Thankfully, it is "sub-clinical", meaning that it is both less uncomfortable for her, and easier for us to treat than "full-blown" mastitis.
She presented with reduced milk supply and increased tenderness upon milking, which made Bill & Liv suspect mastitis. A paper mastitis test strip confirmed their suspicions. To err on the side of caution, we threw out the past two days' milkings. Boy does that suck!
We'd been looking at beginning the dry-off process for our milkers anyway, since they are both likely already pregnant with this spring's kids (on their schedule, not mine - d'oh!) and need to focus their energy into growing babies and keeping a good amount of meat on their bones this winter instead of milk, milk, milk.
So Fritzen is officially drying off now. We will continue to "pump & dump", just to keep the milk from further backing up and clogging the works. We're also treating her with an udder balm and teat dips, and will be talking to our vet for further instruction with regard to either treating her with injectable antibiotics and/or orifice flushing.
It's kind of insane, the sort of stuff that you end up having to do with and for livestock that is soooo beyond the scope of what you'd normally think of doing for a "pet". Giving intramuscular injections, for one. We had to give Chardonnay i.m. antibiotics last January, right after we first bought her, because she had a severe case of hoof rot. That was awful. Thank God for Bill being tough enough to do what had to be done, because I don't know if I could have.
That was a particularly tough case anyway, being that she was a) new to us, b) weeks away from delivering twins and c) didn't have a lot of muscle in which to insert the needle. The poor lass was not in great shape at all when we first got her, but we managed to help her find her way back to health, and learned a heck of a lot about veterinary medicine in the process.
Hopefully Fritzen's health hiccup will be nowhere near as serious, but we're prepared to do whatever we have to to make our girlie well and comfortable again.