the udder of the goat filled quickly, or when the udder becomes over full leading to the congested udders. These congested udders are uncomfortable for the female goats.
Other causes of congested udder in goats include the occurrence of three or more fetus within the goats where the female goat tries to produce the milk sufficient for all the fetus, and consumption of grains in excessive quantity.
Development of congested udder can also occur in the female goat having only single kid. This occurs when the kid only suck the milk from one teat. It looks like mastitis but the udder will have normal temperature and no inflammation or hotness in the udder like mastitis.
To treat the congested udder, apply hot compresses on the udder, provide vitamin c, milk of magnesia and peppermint oil. It is challenging to milk the congested udder; however, the milk from the congested udder is good to consume.
Allow the kid to nurse from the congested side, as it may helps to lose the hardness or congestion of the udder. Make sure to keep the female goat hydrated as congestion of udder may cause the goat dehydrated. Treating the congested udder is time consuming but it is worth worthy.
Swollen Udder in Non Pregnant Goat
Swollen udder can develop in the goats that are from milking line. The udder of these goats will start filling with milk, even without breeding. This filling of udder without breeding or in non-pregnant goats is known as precocious udder. The udder should have a proper evaluation for heat, texture, pain, etc. These things will help to identify the presence of mastitis.
The precocious udder doesn’t have a proper shape and are soft on palpation. A systemic therapy of antibiotics is handy to have effective results. However, the withdrawal period of the drugs should be considered before making the milk acceptable for drinking.
Goat Udder Swollen On One Side
One side swelling of the goat’s udder occurred when one kid only nurse from one side. The kids will pick one side as their favorite and will ignore the other side of the udder. This one side nursing starts a vicious circle and the other side will remain filled with the milk.
If the goat is not milked out from the other side, it will increase the chances of infection in the udder or drying of the udder and leads to the mastitis.
Goat Udder Edema
Udder edema occurs in all lactating animals including goats. This occurs due to imbalance of the fluid’s force within the body of the goats. The force on the fluid will be greater to exit the fluid from the circulatory system as compared to the force that will try to keep the fluid within the system.
The udder of the goats will grow at the time of kidding or at parturition along with the growth of blood supply. This growth of the blood supply and the udder will lead to the collapse of weak veins and the ducts of lymph that cause the fluid out of the udder and back in the circulation.
Udder edema is a painful condition and leads to the discomfort for the doe. It will also cause difficulty in milking, lead to udder sores, and breakage of the ligaments present in udder along with the system that support udder. Udder edema mostly occurs in high producing goats.
No exercise is one of the most predisposing factor is the development of udder edema. The pregnant goats will find it difficult to walk during the last trimester and there will be less exercise for the pregnant goats leading to the udder edema. The best way is to separate the feeding and eating equipment of the pregnant goats from the rest of the herd so that they can have some exercise and the chances of edema reduces.
Goat Udder Sores
Sore udders also known as “Necrotic Dermatitis” are foul-smelling and moist lesions around the udders of the goats. All ruminants including goats have a ligament in the udder that divide it into right and left halves. When the udder filled with milk, the space between the two halves gets moisture and bacteria. The moisture and bacteria will develop infection in the udder lead to sores. These sores are common during the initial three months of kidding.
This sore udder happens due to the tight compression of the udders in legs that leads to the dermatitis, and necrosis of the udder. One of the main causes of udder sores is the development of udder edema in goats. The lesions on the udder are painful and the mother goat will not permit the kids to nurse them.
The necrotic or dead skin should be disinfected daily and must be dried every day. Application of astringents (drugs that used to contract the body tissue of skin cells) will help to dry the lesions. If remained untreated then these sores lead to mastitis in the goats.
CL in Goats Udder
Caseous Lymphadenitis is a bacterial disease that is an infectious and zoonotic (transfer from animals to humans) of goats and sheep. This bacterium leads to the growth of abscesses both in goats and sheep. These abscesses are very hard to treat and result in the reduction of the production and may cause death too.
This bacterium is present all over the world and it causes economic losses. This bacterium along with other signs and symptoms produce abscesses both internally and externally. Externally the occurrence of the abscesses occurs in the neck, shoulder, rear portion of the goats, and on udder and scrotum.
These abscesses are parallel to the lymph nodes. These are soft to firm when palpated and are round in shape containing thick white or yellow pus in them. Internally the formation of abscess takes place on liver, kidney, and lungs.
Udder Development in Goats
The development of the udder in goats is divided in two five phases. These development stages include the fetal phase, pre-pubertal phase, post-pubertal phase, pregnancy, and lactation phase. The development of the udder starts when the fetus is in early stages of life and proceeds in the lactation. The mammary glands will not function properly until the goat become pregnant.
The development of udder continues throughout the pregnancy with rapid increase in the growth during the last stages of pregnancy. The udder become capable of producing milk when the goat reaches near to the end of the pregnancy,
The goat gets pregnant for the first time will initiate developing the udder approximately one month before the parturition or delivery. This development of udder may vary in different breeds of goat; however, the teats and udders of the goat having first pregnancy are usually smaller as compared to the goats that have a couple of kids before.
The goat that has a couple of kids before may start filling of udder from one month to just few days before the parturition. The goat may start filling the udder a few hours before the kidding; however, this filling also varying according to the breeds of the goats.