I put Ruma on the stanchion one morning, as per usual, and knelt down to milk.
“Wait- blood? Fresh blood? Where is it- oh wow… Ew.“
She had somehow snagged her teat on something and tore it clean open, nearly 2 inches long. A very unsettling mixture of blood and milk was weeping out of the gash. Gross. Super gross.
So I milked out her good side, trying not to look at the wound too closely for my own stomach’s sake. I went home and pondered what to do. I ended up making a lard salve with usnea, comfrey, and holy basil in it. Every day, and throughout the days, I slathered the torn teat with the salve to help keep debris out of it. The blood and milk wept from it for a few days.
The poor girl was so full on that side of her udder that walking was becoming painful for her. We couldn’t touch the teat without the wound totally opening again. It was healing nicely but the scab wasn’t very strong. So at each milking we gently compressed her udder. Milk would shoot out of her teat (in a normal, natural fashion) and bring her some level of relief. We did not squeeze or compress too much for fear of bruising or injuring her udder.
It took about 7 days for the teat to close up firmly enough to gently milk her. Infection never set in. I kept the teat slathered in salve constantly. Once it was healed enough (gentle trial and error), I milked very carefully with the wound firmly covered by my palm to keep the milk’s pressure from focusing on that point and breaking her scab open. She flinched and kicked now and again, but the relief of being milked out overpowered the discomfort of the wound.
Within 2 weeks we were milking normally again. She had some scar tissue in the teat for awhile that restricted the milk’s flow. I gently massaged it at each milking to help break it up.
Surprisingly she did not reduce her milk production at all from the injury. She made a complete recovery with no lasting damage to her teat.