August 17, 2011

Clogged Teat

Not long ago we lived in a typical suburban neighborhood. We had a largish lot, relatively speaking, and a small garden. And we had one cat named Kitty (original, I know). Kitty got an eye infection at one point and we had to administer drops. Holding down a cat, while keeping her eye open and squirting in a few drops is no small task. In fact is a two person tasks and I would recommend long sleeves and gloves. As retribution Kitty would find an innocent piece of clothing left sitting unassumingly on the floor and cover it in urine.

Until we purchased the farm, that was the extent of vet-tech skills. That and taking a stool sample in once or twice - cat stool, just to be clear.

Fast forward a few years and I have delivered multiple lambs, given many shots, pull porcupine quills, felt all manner of body parts for scraps, lumps, bugs, etc., force fed pills. But the other night I had a new one.

Jeremy came up from a routine oat feeding and annoucned that Notag wasn't allowing her lamb Bo to nurse off one teat. Notag was kicking him off the one but letting him nurse the other. She must have a clogged teat. I've heard about that before. And I've heard that sometimes you can work out the clog but milking the teat. So we decided to grab Notag and I'd see if I could work out a blockage.

But I wasn't very excited about squeezing a sore teat while in kicking distance of her hind legs. Notag, thankfully, is the best patient we have ever had. Once she let me pull 30 porcupine quills from her nose. For this unclogging event, Jeremy gave her a bear hug and I went to work.

Her left teat felt normal, but in her right teat I could feel a ball of sorts way up inside of the teat. I tried to move it downward but no luck. Then I tried to get some milk out around it and again no luck. Time to call the vet. I also took a picture to send the vet, but I'll spare you all a shot of Notag's udders.

After explaining the whole thing to Dr. Scot, he said she has a "spider" and that there isn't anything that can be done about it. We just watch to make sure the udder doesn't become infected, which would be unlikely since I couldn't get any milk past the "spider." So watch and wait. Yipee. Fortunately Notag didn't twin this year so Bo could drink off the other side and we wouldn't have to supplement.

I've been trying to learn more about this "spider" blockage, but all I can find online is "spider lamb disorder" which as nothing to do with teats and Storey's Guide to Raising Sheep, normally the go-to for everything, has nothing about this type of teat clog. What I want to know if, after her milk dries up, with this "spider" thinging go away? Or is that teat permanently ruined? If she twins next year will be have to graft the lamb to Lilly or bottle feed it? I suppose another call to Dr. Scott is in order.

Update - No infection in Notag's udder - whew! Stilll wondering about the long term viability of the teat.


Robin said...

What a difference a few years made for you! lol

I've never heard of a spider blockage before either.

Mad Typist said...

Sorry. I've been going back and reading old posts, and I don't know if you are still looking for information on this. I found an explanation of a spider teat (or Basal Obstruction) online. Search for "Clinical Examination of Farm Animals" by Peter G. G. Jackson. The book is online, and the description is on page 160. Hope that helps!

Mindy said...

Thanks for the info. I'll have to look it up because Notag is pregnant again and if she has twins it could be a problem.