Swollen Joints in Angora goats
By Dr Mackie Hobson BSc(Agric),BVSc

Wednesday, 13th March 2019

Swollen joints in both young kids and adults can have different causes.

  1. Joint-ill in young kids is not an uncommon problem in kidding pens and lands but can also occur under veld conditions. Usually bacteria entering the umbilicus soon after birth which often localises and forms abscess in the liver or joints.

However any wound such as ear tag placing, tail docking, castration, tick bites, shearing wounds or grass seeds can allow entry of the bacteria which may include Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, E.Coli, Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis,  Haemophilus, Mycoplasma haemolytica, T. pyogenes.

See the SAMGA website https://www.angoras.co.za/article/joint-ill-angora-kids#251

  1. Chlamydia (enzootic abortion) which can cause septic arthritis of the joints.

See the SAMGA website https://www.angoras.co.za/page/abortion-enzootic-abortion#144

  1. Post dipping lameness

Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae may be implicated as the cause of septic arthritis although any of the bacteria causing joint ill may be implicated post dipping. Usually associated with shearing injuries. Erysipolothrix rhusiopathiae is usually sensitive to penicillin.

Swollen joints must not be confused with ‘swelling disease’ in goats when often the distil limbs are swollen (oedema).


  • Aspirate septic arthritis for culture
  • Blood samples for Chlamydia (if any abortions samples for histopath and culture).


Treatment can be frustrating in longstanding infections as antimicrobial treatment is less effective in encapsulated abscesses and joints.

While awaiting results - treatment with Terramycin or Engemycin as a broad spectrum antibiotic and an anti-inflammatory may be used.


  • Hygiene- Prevent the spread and contamination- abscess burst such as in shearing sheds, kraals (races).
  • Prevent wounds
  • Disinfect the navels of young kids soon after birth
  • If the problem is identified and vaccination advised by your vet then Vaccines against T.pyogenes, C.pseudotuberculosis and Enzootic abortion can be given.
  • In some cases these animals may need to be culled.


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