Milk Goiter

A few weeks ago, when we went out to feed a doe and her 3-week old baby, we were horrified to find a knot underneath the baby’s chin. Our first thought was bottle jaw. But when we caught him and examined his eyes, we realized he was not at all anemic. The location of the lump was not near a lymph gland, so we didn’t have to worry about caseous lymphsitis (CL). The lump was about the size of a que ball and solid. All we could think of was a tumor. The baby seemed to be in pain when we were examining the lump, was more lethargic than we had ever seen him, and, in our thoughts, was having trouble swallowing. We were sure he would be dead by morning.

Morning came, and he was still alive – and the lump was larger than ever. But he seemed to have more energy than the night before. What could be the matter with him?

Then out of the blue, a memory reappeared. Shortly after we had gotten into goats 11 years earlier, one of our Nubian-Boer crosses had a kid with this same type of lump. We had rushed him to the vet’s and were told it was nothing to worry about…..just a milk goiter.

From what we have been able to find, a milk goiter is caused either by the doe being able to produce too rich milk for the baby to absorb or a iodine deficiency. One recommend “cure” to milk goiter is to spray underneath the kid’s tail with iodine that will then be absorbed by the kid’s system. The other recommended treatment is to do nothing – the goiter will go away on its own when the baby is weaned.

We followed the first procedure and sprayed the tail with iodine. It didn’t seem to have any effect, so we didn’t repeat the process. The baby’s growth was not negatively affected by the milk goiter; therefore, we determined to leave him alone. Should we have this “problem” in the future, we will probably not treat at all.

We will make notations in the dams’ records that she is a heavy milk producer (this is a good thing) and that her baby/babies have a history of milk goiter.

Ken and Pat Motes
Clear Creek Farms
33 South Clear Creek Road
Fall River, Tennessee 38468
Phone: (931) 852-2167
Fax: (931) 852-2168

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