Abscess in Angora Goats

Thursday, 20th October 2016

Abscess in Angora Goats

Abscess formation in Angora goats is not an uncommon finding.

The infection that causes the abscess must come through a break in the defence system usually through the skin or mucosa.

What are the offending bacteria?

The most common causes of the abscess formation are:

  1. Corynebacterium ovis now called Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis
  2. Corynebacterium pyogenes later called Actinomyces pyogenes and Acranobacterium pyogenes now called  Trueperella pyogenes

Abscess formation can however be caused by a number of bacteria such as 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.

(photo cut section of the liver demonstrating the abscess’).






Appearance of abscess


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


Corynebacterium - thick semi-fluid yellow-white to green-white pus is formed. Chronic abscess are surrounded by a well-developed capsule which can lead to an onion ring appearance.

Actinomyces – 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.


C.pseudotuberculosis usually occurs in lymph nodes which drain the area of penetration.


Sites of the common lymph nodes where Corynebacterium abscess may be seen.

The different bacterial abscess can be determined by bacterial culture.


  1. Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis (Cornebacterium ovis)

The abscesses are also called caseous lymphadenitis or cheesy gland and is characterised by abscess formation in one or more glands but can in rare cases cause pneumonia, hepatitis, mastitis, orchitis, arthritis and perinatal deaths.

The chronic and debilitating nature of the disease  will lead to poor hair production and poor reproduction


 Bacterial survival

The bacteria 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.




  1. Actinomyces pyogenes (Trupenella pyogenes)


Actinomyces is normally found on the mucosal surface of healthy animals. Damage to tissue is required to establish infections. Abscess may occur in nearly every organ. Most commonly form abscess in:

  • 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.
  • Skin and regional lymph nodes
  • Respiratory and cardiovascular systems- a chronic purulent pneumonia and abscess formation as seen in the angora goat lungs below.
  • Skeletal system – purulent arthritis, spinal abscesses where posterior paresis will develop and ‘sitsiekte’
  • Liver abscesses in young kids
  • Perinatal mortality – often a cause of death (carditis, meningitis, pneumonia as examples)
  • Genital tract – orchitis, epididymitis in rams.





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.  


  • 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 or lanced.

It is important that infected material be burned. The effectiveness of antibiotics is limited due to the capsule surrounding the abscess and the fact that the bacteria (Corynebactrium) are intracellular.

Don’t lance abscess inside sheds as contamination likely.

Abscess after lancing and flushed with providone iodine, hydrogen peroxide or chlorhexidine. (also see Foot abscess treatment on our web page)



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-abscess-sweerklou-trial#133


Vaccination intervals:

  • 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


Approximate costs (exl VAT) April 2015


Bottle (100ml)

Cost Per adult goat initial course

Cost per kid

Initial course

Booster cost












© SA Mohair Growers - 2022 | Links | Abscess in Angora Goats

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