May 30, 2011

How Jasmine Is Doing

Several of you have inquired about Jasmine. I appreciate that and have some amazing news to tell you.

For those who don't read my blog regularly, Jasmine gave birth to a stillborn doeling on May 8th. In addition to it being a difficult labor, the right half of her udder became rock hard immediately after kidding. I could not express any milk from it, so I was very concerned about pressure buildup as she continued to produce milk. It would be not only painful for her, but the vet told me they'd seen ruptured udders in the past.

I decided I had no option but to dry her up as quickly as possible. Toward that end, I searched online for herbs to dry up milk supply. There was a lot of information for humans, but I figured they would work for Jasmine as well. One herb reputed to help is sage, which I grow in my herb garden. I started trying to feed her that.

As I continued my research, I ran across an article entitled "Herbs, Milking and Mastitis, Five Secrets." I had already give Jasmine's the vet's prescription antibiotics for mastitis, which hadn't helped at all. Having only a nominal faith in pharmaceuticals anyway, I was willing to give herbs a try.

Three of the four herbs mentioned to treat mastitis, were ones that I have growing here: poke root, comfrey leaves, and calendula flowers. It was easiest for me to make a salve, so I pulverized these in the blender with vegetable oil. I admit I didn't measure. I just dug a big chunk of poke root, grabbed a big handful of comfrey, and the few calendula flowers that I had in bloom.

Once I had a slimey green goop, I added melted beeswax, following the same procedure I showed you here. I ended up with a pint of salve, which I have been massaging this on her udder three times a day.

I noticed no difference for the first several days. It was also during this time that I realized that side of her udder wasn't swelling with milk. I was greatly relieved at this, and since she didn't care for the sage anyway, stopped giving her that and continued milking out the good side twice a day.

Within a few days the mass in her udder was noticeably smaller. It's been three weeks now, and we've gone from a rock hard melon sized mass, to a tangerine size softer (but still palpable) lump.

She absolutely loves have her udder massaged. In fact she'll bow our her legs and let me rub and massage for as long as I want. In addition to that, I've been feeding her about half a dozen stalks of comfrey daily. She'd eat more if I had it, but I have to ration according to the number of comfrey plants I have to keep a steady supply going.

Herbalists use poke root to treat problems with the lymphatic system, skin problems, tumors of the mammary glands, and specifically mastitis. Comfrey is used for skin conditions, sprains, bruises, ulcers, burns, and swelling. Calendula is applied to cuts, scrapes, rashes, and inflammation. The one recommended herb I don't have is red clover. It is traditionally used for cancers, skin conditions, and breast discomfort. We've had a few red clovers pop up here and there, but I really should plant some for future use, pasture and hay at the very least.

She's not cured yet, though I am obviously very hopeful. Until then, her future remains questionable, but for now, she is a good companion for Surprise. As with everything else in life, we're just taking it one day at a time.

 How Jasmine Is Doing © May 2011 


Sherri B. said...

Thanks for the update. It is so nice to hear that she is improving, I bet it felt so much better to her when you massaged it. Amazing what herbs can do, if we only have the patients to let them do their work.

Phoebe said...

Poor girl. I used to make Calendula salve all every year for scrapes and burns but I got out of the habit, I'm so glad you reminded me to make some this year! I am not surprised your salve has worked so well, I find herbs are definitely the way to go in most cases for animals and people. Especially if they are applied with love :-)

Jane @ Hard Work Homestead said...

Poor thing. She has just had one trying year. I am glad she is improving.

Razzberry Corner said...

Amazing! I will have to look into the herbs that we have growing all around me. I don't know what most of these plants even are. It seems the early settlers planted all sorts of things, and now some of the plants remain growing wild around the house. Thanks for the insight and the motivation.

I'm so glad Jasmine is doing better. I've learned to take it one day at a time, too!

Leigh said...

Sherri, she loves the massage! And I agree about patience. It does require that.

Phoebe, I should start making a calendula salve as well. And yes, love is an important ingredient!

