We feared that Liberate lost her quarter last lactation (a month after we purchased her) from edema. When Trish was born, we realized that her quarter was certainly not "dead," being full of milk. However, when we tried to milk it nothing came out. We tried to avoid edema this lactation by feeding grass hay, but she still had a little, and we tried our best to eliminate it quickly.
In the 5 days before we took her to WSU, it didn't get any better despite much massaging, Uddermud, and frequent milking. We took a milk sample to Potlatch vet to make sure it was not Staph. We squirted a mix of essential oils into the teat to prevent mastitis while trying to get rid of the edema. The Smicks loaned us their trailer, and we took her to WSU hoping they could save the quarter. Instead the ultrasound revealed that scar tissue prevented milk from coming out, and there was no mastitis at all to cause swelling/edema; the quarter was just engorged.
When dad suggested to the vet we might cull her, the vet (same vet that did her bowel blockage surgery) said, "I'm in love with her. If at some point you want to get rid of her, WSU does buy dairy animals for students to work with." Dad said we would let them know in July when the grass was done. The vet said to stop milking the quarter and never milk it again and the pressure would cause the milk producing cells to be eliminated (along with any risk of mastitis), and that she may produce nearly as much with three quarters as she would have with four!
She is astonishing us with over 8 gallons of milk per day (she overflowed the bucket with 4.7 gallons in one milking), and we hope it will go up to 10 when she gets on spring grass!
Josh: Founder, father