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Dan C., DVM
Dan C., DVM, Veterinarian
Category: Large Animal Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1174
Experience:  Equine Practitioner. Owner of Mobile Equine/Large Animal Practice for 16 years.
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I have a 10 year old nubian doe who has a very swollen milk

Customer Question

I have a 10 year old nubian doe who has a very swollen milk sack! The sack is full of clear fluid; no infection, and nipples are healthy. She was adopted 3 years ago from 4H student.
Shirley (the goat) is very healthy otherwise and behaves normally in the herd 9 I have 15 other nubians who are all "pets". I keep them to graze the weeds over our 8 acre property. They are all regularly vetted, she (the mobile veternarian) does not seem concerned, but I AM! Can you advise me?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Large Animal Veterinary
Expert:  Dan C., DVM replied 1 year ago.

Good Morning, and thanks for the question!

What Shirley is experiencing is not an uncommon problem.. I would tend to agree with your Vet, as this is not something to be overly concerned with.

Fortunately, this is not an udder infection (mastitis), as your does would be extremely sore, and most likely very warm to the touch. What she is exhibiting is a condition known as “precocious udder”, which is basically the production of milk or fluid without being pregnant. Shirley may have had a false pregnancy earlier, or may be experiencing one presently, but a false pregnancy is the most common cause of precocious udder. There are also cases of the condition that appear for no known reason, often with pet goats. There is more of a chance for her to develop this if she has had previous pregnancies, but not always (goats don’t always “read the book”, so to speak…).

With your doe, you basically have three options: first, you can begin milking her out as a normally freshened goat, and she may or may not milk for some time. Secondly, you can try to dry her off, which would consist of discontinuing all grain and alfalfa, feeding only dry grass hay. Additionally, you can also infuse her teets with a “dry cow” infusion for mastitis, but it does help if you milk them out occasionally to prevent discomfort. However, if you’re trying to dry her off, don’t milk her out too often, as that only stimulates the udder to continue producing milk. Usually milking out partially (enough to avoid discomfort, but not totally) every 2-3 days should suffice. This can take anywhere from 2-4 weeks, normally.

Your other option is to simply let it be. If she doesn’t become uncomfortable, this condition will often also resolve on it’s own.

Unfortunately, there is nothing that is known concerning what you can do to stop this condition from occurring. Again, it is not an uncommon phenomenon, and fortunately, there is no danger to Shirley’s health, other than an outside chance of developing mastitis.

Thanks again, and I hope that I’ve answered your question to your satisfaction. If you do have any further questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to ask.

All the best to you and your Shirley!


-Dan C., DVM.

Expert:  Dan C., DVM replied 1 year ago.

Just wanted to let you know that I’ll be away from my computer until early this afternoon, out working. I’ll check to see if you have any further questions as soon as I return.

Thanks again,

-Dan C., DVM.

Expert:  Dan C., DVM replied 1 year ago.
Hi Anne,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Shirley. How is everything going?

Dan C., DVM