Jane, she has indeed. I'm trying not to get my hopes up too high as to restoring her completely, I'm just being diligent and faithful to do my best.

Lynn, you really should! There is a lot of great information out there on the healing benefit of herbs. Also a lot of disinformation! It's wonderful that you have so many botanical resources within steps of your home.

Woolly Bits said...

good to know that Jasmine is getting better! I've done calendula salve for some time, I use it on scrapes etc. comfrey grows everywhere, so I'd only use it when needed - but I read not to use it on split skin, because it makes the top heal faster than the inside..aren't plants amazing - whenever I need advice I grab my book by Richo Cech, very informative and so far everything I tried worked (for humans, though, not for animals, but I assume that a lot of the plants would work there as well).

Nina said...

What a relief that must be for you and her. Calendula is an amazing flower for healing.

Evelyn said...

The salve recipe must be excellent - glad it is working for Jasmine - must be making your hands very nice also!

Angie said...

Thank you for the update and the happy progress report! I've been inspired to add at least one flower to my garden. :D

Michelle said...

What great news!!! Thank you for sharing this priceless information with us. I plan to print your post and the article you referenced for future use in my goats as well as myself! I have fibrocystic breasts and family history of breast cancer on both sides, so I need to do all I can to keep everything healthy. You're awesome! :D

Marissa said...

Did you get her milk cultured? It sounds like it may have been e. coli mastitis - we've dealt with that two years in a row with one doe. NOT FUN. And it does not respond to most antibiotics so 'alternative' treatments are really the way to go. Hope she continues to improve!

Anonymous said...

Hello Dear Leigh!

Jasmine is such a pretty doe, so sorry for all the problems, but glad she is doing well!

Appreciate and miss you!


trump said...

welcome news regarding Jasmine. These little guys are so dependent on us. Please feel free everyone to stop by my blog for a new post on Tuesday from old order Mennonite Jean from New york state.In this post she talks about how she prepares for the farmers market, and talks a little about her relationship with the Amish. thanks folks. Richard

bspinner said...

Thanks for the update on Jasmine. I'm so very happy she's doing better and hope she continues to heal.

Mama Pea said...

You truly saved that little goat gal with your natural remedies and love. Do you think she'll eventually work through this mastitis problem that she seems prone to? After all the care and attention you've given her, it would be a shame not to be able to have her as a good milker.

Leigh said...

Bettina, I'm so glad you mentioned Richo Cech's book. I have their catalogue and am wanting to make an order sometime soon. That book was on my list!

Nina, I'm getting such good feedback about the calendula. I will definitely have to make some salve soon.

Evelyn, yes, it is very nice for my skin now that you mention it! I'm very relieved that it's helping Jasmine.

Angie, that's great! I wish I had more time and money to devote to my herb garden. The red clover is definitely something I want to plant.

Michelle, aw shucks. I'm thinking this salve would be helpful for you too, especially if you could add the red clover. I would certainly use it in a heartbeat.

Marissa, she's not producing milk on that side, so I have no way to know exactly what's going on. Thanks for that tidbit about e.coli. It seems more often mastitis is attributed to staph, so a culture would be really the best way to diagnose. I'm curious as to how you treated your doe. We need to share treatments that work!

Pam, so good to hear from you. Thank you for your kind words!

Richard, thanks! Yes, they are so dependent and so trusting. We always tend to animal needs before our own.

Looking forward to Jean's next post!

Barb, thanks. It's a relief she's doing so well.

Mama Pea, well, I recently discovered a small pea size lump in that very teat. It hasn't been there before, so I'm wondering what's going on. More research!

I am hoping to resolve the mastitis completely, but only time will tell on that. She has wonderful milk, so I'd hate to lose that as well.

The Sumerlin Dorper Farm said...

Wow! That is great that the herbs seem to be working, and I am glad that she is doing good! Thanks for the update!

Toni aka irishlas said...

