Mastitis in goats is the inflammation or the swelling of the udder or the mammary glands. Mastitis causes a physical and chemical reaction in the milk produced by the goats. Mastitis is more common in the goats kept for dairy or meat purposes and raised in the semi-intensive or intensive feeding system.
What Causes Mastitis in Goats
Mastitis is usually linked with the unhygienic practices and caused by the fly bites, traumas, staining of mammary tissue or teats from nursing, or injuries to the skin that create an essential barrier against the infection.
Mastitis is linked with the virus, bacteria, fungi, and other toxins. The stressful conditions like muddy and wet living area, extreme temperatures, a sudden change in the feed will compromise the immune system of the female goats. The female goats will have a difficult time to fight against the attack of the foreign bodies that will lead to the disease like mastitis.
The most common causative agent of mastitis in goats is Staphylococcus aureus. However, other bacteria like Streptococcus app, Mycoplasma spp, Enterobacteria spp., also play their role in the development of mastitis.
Apart from the causative bacterial agents, some viruses lead to the mastitis in goats. The Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis Virus (CAEV) can also cause mastitis in goats. Other factors that may cause mastitis in goats include infection by yeast. This infection of fungus linked with the excessive usage of penicillin (an antibiotic medicine) and prolonged and repeated usage of intra-mammary infusions.
Signs of Mastitis in Goats
The signs of clinical mastitis include the sudden onset of high fever, i.e. above 105o F with an increased pulse rate. The female goat will become depressed, and there will be loss of appetite in the goats. The mammary glands of the goats become hard, reddish, and swollen. The udder will be hot and sensitive when touched.
This form of mastitis occurs as an incurable infection that remains persistent. The mammary gland will become hard, and there will be lumps due to colony formation by the bacteria. There will be a reduction in milk production in chronic mastitis.
This form is quite concerning among the farmers as there are no apparent signs of this type of mastitis. There will be no swelling on the mammary glands or any other abnormalities in the milk that help to identify the presence of mastitis. The sub-clinical form of mastitis will then convert into the chronic clinical form of mastitis. There will be a reduction in milk production in female goats.
The early signs and symptoms of mastitis in general include:
The female goat will not allow the young ones for feeding. The texture of the milk will be abnormal, and it may have clumps or blood in it. The udder may become hard, reddish, swollen, and hot when touched. There will be other signs of mastitis like fever, depression, reduction in milk production, loss of appetite, and illness.
Mastitis Test for Goats
The diagnosis of mastitis depends on the signs and history of the herd. There are some tests too for the determination of the mastitis are:
The milk culture is the most reliable procedure to diagnose the mastitis in goats. The California milk test and somatic cell count are the most famous tests to identify the mastitis in goats. The California milk test is most reliable to detect sub-clinical mastitis.
Goat Mastitis Treatment
A.) Mastitis in Goats - Natural Treatments
There are several therapeutic properties of the clay. The clay has a high absorption tendency, and it is quite useful to treat the mammary gland inflammation caused by mastitis.
Prepare a mixture of the clay with water or olive oil. A good compromise is to use half oil, half water and mix it with the clay. The container should be covered with a cloth and set out in the sun.
A wooden spoon must be used, and the box should be of a non-reactive material like glass or porcelain. Addition of 2-3 drops of pine or thyme oil per two litres will make the mixture more effective.
Apply clay dressing after milking over the infected parts of the udder. Remove the clay once dried and repeat the dressing 2-3 times a day. This remedy of mastitis shows its effects within 2-3 hours in the case of acute mastitis, 4-6 hours with less severe forms and 2-3 days with chronic mastitis.
It is a seaweed that is very effective in treating the mastitis. The effects of kelp are more preventive rather than curative. There will be a significant reduction of the mastitis incidences in the herd when fed on kelp.
Aloe is another natural treatment for the udder injuries that lead to clinical mastitis. The application of aloes will rapidly reveal the mammary tissue. Inject 20-60 cc of aloe (in juice or gel form) in the infected part of the mammary glands once per day. However, it is essential to sterilise the teats before injecting the aloe. Otherwise, the injection will take all the dirt with it into the teat.
The diuretic and anti-inflammatory property of aloe will help to reduce the hardness of the udder. However, don’t mix the milk of treated teat with the milk from other healthy goats.
B.) What Antibiotics Treat Mastitis in Goats?
The treatment should be based on the results of the milk culture. The treatment of mastitis includes:
It is crucial to milk out the infected udder before the administration of any intra-mammary infusions. Massage the udder to move the infusion medicines as far as possible.