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goat health

Goat Health Conditions and Caseous Lymphadenitis

Goat Health

Caseous Lymphadenitis is a common bacterial infection in goats that is sometimes referred to as "abscesses" because a main symptom of the condition is pus-filled abscesses that appear on the animal's body near lymph nodes. Watch for signs of Caseous Lymphadenitis to diagnose for early treatment.

What is Caseous Lymphadenitis in Goats?
Caseous Lymphadenitis is caused by Corynobacterium pseudo tuberculosis. Caseous Lymphadenitis is spread among goats through physical contact of both open and closed wounds on the body or through cross-contamination of livestock grooming equipment such as brushes and clippers. Pus from the abscesses can also contaminate the barnyard environment, and feed, fence posts, feeders or other structures with which livestock may come into contact should be disinfected before healthy livestock is introduced back into these areas.

Symptoms of Caseous Lymphadenitis in goats include:

  • Abscesses on the animal's body that may or may not be oozing thick, green pus.
  • Enlargement of one or more superficial lymph node, or lymph nodes that are close to the surface of the skin, such as the parotid followed by prescapular.
  • Internal abscesses can also develop, leading to further health issues.

If you think your goat has contracted Caseous Lymphadenitis, contact your veterinarian for further diagnosis. A trained vet can look for subcutaneous swelling in the area of the lymph node. Herds with a history of Caseous Lymphadenitis are at an increased risk for developing new cases of the infection.

How to Treat Caseous Lymphadenitis in Goats
If your goat has been diagnosed with Caseous Lymphadenitis, isolate the animal from the rest of the herd and screen the entire goat herd for the infection to ensure you have quarantined additional infectious animals.

Abscesses are usually lanced and flushed with diluted disinfectants. If you are an inexperienced goat owner, it is advisable to get the assistance of a veterinarian to perform this procedure. Caseous Lymphadenitis is known to be enzootic, or an infection that is able to remain in a population without the aid of external factors. This means that the spread of Caseous Lymphadenitis can be caused easily by humans who have handled infected animals. Use great caution when handling animals known to be infected with Caseous Lymphadenitis to ensure you do not inadvertently spread the infection to healthy animals.

Once the abscesses have been cleaned, the pus should be destroyed and the goat should be isolated from the herd for 20 - 30 days.

Cull animals with multiple abscesses and stop purchasing animals from infected herds to eradicate Caseous Lymphadenitis. A vaccine for Caseous Lymphadenitis is available; however it should be used as a last resort due to the side effects it causes to animals.