Glad to hear she is doing better. And, you are so right - one day at a time!

Kari said...

I'm glad she is doing so well. Thanks for keeping the Jasmine Fan Club posted. :)

Leigh said...

Christine, I'm so relieved about it too. Improvement continues daily, only now, her udder is hilariously lopsided!

Toni, that's the best way to live life, isn't it?

Thanks Kari!

BrokenRoadFarm said...

That is wonderful news!!


I'm glad she doing better.

Betty Bohemian said...

Glad to hear she's improving. Very informative post!. I think I should try to grow those things next year. BTW, red clover is also used to boost fertility in humans!

Leigh said...

BRF and Bety, thanks!

Betty, I didn't know that about red clover. Good to know. Maybe it works with goats too, LOL.

* Crystal * said...

Poor girl is having one heck of a rough year. :-( I hope her next kidding has a happier outcome...She's a beautiful girl.

Hope a full recovery is in your near future!!

Have you sent a sample to LSU by any chance? Testing is free & they'll even do a sensitivity test for you to let you know before hand what treatment will & won't work. My friend's doe had some issues....she sent in a sample & turns out the treatment the vet prescribed was basically opposite of what she needed.

Not that you need it now as your girl seems to be mending up well, but it may be helpful in the future, if for nothing else to know exactly what your battling with....perhaps as an aide in herbal therapy..

On udder massage.... My girl Sabrina freshened with horrible edema...She had triplets..two does, one still born, insanely tiny buck.

I would take a warm compress hold it in place until cool. Then I would massage with coconut oil mixed with peppermint oil...She LOVED it! When she saw me coming with her "spa kit" she'd hop on the stand & "assume the position" slightly squated, legs back & apart, waiting for her massage. lol

The compresses/peppermint oil along with raspberry leaf & vitamin c orally got her cleared up in no time.... I honestly think she was disappointed when her twice daily "spa time" came to an end.

I still give the girls a coconut oil massage once a week to prevent drying & they LOVE it.

Keep up the awesome work... I'm sure in time your pretty girl will be in tip top shape again thanks to your knowledge, hard work & dedication...Will be watching your blog for updates :-)

* Crystal * said...

Hope it's ok to post links here.....This is all the info you need for sending in a milk sample for free testing (pics included)

I sent in a sample on my Alpine out of paranoia & just sent a note explaining it was a goat, off flavor milk & asked that they do a sensitivity test as well (include email & phone # so you can be contacted with results).

Great folks, very helpful. In my case I just jumped the gun & she still had collostrum in the milk, not an infection.

My vet didn't have the whirl packs for sending in samples & to order online you have to buy a huge box of them....a friend sent me some in the mail... I still have 2 left that I didn't use, so if you need 'em, I'd mail them to you..... it wouldn't put me out anything & they fit in a regular envelope so no charge for me to send them to you if you want them :-)

Leigh said...

Crystal, several folks have told me about the milk sampling, but since she hasn't produced any milk on that side, I can't. Jasmine had udder problems in the past, so if she does freshen again and I get milk, I should definitely check for a chronic problem.

That is so funny about Sabrina. I laughed when I read your description of her and her spa time. Jasmine loves the massage too, but especially the fresh comfrey. She hollers for it!

Thanks for all the great info and the link. I find I learn more from goat owners than the animal science "experts" or even vets. I love both my vets, but I honestly don't have much confidence in their expertise on goats. As I read somewhere else, it really falls on the goat owners to develop the knowledge and skills to attend to the health care of our goats.

Michelle said...

Thanks for the goat & herbals learnin'. I took notes from your experience here to add to my goat files.
I am working on increasing our comfrey growth to be able to dry more for over wintering. The calendula too is a wonderful herbal flower, one that deserves more attention in the gardens here.

Leigh said...

Michelle, I'm working on trying to grow more comfrey too. It has more protein than alfalfa and calcium too, which goats also need to produce milk. I've just started growing calendula, but am impressed with it's usefulness. More of that is on my list as well.