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AASRP Research Summary

Pseudomonas aeruginosa mastitis in goats was also isolated from an essential oil–based teat dip

Date/Time: 9/13/2019    17:45
Author: David J Wilson
Clinic: Utah State University
City, State, ZIP: Logan, UT  84341

Pseudomonas aeruginosa mastitis in goats was also isolated from an essential oil–based teat dip

D.J. Wilson, DVM. MS, PhD, DACVPM 1 ; E.J. Kelly, DVM, DACVPM 1 ;
1Animal, Dairy and Veterinary Sciences, Utah State University, Logan, UT 84322


Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic pathogen that has been associated with mastitis in dairy animals, including goats (Yuan et al., 2017). An outbreak of mastitis in dairy goats was investigated at the Utah Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (UVDL). Identification of the etiologic agent(s) and source of infection was the primary objective.

Materials and Methods:

The previous fall 2 Nubian goats from a herd of 6 hand milked does had clinical mastitis (CM) with blood and clots in milk. Milk was not cultured. Both goats were treated IM with ceftiofur sodium for 3 days and oxytetracycline and florfenicol for 2 days, along with ceftiofur hydrochloride intramammary infusion (IMM) at 2 milkings 24 h apart. A mastitis homeopathic treatment of Bryonia alba, carbo vegetabilis, echinacea, lachesis, laccaninum, Phytolacca decandra, Ruta graveolens, silica, sulfur, alcohol was added at 1mL in drinking water at each milking. The doses of each substance and treatment duration (a few days) were not recorded. The owner stated that both does recovered from CM, but after kidding in April, the somatic cell count (SCC) was tested at 1 and 6 DIM, respectively with a goat SCC kit (Porta SCC goat milk test®); SCC was 3,000,000 cells/mL for both does. The owner then submitted one milk sample from each doe to the UVDL for culture. Teat dip mixed by the owner contained 350 mL tap water, 3 drops soap, and 1 drop each of tea tree oil, peppermint oil, lavender oil, and grape seed extract; other samples including teat dip were requested for culture by UVDL. Culture used National Mastitis Council methods on 5% sheep blood agar and MacConkey agars.


For samples of both goat milks, the teat dip, and a swab of the teat dip container, preliminary biochemical tests and colony morphology were typical of P. aeruginosa, also identified by API 20 NE® testing. Milks from the other 4 does, drinking water, feed, wood shavings bedding, and a swab of the water hose for drinking and udder wash water were all culture-negative for P. aeruginosa. The owner began using a commercial teat dip and culled the 2 positive does. No more mastitis was observed in the herd for the next 2 years.


Because no milk or teat dip cultures were done the previous fall, it is unclear whether the clinical mastitis at that time was caused by P. aeruginosa. It is likely that P. aeruginosa in one or more components of the teat dip caused the outbreak. Sometimes, use of alternative medicine products is driven by a scarcity of approved products for goats or because many commercially available iodine and chlorine-based teat dips are not suitable for organic farming. However, commercial teat dip products are preferable.

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