This post is concerning my goat kids. Amusing, playful, rambunctious, mischievous, agile, smart and swift creatures. Very similar to my own kids..
Sometimes, I just like to slow down, take a break and hang out with the goats. This relaxing time makes it all worth it! They are so fun to watch. It is rewarding to scratch that one little spot they just cannot get to. It amazes me how fast these kids grow and develop their own personalities. Pretty neat little animals!
I would have never thought I would enjoy goats! This is our second summer with goats and I definitely consider myself still a newby. There is a lot to learn and goat health can get complicated and tricky because there has not been much documented research on their diseases. Many veterinarians do not have a strong background or experience with goats.
There is, of course, tons of information on the Internet. There are many forums concerning goats and I have found useful information there. It is also helpful to have a "goat mentor" who has experience that you can turn to.
All this is leading up to my subject of the post.. A week or so ago while I was hangin with the goats I noticed a lump on one of our doelings throat, kind of like an Adam's apple. I have not had this before so naturally I got quite concerned. I got a good feel of it. It was soft and kinda squishy. This doeling is out of a registered Lamancha doe, which is a milking breed. She is the first kid for this doe and a single. She is pure white, polled, lovely and growing like a dandelion! I named her Lily though... Anyway, I came inside and googled "lumps in goats". What I got was bad news... A very contagious, zoological disease that is bad news for goat producers: CL or Caseous Lymphadenitis which is caused by the bacteria Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis. That last word has tuberculosis in it! Yikes! How did this happen? Where did it come from? What should I do? A million thoughts go blazing through my mind. I searched site after site ingesting all the information. I quickly sent a message to a friend asking her about it.
Things got kinda busy around the farm and I tried my best to forget about it. The doeling was obviously very healthy with a shiny sleek coat, bright eyes, good appetite and active just like her brothers and sisters. She was just barely 2 months old. The disease takes approximately 2-6 months for the body to isolate the bacteria into these bumps or abscesses. If she had it, she must have contracted it the day she was born through her umbilicus!
"Hmmm.... How DID she get it though?" I wondered. We haven't had a sick goat on the place. She was obviously born here and we got her momma as a doeling, very healthy also. From what I could gather, the bacteria is spread through the draining abscesses of other goats and gains entry into the animal through a cut in the skin. Certainly none of our goats have had an abscess! This just doesn't make sense!
I stressed and pondered what to do. My mentor didn't know what it was. She has never dealt with it before. Another friend suggested antibiotic spray. Many authors on the Internet highly suggesting culling of animals with abcesses. The bacteria can live in the environment for years! Wow! Some animals can die of it, some never get signs, but once they have gotten the bacteria in their system, they are "carriers" for life. I definitely did not want to deal with this. But culling her would be extremely difficult.
Fast forward a couple of more days and I am out hangin with the goats again. I notice another kid has the same lump! It is a buckling out of another Lamancha doe. He is only a month old, however. He is another single out of my best milker, rapidly growing and very healthy.
Now I am really stressing.... Doubting our venture into goats even though we have been extremely blessed... That day was a bad one. I don't have very many bad days, but that was certainly one of them.
Entering into that evening, I am sprawled out on the couch exhausted from my bad day. My wonderful husband asks what's wrong, again. I begin explaining everything I had learned, that I didn't know what to do and how it didn't make sense. We talked for a few minutes and decided it would be in our best interest to remove the animals before the rest of the herd was exposed. Ugh! This is bad!
Thankfully, he decides he wants to see pictures. He googles "young goats with lumps in their throats" and comes across an article from "goatbiology" website. The pictures of the lumps look exactly like the ones our goats have! The article describes them as "milk goiters", not CL abcesses. Really??!!??!! Yes!! This is good news!
Even though I was about out of data on my phone, I could not help but to look further into this. Upon googling "milk goiter in young goats" I came upon a familiar website: http://www.fiascofarm.com/. This site is loaded with info on goats and I have been there several times. The author calls it "milk neck". She describes it perfectly and the pictures shown on the website are identical to ours. Apparently, does that have plenty of rich, creamy milk will cause their nursing kids to produce these bumps. It's actually a good thing?? Huh? What?? It went from really bad to really blessed in about 2 minutes. Such relief! Not much is known about the cause or why or that certain breeds seem to do it, just that it is not bad, not CL and I do not need to do anything about it. It will be fine. After the kid is weaned, the swelling naturally disappears on its own. Praise the Lord hallelujah!!! The two does that have the kids with the bumps are definitely my two best milkers out of the Forrest Pride Lamancha lines. Now it makes sense!
The pictures below show the two kids' bumps. The top is the 2 month old doeling and the bottom the 1 month old buckling.