Examine the Udder

Examination of the mammary gland in the small ruminant is the same as the large ruminant (bovine).  The gland should first be visually inspected noting contour, skin coloration, swelling, and/or shape.  Then a manual exam is performed by palpating the gland for firmness, tenderness, and/or fibrosis.  Gangrenous mastitis is a common finding in the small ruminant causing a bluish discoloration to the teat and sometimes to the skin of the affected gland.  Patentcy of the teats should be assessed during the manual exam.  Next the milk should be evaluated using both the strip cup and the CMT test.  Normal small ruminant milk contains more white blood cells than the bovine and a trace to plus 1 is considered normal on the CMT exam.  An interpretation of plus 2 or 3 is indicative of mastitis.  A milk culture should be collected following the same aseptic techniques as used in the bovine when the exam is suggestive of mastitis.  A precocious udder (enlarged mammary gland in a non-lactating animal) is quite common in high producing lines of small ruminants.  Gynecomastia is also a reported finding in bucks (male goats).

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Copyright 1999-2001
New Bolton Center Field Service Department
Students:  Keith Javic - Class of 2003, C. Nikki Conroy - Class of 2003