Abscess - Trueperella pyogenes
By Dr Mackie Hobson BSc(Agric),BVSc

Wednesday, 10th May 2023

(Previously known as Actinomyces pyogenes or Corynebacterium pyogenes)

Trueperella pyogenes – The abscess is soft and develops rapidly, the capsule is not as developed

when compared to Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis (previously C.ovis).

The pus is usually green-yellow or greyish.

Trueperella pyogenes 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. Trueperella most commonly forms abscess in:

  • Mammary glands
  • Foot abscess


  • 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, ‘sitsiekte’. See Video below


  • Liver abscesses in young kids
  • Genital tract – orchitis, epididymitis in rams.
  • Perinatal mortality – often a cause of death (carditis, meningitis, pneumonia as examples)


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. WEAR A MASK and Gloves if these abscess are lanced and flushed.


  • 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 disinfectant spray or solution.
  • 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 (Trueperella) are intracellular bacteria.

Where we have done cultures and sensitivity tests, effective antibiotics that producers can use have been Penicillin (other effective drugs: Enrofoxacin, Chloramphenicol, Coxacillin, Cephalexin)

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)
How to lance and flush an abscess see https://www.angoras.co.za/article/lancing-an-abscess#331



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-

Vaccination intervals:

  • Trueperella vaccine requires 3 vaccinations (2ml s/c for kids and 5ml s/c for adults) at 10-14 day intervals
  • Single booster vaccination 6 months later


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