Gifts for Goat People! Day 13: Health First!

Who said you couldn’t learn something on a Holiday Goat Gift Guide?  Yesterday I recommended Mary Smith & David Sherman’s Goat Medicine.  Today, I’m recommending a CMT Test Kit for your goat owning friends.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with the California Mastitis Test (CMT), I had my dearest goat veterinarian mother write up a quick blurb:

The majority of goats with mastitis or infection in the udder do not have clinical symptoms, and undetected bacterial infections in the udder can cause off flavors, decrease milk production, and interfere with cheese or yogurt production.

A simple goat side test can be used by the goat producer to screen animals on a routine basis so that affected goats can be identified and treated or culled from production of dairy products for human consumption.

The California Mastitis Test uses a plastic paddle with four flat wells and a liquid reagent solution that contains a color indicator and soap.  After washing and drying the teats, the milker squirts about one tablespoon of milk from one udder half into one well and milk from the other half into a second well.  An equal amount of CMT reagent is added to the milk in each well and the paddle is swirled in a circular motion to mix the milk and reagent.  The test is read immediately at goat side.

If there are high numbers of bacteria in the milk, the color indicator will change from lavender to deep red or bright blue based on a change in pH in the milk from bacteria digesting the sugar and protein in the milk.  If there are a high number of white blood cells present in the milk due to infection, then the milk-reagent solution will form a gel in the center that will mound up when the paddle is swirled.  If the CMT is negative, then the milk will retain normal fluid texture and remain light lavender in color.

Culturing milk from CMT positive goats and antibiotic sensitivity testing of bacteria isolated can be used by the goat producer to treat affected animals.  CMT positive animals should be milked last to avoid transferring infection from one goat to another.

Got questions?  Leave them in the comments and I’ll be sure that my mother responds 🙂

Check back tomorrow morning for more goat gifts and click subscribe (on the right) if you would like to receive this blog via email!

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