Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats

for people who love the littlest dairy goats

Today at milking time I noticed a bit of blood on the paper towel that I used to wash Sumac's udder with. I took a look and saw that she had a bad cut on it. This happens from time to time as some of our fencing is barbed wire and the goats like to find places to squeeze through it. When it happens we carefully hand-milk the doe rather than using the machine, and we keep the cut dry and clean until it heals. Sumac's cut was pretty deep and I could see something that I thought might be the tube that the milk flows through so I decided to be extra-careful. I started to squeeze her teat and the exposed tube burst. Milk poured out of it into the strip cup as I stared in sick horror. I carefully cleaned it after it was done and milked out her other side.

I don't think there's a whole lot that can be done about it so we're just going to stop milking that side and keep the cut clean and dry. I have no idea if it will heal properly or if she's finished as a milker. There's really nothing to do but wait and see, and keep an eye out for mastitis or infection of the wound itself. 

It didn't seem to bother Sumac at all, she didn't flinch in the least. I really hope she's okay, she's such a sweet goat and a good milker. 

Don't use barbed wire fences.

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Comment by Deborah Niemann-Boehle on December 3, 2012 at 6:34pm

This is so sad! It really doesn't sound good.

Comment by Marin Waddell on December 3, 2012 at 6:14pm

Things aren't looking too good for Sumac. We stopped milking her about 7 weeks ago, but the injured teat hasn't healed and I guess the constant drain of milk is making her body think she needs to keep producing so it's still leaking, not so great in below freezing weather. Add to that the fact that we can't get her shoulder to stay in place and it's causing her to put all her weight on the opposite front foot which is really starting to show the strain. Sigh. Poor girl. We'll give her shoulder one last try and wrap it as tight as healthily possible to try to keep it in place, and we'll keep her in a small-ish stall to restrict movement, but I don't see this ending in her favour. 

Comment by Patty Meyer on September 10, 2012 at 10:56pm

I can SO relate to feeling dumb about the toddler.  One Easter Sunday I asked my 7 yo to carry her 2 yo sister past a muddy spot while I walked with the 5 yo and carried the car seat with the newborn in it.  Of course, she ended up covered in mud in her Easter dress.  I felt awful giving her such a responsibility!  Oh well, we live and learn, and learn, and learn!

I'm sorry about Sumac's shoulder situation.  Praying the teat heals nicely and she gives you a great year of milk next season!  Best wishes! :)

Comment by Deborah Niemann-Boehle on September 10, 2012 at 10:54pm

Thanks for the update! That's gotta be frustrating! Good luck!

Comment by Marin Waddell on September 10, 2012 at 4:58pm

The vet was able to pop Sumac's shoulder into place without having to sedate her at all. Unfortunately it popped out of place again on the way home. Fortunately the vet showed me how to pop it back in myself. Unfortunately this does mean that she probably has shoulder dysplasia which is frequently a genetic issue and will cause arthritis in the future. I don't think there is a "fortunately" for that. We're going to keep her confined in a large stall with nothing to jump on for a few weeks and hope that the muscles and ligaments tighten back up to keep the shoulder in place. I think the longterm plan is to milk her for the rest of this year, and to breed her again for next year because we'll need her milk, but after that she'll be retired. Not only does her body not need the extra strain, but dysplasia is frequently genetic and we don't want to perpetuate those genes. It's too bad because she's a really sweet girl with good milk production. 

As far as her teat goes, the vet said that it looks good and to keep doing what we're doing. Only time will tell if it will scar and block the milk tube. 

She was very well-behaved in the kennel on the way there and stood and walked nicely on the leash around the parking lot when I took her around to see if she wanted to eat some weeds. Then I handed the leash to my 2.5 year old while I got my baby out of the car, thinking that Sumac would continue to be good. The goat saw her opportunity and took off. The staff at the clinic must have been watching us because one of the vets bolted out the door and managed to head her off and catch her. I felt pretty stupid for handing a goat on a leash to a toddler. Oh well, at least she was caught. 

Comment by Marin Waddell on September 10, 2012 at 10:33am

Sumac seems to be healing quite nicely. The point that the tube popped at was the deepest part of the cut so it hasn't finished healing and milk still runs out. I suspect that I won't know if it has healed completely until next spring when she freshens again.

She seems to have dislocated her shoulder again and it hasn't popped back into place so she is going to the vet this morning. Hopefully they can show me how to fix it myself in case it happens again. And maybe they'll have an idea as to whether this is a genetic joint issue or just a random incident. 

Comment by Margaret Langley on September 9, 2012 at 9:20pm

Marin, how is Sumac's udder doing? I find this sad and interesting. I do think it sounds like you are on the right track with your thinking. Sounds like you and Deborah are probably right to think that there would be natural drainage coming through that opening. But, I just have this feeling that she is going to make a 100% recovery from this. I sure pray that is so. Call me an optimist,but after what I have seen with Anchovy and knowing what a great goat mommy you are I feel sure that this will turn out just fine. Hugs to you and Sumac!

Comment by Marin Waddell on August 27, 2012 at 8:34am

And this morning Sumac was no longer limping and the weird angle was gone from her shoulder. I guess we're not going to the vet.

Comment by Marin Waddell on August 26, 2012 at 11:08pm

Sumac is going to have her teat looked at tomorrow when I take her to the vet, not for the injured teat, but because I suspect she has dislocated her shoulder! I'll just have them look at the cut while I'm there anyways. I have no idea how she injured the shoulder. She just showed up for evening milking with a limp and something funky happening internally at the shoulder joint.

Comment by Patty Meyer on August 23, 2012 at 10:51pm

Keep us posted!  I'm sure sorry to hear what you're dealing with.  I'm praying for Sumac's healing without infection.  I actually found some barbed wire in an area we were in the process of fencing in for our bucklings.  I think it was left over from the 70's, when the people who first built on this land had a cow.  I made sure I got it all out of there, but I have no idea where else it might be lurking on the property. :(

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