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p { margin-bottom: 0.08in; } I know there are plenty of ol' goaters out there who already know about milk neck, but I decided to throw in some info about it for some goating newbies. Hope this helps in the future, and happy goating!

Milk Neck: The Unknown Neck Lump
When diagnosing it, they usually call it Caseous Lymphadenitis wrongly. A Caseous Lymphadenitis abscess on the Thymus Gland can actually be "Milk Neck". Milk neck occurs in kids and lambs whose mothers are heavy milkers. It is not a disease, or deformity. It is actually a healthy sign that the lamb/kid getting enough milk (and then some) to sustain itself. It is also mistaken as Bottle Jaw (often mis-spelled as bottlejaw), is characterized by a hardened swelling beneath the jaw (as seen in pictures below) and is most often caused by worms or liver flukes, it can also be seen when a goat or sheep is weak, sick, or becoming ill.



How can you tell if it is Milk Neck and not another health problem?

Milk Neck - If the swelling is soft, is located on the chin/throat, right where the chin and throat meet, and it is a kid/lamb, it is probably Milk Neck. The size of the swelling varies greatly, from barely noticeable, to quite large. It is soft. It is not a hard lump.

Bottle Jaw - If the swelling is further up on the chin, on the jaw, this could be bottle jaw, which is a sign of severe parasite infestation. It is soft. It is not a hard lump. The goat needs to be wormed with a chemical wormer ASAP. If not treated right away, death could result. This usually happens in adults goats, not kids.

Caseous Lymphadenitis - If it is a hard lump, usually about the size of a quarter, and is located in the area of a lymph glad, it could be Caseous Lymphadenitis and you should consider having it looked at by a vet.

Vaccination Abscess - If it is a hard lump and is near a site that recently was the site of a vaccination injection, it could be a vaccination abscess, a reaction to the injection. The bump will go away eventually, but may take up to a year to do so. It also may (or may not) come to a head and burst, but it is not contagious.
Insect Sting- If it is a small hard lump, it could be the result of an insect sting

It is seen this in kids and lambs of all ages, but usually between about 1 - 4 months of age (Some cases are as early as 2 weeks). You usually see it in kids that are nursing their mother, and their mother is a heavy milk producer. Interestingly, Milk Neck occurs mostly in Nubian goats, or goats with Nubian blood, though it is seen on other breeds of dairy and meat goats as well as in many kinds of sheep.
You will probably never meet a vet who has ever heard of anything like Milk Neck in goats or sheep. They will almost always diagnose it as CL or sometimes a goiter (an abnormal enlargment of the thyroid gland). There is no medication a vet can give that will make the Milk Neck go away. Also, since it is most common in Nubians, breeders of other types of goats may not have any have heard of it, or have any experience with it either.
You may ask, "What should I do about Milk Neck?" Nothing, it is fine. The condition is not harmful and it will go away when the mother naturally weans the kid. There is no reason to stress out the kid, and mother, by feeling you must wean to kid. There is no reason to feel you must treat this issue. There are some who say it is caused by an iron deficiency due to lack of iron in the milk, this may or may not be the case, but no long term health problem is caused by it. The kid is fine and the milk neck will go away when the mother weans her kid. You would probably rather get big happy, healthy, well fed kids/lambs with a pudgy neck than smaller, less happy, less healthy kids/lambs with "normal" necks. The kids/lambs with milk neck tend to be the larger kids/lambs, so that goes to show it really is not something you have to worry about.

Premium Member
28,343 Posts
to add to this Ive always heard it called "milk goiter" Its not the same thing as a regular goiter thats because of an iodine deficiency.

So both names are interchangeable for the same "issue"

good information and pictures

Senior Member
2,359 Posts
Oh this was good. Pictures help so much. It does seem to be true about the Nubian influence and Milk goiter(neck) Our nubian mix got the larger milk neck in comparison to the others. All of our babies got this a little bit as the mammas all had been fed well and had rich milk. It truly does go away. Thanks for the information
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