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CASEOUS LYMPHADENITIS (PICTURES)

By: Gary Pfalzbot
Web Site:GoatWorld
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Caseous Lymphadenitis Picture 1 Caseous Lymphadenitis (commonly referred to as "CL"), is a chronic lymph node abcess that is caused by the organism corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis. (See the article Caseous Lymphadenitis for a full overview including a prescribed procedure for treatment).

As you can see in the picture at the right, the abcess begins to enlarge very noticeably within a short period of time. In my experience thus far with this condition, an abcess will appear nearly overnight. Please note that CL is both an "internal" and "external" condition. This particular example is of an "external" case of CL.

As a person raising goats, or considering raising goats, it is important to know and to be able to identify a CL outbreak. What you can or cannot see may hurt you and your goats. CL is easily spread throughout a healthy herd by the abcess bursting externally, or by internal abcesses bursting and being spread by coughing. It is unknown by this author whether or not CL can be spread by sharing the same feeder area (dependent upon the goat coughing or not).

Caseous Lymphadenitis Picture 3 An external abcess that is ready to burst is notably identified by the hair around the abcess suddenly falling out and balding. It is also currently unknown by this author whether or not the hair and the attached hair follicles will act to spread the CL bacteria. As the abcess enlarges, the goat may or may not display signs of illness depending largely upon the physical location of an abcess.

It is my belief that these external abcesses can be located in areas which may be very dangerous to the goat if an attempt is made to remove the abcess without bursting. This too is perhaps a crucial consideration in managing a CL outbreak. When in doubt, contact a qualified veterinarian for a professional opinion.

There has been recent discussion on several goat groups suggesting that external abcesses may be treated with an injection called "formulin". Formulin is principally an aqueous solution of formaldehyde and methanol. A number of veterinarians I have discussed this with were either reluctant to recommend this procedure of treatment or, had never heard of formulin.

Caseous Lymphadenitis Picture 2 Making the cut is perhaps the most difficult part of tending to the abcess. In the picture at the right, the "x" suggests an ideal incision for properly draining the abcess. Be prepared for the goat to literally climb the walls in pain when you make the incision. It is a good idea to have an assistant close by to help keep the goat secure.

If you have any reservations whatsoever performing the procedure or feel ill at the sight of blood, leave the job for a qualified veterinarian. He or she will have the right tools for the job and can often anesthetize the area where the abcess will be lanced.

Again, this is not a procedure for the weak or faint of heart. It's downright messy.

Caseous Lymphadenitis Picture 4 In the very near future I will be adding pictures of the actual abcess itself -- draining the abcess; bandaging the abcess; follow-up treatment to heal the abcess. These pictures will be very graphic in nature and are meant only as an aid an reference should you try to take on the procedure yourself.

While there is a vaccine for CL, it has not proven effective for goats. I have read that Australia has a vaccine called "Cheezy Vac" which is supposedly effective on goats. While CL continues to be a big problem for goat owners, finding a cure is essential to help the goat industry expand.

The bottom line here is that if you have a goat with CL, it is perhaps best to have that goat put to sleep to help prevent the further spread of CL to other goats. As inhumane as that sounds, it is one way we can help eradicate this petulant disease. Don't fool yourself into thinking that CL will suddenly go away -- it won't. The management of CL is ongoing and will require your time, heart and patience.

Carefully inspect each and every goat that you consider purchasing. CL can also be spread from other species to goats such as sheep to goats, goats to humans, goats to horses, and vice versa. A waiting period is a good preventative measure to take when buying goats from an unknown source. Better yet, purchase your goats from persons whom you know you can trust and where you know the history behind the herd -- including all aspects of feeding, care, health management practices. A little prevention and common sense plus the unity of goat owners world wide will help to control and stamp out the spread of CL.

About the author: Gary Pfalzbot is the webmaster of GoatWorld. He has raised goats over the years, been involved with 4-H (as a young boy) and currently resides near Branson, Missouri where he and his wife Pam raise a few breeds of goats, mainly precipitated for the control of Kudzu vine.

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