Female urogenital surgery

How to – Goat Mastectomy

Indications

Udders may be removed to treat chronic mastitis, tumors, injury and suspensory ligament breakdown. Bovine udder amputations are a referral procedure. Goats can readily be managed in the field.

Relevant anatomy

The udder is suspended from the flank and via the median suspensory ligament rather than being attached to the ventral body wall.  It is well vascularized by the large pudendal vessels in the inguinal area.

Preoperative management

Food restrictions:

Ruminants should be held off feed for 48 hours. This procedure is performed in dorsal recumbency and will take some time; minimizing bloating is important.

NSAIDs/analgesics:

Preoperative NSAIDs are recommended.

Antibiotics:

Antibiotics are not generally needed required but a preoperative dose may be recommended if contamination is likely.

Local blocks:

An epidural or pudendal block might be helpful but may not be easy to perform.

Position/preparation:

Dorsal recumbency under general anesthesia.

Surgery Supplies: 

  • Standard surgery pack
  • 0 and 2-0 absorbable suture for ligatures
  • 0 suture for skin (cutting needle)
  • stents for mattress sutures
  • stent for seroma management (optional)
  • Assistant to manipulate the udder (optional)

Surgical procedure

  • A fusiform incision is a made through the skin, midway up the udder and oriented along the long axis of the patient.
    • This will help ensure enough skin for closure
  • The skin is dissected off the udder down to the inguinal area.
  • Using careful blunt dissection, the udder is lifted off the body wall. Vessels are double ligated as identified.
  • Once the udder is removed, the skin is closed if possible. Mattress sutures with stents may be necessary and drainage holes or drains should be included. If closure isn’t possible, the deeper tissues are tacked to the body wall and the wound left open.
  • A rolled towel can be sutured to the wound to apply pressure and minimize seroma formation.

Postoperative care

  • Stall rest; minimal exercise
  • NSAIDs for 3 days
  • Suture removal in 10-14 day

Complications

  • Dehiscence is relatively common but is a minor issue.

Videos

Resources

Mastectomy in 25 small ruminants (2002-2019). Veterinary Surgery. 2021;50:104–110.

License

Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

Large Animal Surgery - Supplemental Notes by Erin Malone, DVM, PhD; Elaine Norton, DVM PhD; Erica Dobbs, DVM; and Ashley Ezzo, DVM is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.