Mastitis in goats is common, but that does not mean it isn’t serious. What is mastitis? Where did it come from, is it contagious, and will a vet be needed to fix it are all common concerns among goat owners. The truth is you can easily learn how to treat mastitis in goats naturally. Facing the mastitis issue yourself armed with some natural health knowledge will not only save you a ton on vet bills but also help you avoid antibiotics and complications that can come with that.
What is mastitis in goats?
Mastitis in goats is the same as any other lactating mammal, including humans. Mastitis is simply a clogged or infected milk duct. This can happen at any point in the milk production process but it tends to happen in a newly lactating does more often.
Is mastitis in goats contagious?
Many people wonder if mastitis is contagious, and fear it spreading to others in a herd. The truth is there is nothing contagious about mastitis. Goat mastitis is simple a milk duct that has gotten clogged and or infected due to the movement of milk through the mammary glands. So no need to worry, just like a cavity or infected tooth is not contagious, your goat can not spread mastitis to other goats.
Symptoms of mastitis in goats
Now I myself am no foreigner to mastitis, I have got it myself within a month of 4 of my 5 kids births. So I feel like in human terms I am a pro, at recognizing this often ‘new to nursing issue’. Just like humans goats tend to get or show signs of mastitis within the first few days or weeks after milk production starts. Just think of it as clogged pipes, when the water hasn’t been run for a while.
Mastitis signs to look for in your goat are:
- tries to avoid letting baby nurse due to pain
- acting sick or not well
- higher than normal temperature or showing signs they are trying to fight an infection
Mastitis in goats is not usually all over. You will tend to see it affect one side of the udder or teat more than the other. However, even though rarer both teats can be affected.
Typical treatment for mastitis in goats
The typical response to this is the same with both humans and goats. The difference a vet may take blood samples first. However antibiotics are given and soon milk on that side will begin to flow again, the pain and swelling will subside. Knowing a typical vet visit will cost no less than a few hundred dollars, and end in an antibiotic prescription. If avoiding antibiotics and high vet bills is a priority for you, you have more options.
The natural approach
If you are trying the natural route to healing mastitis in your cud-chewing friend this simple, yet effective method will get right to the problem, but please do be precautious and keep a close eye on her for the first few days
Tea tree oil also known as melaleuca oil is a very fast-acting and powerful antibiotic. One I recommend keeping on hand for any sort of infectious issue that may arise, and with homestead animals that can happen more often than we would like right? You got some sort of infection tea tree oil one will get it. However, with essential oils, there are some precautions, especially for the nursing mother goat. Tea tree oil has a bit of a drying effect, so a little will go a long way, and should always be applied to the skin with a very diluted carrier oil.
Olive oil, coconut oil or any other gentle and healthy oil works great as a carrier oil. A carrier oil is used with the essential oil, in this case, tea tree oil and it will help carry the essential oil into the body and bloodstream to heal the infected milk duct. I like to keep a jar of herb-infused oils for just such occasions. Herbal infused carrier oils also help with pain and inflammation that can accompany the swollen/ infected milk duct.
Goat mastitis natural treatment plan
Add just a few drops of tea tree oil in a palm-full of carrier oil and apply it to the udder area. If you feel your goat is in a lot of pain try adding a few drops of lavender essential oil to the mixture as this will help pain and speed healing. Cover as much of the udder as you can while being careful not to get any of the oil mixtures on the teat (to avoid baby goat ingesting any, if at all possible). Do this twice or in severe cases even three times a day. You will see a dramatic difference within 12 hours, completely healed within 2-3 days. Just remember to use common sense to judge your goat!
Once again nature has a cure! Avoiding antibiotics (and high vet bill) is not as hard as you might think. Tea tree oil is a wonderful essential oil to keep in your natural medicine cabinet or animal emergency bag. For the cost of a bottle of tea tree oil, you can cure all sorts of issues! Let’s call that a win in the ‘money not-spent category’. I’m sure as a homesteader, goat keeper or DIY’er you try our very hardest to save money and spend as wisely. Natural cures can be just that a very effective way to help you save money, all while knowing what goes into your animals and food supply. We, of course, are believers in the healing power of essential oils, I hope I have made a believer out of you too♡♡♡
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Beth is a mother of 5 living on a handful of acres in an old farmhouse in central Kansas. Beth has a background in the military and health and fitness however her passions come from her homestead life. Beth is an enthusiastic homeschooling mom, avid organic gardener, chicken & goat wrangler, who is obsessed with herbs and natural remedies and maintaining an all-around Do-It-Yourself lifestyle. Beth loves to share all she has learned about and sustainable living. While striving for a healthy, natural life, family-centered life.