Abscess in Angora Goats
By Dr Mackie Hobson BSc(Agric),BVSc

Thursday, 20th October 2016

How does an Angora goat develop an abscess?

The infection that causes the abscess must come through a break in the defence system usually through the skin or mucosa. https://www.angoras.co.za/article/foot-abscess-sweerklou

Where do these abscess’ form?

  • Hooves/pasterns as in the case of ‘Sweerklou’. These develop from a break in the skin between the hooves by ticks or from abrasions when sinking into soft soil after rain. Penetrations from thorn/sharp objects may also lead to abscess development. See Foot abscess ‘Sweerklou’


  • Mammary glands
  • Often at sites of tick bites
  • Central nervous system- In goats the pituitary abscess syndrome is most common. The clinical signs can resemble ’heartwater’ without a fever.
  • Treatment is not effective.
  • Gastro-intestinal tract- especially secondary to ‘nodular worm’. Dosing gun injuries. Grass seed penetrations or gastric ulcers.
  • Regional lymph nodes draining the break in skin.


  • Respiratory and cardiovascular systems- a chronic purulent pneumonia and abscess formation can develop.
  • Skeletal system – purulent arthritis, spinal abscesses where posterior paresis will develop (‘sitsiekte’)
  • Liver abscesses from umbilical infections and young kids or older goats from gastric ulcers.
  • Perinatal mortality – often a cause of death (carditis, meningitis, pneumonia as examples)
  • Genital tract – orchitis, epididymitis in rams.
  • The side of the face, below ear and jaw.
    These develop from the mucosa and the skin around face and lips being damaged by
    thorns/sticks when browsing.


What are the common offending bacteria?

The most common causes of the abscess formation are:

  1. Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis (Previously called Corynebacterium ovis )

  2. Trueperella pyogenes (Previously called Corynebacterium pyogenes) seen in the lung, spleen
    and pastern below. Also see https://www.angoras.co.za/article/abscess-trueperella-


    Truepernella can also be the cause of spinal abscess as seen in the goat ram in the video https://www.angoras.co.za/application/storage/upload/trueperella_pyogenes.mp4
  3. Escherichia coli (E.coli) derived from the umbilicus or gastro-intestinal tract. Photo of a liver where angora goat rams on concentrate feed developed multiple liver abscess as in the photo below. Also see https://www.angoras.co.za/article/escherichia-coli-ecoli

  4. Proteus and Moraxella spp. cultured from lung abscess below


  5. Rhodococcus equi as seen in the liver below


How long does an abscess take to develop?

Abscess formation may take as long as 25-140 days (Corynebactrium) to develop. There are no obvious clinical signs but goats with large number of abscess will show weight loss and weakness

What do the different abscess look like?

  • Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis - thick semi-fluid yellow-white to green-white pus. Chronic abscess are surrounded by a well-developed capsule which can lead to an onion ring appearance.
  • Trueperella pyogenes – abscess is soft when compared to Corynebacterium and develop rapidly and the capsule is not as developed. The pus is usually green-yellow or greyish.

The different bacterial abscess can be determined by bacterial culture.

How long can the bacteria survive that causes the abscess?

Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis as an example can survive on floors for 10 days and for months and even more than a year in debris of hay or bedding. The organism can survive in dipping fluids for over a day.


It is important to ensure that there is no environmental contamination of sheds, pens, kraals, dipping tanks or clothing from contaminated faeces or discharge from abscesses.

Even inhalation may lead to lung abscess and ingestion of infected material has been reported to be the cause of mandibular abscess in goats.

Do not contaminate the environment when lancing and flushing superficial abscesses.


  • Treat ticks
  • Shed floors should be disinfected with 3% formalin a week before shearing.
  • Shear young goats first as usually have no abscess
  • Treat shearing wounds with antibiotic spray
  • Disinfect shears with 3-5% formalin
  • Supply shearers with clean overalls
  • Goats should not be dipped until shearing wounds have healed. (3-5 days)
  • Add Zinc sulphate to dip (1kg/1000litres)
  • Under intensive conditions disinfect umbilicus of kids after birth with antibiotic sprays.
  • Tick control
  • Infected goats act as a reservoir of infection culling infected goats is advisable.
  • Take care when dosing goats


In valuable goats the abscess can be removed surgically (in valuable animals) or lanced.

See how to lance an abscess https://www.angoras.co.za/article/lancing-an-abscess

It is important that infected material be burned. The effectiveness of antibiotics is limited due to the capsule surrounding the abscess.

See foot abscess treatment https://www.angoras.co.za/article/foot-abscess-sweerklou


Vaccination should only be considered when all attempts have been made to rule out the predisposing factors. Vaccination will not cure the problem but help reduce the occurrence.

Out of interest see the trial in the control of food abscess at. https://www.angoras.co.za/page/foot-


  • Glanvac requires 2 vacs 4 weeks apart and then annual booster
  • Actinomyces vaccine requires 3 vaccinations (2ml s/c for kids and 5ml s/c for adults) at 10- 14 day intervals
  • Corynebacterium vaccine requires 2 injections (2ml s/c) a month apart. Single booster vaccination 6 months later

Be aware that abscess formation can sometimes occur at the site of vaccination

© SA Mohair Growers - 2023 | Links | Abscess in Angora Goats

Website Design and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) by ZAWebs Designs | Web Hosting by ZAWebs Hosting