Troubles never single spies

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10 years 4 months ago #36485 by Short Plank
Some of you will know that we've just lost one of our two housecows after calving. The survivor, Rata, who we've been milking, had been providing enough milk for the household and to feed Chloe's calf - until tonight.

Rata only has three functioning quarters but this evening I was able to milk very little out of the teat while the quarter above it is firm and warm - tho' not hot. It was as if she had not and would not let the milk down in that quarter.

In the seventeen years I've been milking here we've not had a single episode of mastitis. She milked out perfectly normally from the quarter this morning and the milk I did get from the teat tonight seemed perfectly normal.

Is it possible we would get our first case of mastitis in seventeen years three days after we had to have our other cow euthanised? Can mastitis strike this quickly? Or is it possible that Rata is responding to Chloe's calf, which she can see and hear, by retaining the milk in just one quarter?

Any ideas, suggestions? I have Mastalone but am loath to inject it unnecessarily, particularly when we need all the milk we can get for the calf - tho' we did get a bag of calf milk powder yesterday 'just in case'.

Or do we just worship the wrong god?

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10 years 4 months ago #475817 by max2
Replied by max2 on topic Troubles never single spies
Gosh you have had all the bad luck this week! Sorry to hear that....

I don't have much experience with mastitis although have found lumps in our milk which the vet provided medication for the cow which cleared the milk up. But we were still getting milk and they advise you to continue milking.

I would think its unusual to completely stop providing milk and wonder if the cow is feeling maternal and wants to take on the calf and is holding her milk up. ??

But I'm just guessing, unless the calf has already suckled from the quarter before you got to Rata?

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10 years 4 months ago #475819 by cowvet
Replied by cowvet on topic Troubles never single spies
Are you sure the calf (or something else) is not feeding off her directly?

Cows do not generally hold their milk up in one quarter. Something is wrong if one quarter is being held. The milk letdown response is a systemic one - it affects all quarters. Blocked quarters are usually due to obstruction (teat pea etc) or infection. mastitis does NOT necessarily make a quarter hot

next milking.....
Can you get any milk out
What does the milk look like
Do a rapid mastitis test


I love animals...they're delicious

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10 years 4 months ago #475824 by Short Plank
No, the calf cannot get to her, tho' they can see and hear each other.

She milked out completely, as usual in the morning.

What should I be looking for? What I did get out of the teat this evening seemed perfectly normal.

What's a rapid mastitis test?

Will see what happens tomorrow am.

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10 years 4 months ago #475826 by Ruth
Replied by Ruth on topic Troubles never single spies
Courtesy of Cowvet in a long-ago thread:
Mix up one part sunlight detergent to three parts water - mix well and then stand to let bubbles disappear.
(This isn't as good as the store bought mastitis solution but is good enough for an emergency/weekend!)

Then mix equal parts of diluted detergent with suspect milk - you only need a few squirts of each. Swirl it around to mix for about 15 seconds. If it clots and goes like thick snot (i.e., you can pick it up in your fingers) you have a high somatic cell count; only slightly gelled/goopy then the somatic cell count is lower.

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10 years 4 months ago #475829 by clarry
Replied by clarry on topic Troubles never single spies
Shown on this page is The super paddle, makes easy to see the difference between quarters

Also a good picture at bottom of page of a test result

www.shoof.co.nz/nzcatalogue/page_33.pdf

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10 years 4 months ago #475853 by Short Plank
Well, she milked out normally this morning tho' quantity was down by a litre overall, perhaps because of the change in the weather, perhaps because she's bulling - something she always does quietly and undramatically.

Perhaps it was just a false alarm, brought on by neurosis as I await the next boot in the groin from fickle fate.

I do know that I'm at the end of my tether after Chloe's death. It's the one big problem of our remoteness. The folk around here are helpful and generous with time and resources but to the extent they have livestock at all they're beef and sheep farmers. Just at the moment I feel very alone with no-one to talk to who can understand the way I 'feel' about my animals.

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10 years 4 months ago #475855 by igor
Replied by igor on topic Troubles never single spies
When I milk I squirt a bit of milk from each quarter onto the ground before I put the cups on so I can immediately see if it looks dodgy. That's my mastitis test. Mastitis milk will have stringy lumps in it, may be discoloured, and will just look wrong. You have been very fortunate to not encounter mastitis in seventeen years of milking.

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10 years 4 months ago #475856 by Short Plank
Thanks Igor.

Yes, perhaps I have become complacent. I hand-milk anyway, with Milkeeze, and spray the udder religiously afterwards.

I may have been wrong about it being mastitis - as I say it seemed fine this morning, the udder had lost its 'firmness' and I drew the usual pint or so out of it this am.

Losing our fresh milk supply would be the one thing that would make living out here intolerable, and getting hold of a replacement housecow in a hurry would be very very difficult.

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