Tuesday, April 14, 2015

WARNING GRAPHIC IMAGES: Genetic Malformation or Injury?

Soothing Lilly through
the scary procedures.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to have a good relationship with a knowledgeable Veterinarian- one that knows about your breed and fights to help your animals recover when illness or accidents happen. I called this morning about the trouble with Lilly and Dr. Larson of Ridge Runner Veterinary was able to get me in within the hour.

The trouble is that Lilly is producing milk in her udder, but we cannot express any through her teats- either of them. One cause could be a "milk stone", a hard mass formed by deposits of calcium, magnesium phosphates, protein, etc. that harden to block the milk duct. Left untreated, these can become infected and lead to Mastitis. To check for this, Dr. Larson examined the udder physically and took Lilly's temperature. Her temperature was normal and no hard lumps were felt during the physical exam.

Dr. Larson threaded a short catheter into the milk ducts to see if she could clear any potential blockage and withdraw any amount milk from either teat. There was no sign of milk from either side. Next, a longer (approximately 8 inch) catheter was fed as gently as possible into the milk duct. Even with the entire catheter inside, no milk was siphoned from the udder.

Based on these procedures, it seems most likely that Lilly was either born with a genetic malformation in which the milk ducts are not connected to the outside or there is scar tissue from an injury in her youth that caused a blockage. Either way, though Lilly is producing milk, and has a lovely, large bag full of it, there is no way for it to get outside her body and into her young. At least, that is what we believe is going on. There is a very, very small chance that it is a case of Mastitis presenting without fever or any other sign of infection, but it is highly improbable. There is also a tiny, slim chance that the blockage will pass and be expelled, but that, too, is unlikely.

We want to give Lilly every chance of recovering from this and living a normal goat life. To that end, Dr. Larson administered penicillin into both teats with a catheter. If it is an internal infection, that should help resolve it. Additionally, Sean and I will need to apply warm compresses to her udder 2-3 times each day for 10 minutes and then, massage the area. Lilly will get injections of Banamine for the next couple days to help relieve any pain and discomfort this is causing her. Though we are hopeful that milk will start flowing, it is more likely that Lilly's body will absorb the milk supply she has and she will stop producing more. We will never breed Lilly again. She will become a pet and live out her days here.

But wait, there is more... because there is no "let down" reaction within Lilly, her body is not functioning completely normally. Contractions that should have helped her fully expel the placenta, are not coming. I asked Dr. Larson to check because I had not seen Lilly pass her placenta. That is not unusual. She could have in the night and eaten it before I saw it. I was concerned because usually by this time, a doe's discharge will be more clear in nature with bloody tinge to it. Lilly's discharge was still very thick. Upon examination, Dr. Larson found that Lilly's cervix has closed, but there is still unpassed tissue mass. Because what we need on top of the other issue is a partially retained placenta, right? To help remedy that, we will continue to give small dose injections of Oxytocin. That should help the placenta to be expelled. The problem with that is the effect of the Oxytocin will stimulate a milk supply... which has no place to go... which can cause discomfort and potentially lead to mastitis. To help prevent a uterine infection, Dr. Larson used a lavage combination of saline and an Oxytetracycline  antibiotic. In addition to this, an injection of penicillin was given intramuscularly and a dose of Banamine for pain. We are very hopeful that Lilly will make a full recovery, but she is not out of the woods. The next few days are going to be critical.

As for Miss Chloe, I attempted to hold Meme in the hopes that Chloe would get the colostrum she needs to provide the antibodies of protection which pass from mother to child. Neither Meme nor Chloe were happy with this arrangement. So, I coaxed Meme to the milk stand and milked what I could from her. This was added to milk from Bailey. Chloe drank a 3 oz bottle at noon. I'll milk Meme again and offer it to Chloe through the rest of the night. I am hopeful that Aunt Bailey might be coaxed to allow Chloe to drink her milk. But, if not, we'll have our first (and hopefully ONLY) bottle-baby. Miss Chloe will live in the barn with her Mom, who is loving and attentive. She'll learn how to be a good goat, but we'll help supplement her feedings.

We'll keep you updated. Thanks for visiting today.
~Sonja ♥


  1. What a crazy few days you have had! I hope she gets better without complications.

  2. Snappy doodles, I hope all goes well. I was scared to read this, but I know she is getting the best care. If she can't feed her baby, she can give her loves and I am sure she won't mind a little help from her friends.

  3. Wow - you have all been through a bit of a wringer this past few days. Hoping all turns out good for Lilly and Chloe :)