Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention Tips

Whenever I am sick, I notice that my lymph nodes swell. It doesn’t matter if I have a sore throat, the flu, or the common cold. Like clockwork, whenever I’m feeling under the weather, my lymph nodes become swollen and tender.

It’s not just us humans who have these types of lymph nodes. In fact, sheep and goats also have them. As in humans, lymph nodes on goats and sheep play an important role in the immune system. They help store white blood cells and filter out foreign particles to signal infection.

Sheep and goats have lymph nodes in other areas of the body, such as in the abdomen.

In a healthy sheep, these lymph nodes will be smooth and clear. However, sheep that are suffering from a bacterial infection called caseous lymphadenitis, often abbreviated as CL, may have lymph nodes that are abscessed and scarred.

The disease can cause serious problems in herds – although it is still relatively uncommon in North America, it is important to keep an eye on it so that you can take action if needed.

What is caseous lymphadenitis?

CL is a chronic infection of both goats and sheep caused by a specific type of bacteria called Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis. This bacteria causes abscesses in the externally found lymph nodes on the abdomen and neck.

However, it can cause abscesses internally, including in the kidney, liver, udder, and lungs.

As you might expect, these boils can cause serious health problems. The bacteria is easily spread from animal to animal, making it a contagious disease that can be difficult to defeat.

CL is easily transmitted from animal to animal and the bacteria can survive for a long time on untreated surfaces. As boils get bigger, they burst, and bacteria spread. Nasal discharge can also spread bacteria.

Caseous lymphadenitis is potentially transmitted to humans, although not much research has been done on the effects of CL on people. Just make sure you wear protective clothing and gloves whenever you work with an animal that is suspected of having CL.

Symptoms of Caseous Lymphadenitis

Animals become infected with the disease when the bacteria enter through mucous membranes in the nose, eyes and mouth, or through an open wound. Since symptoms take 2-6 months to appear, it can be difficult for farmers to determine when and how their sheep were infected.

The first symptoms, which are usually swollen lymph nodes, appear in the neck and head, although this is not always the case. Swelling is more common in these areas because head injuries are most likely to occur as an animal fights with its mates, gets splashed from a wooden hay feeder, and so on.

Again, the disease is even more difficult to treat because whenever a sheep or goat lays its head (with a drainage abscess) against something else—be it a feeder or some other animal—the fluid from the boil. Bacteria can spread.

As the lesions in the lymph nodes get larger, pus will begin to drain from the abscess, usually yellow, white, or brown in color. These abscesses can cause serious damage to normal, healthy tissue and lead to secondary symptoms such as difficulty eating, breathing, and chewing.

Other symptoms vary depending on where the abscess is found on the sheep’s body. For example, if your sheep has multiple lung abscesses, symptoms such as shortness of breath and loss of appetite may occur.

How to prevent caseous lymphadenitis

There are several ways you can prevent CL from destroying your flock. here are some tips.

1. Vaccination

The easiest and most effective way to prevent CL is to vaccinate your flock. Unfortunately, in the US there is only one vaccine available for goats. Vaccines for sheep are available in Canada but not in the US. This vaccine should not be used on goats as it can cause serious side effects.

2. In-depth inspection

The good news about CL is that it doesn’t always prove fatal. This disease is very common in goat herds (it is less common in sheep). A study from Quebec examined more than 150 goats and found that CL abscesses were found in about a quarter of all animals, but only about 4% of all animals died.

That said, sheep are more vulnerable, with infection and morbidity rates reaching 50%, especially in older herds. Once infected, even if asymptomatic, an animal is a carrier for life.

Many times, an animal will not show any symptoms with only abscess formation being internal. In sheep, boils are more likely to form internally rather than externally, while goats do the opposite.

Regular inspection can help you rule out the presence of CL-causing bacteria in the herd. If you have a vulva with an external abscess, there is a good chance that many people will have an abscess internally or externally.

This is especially important when introducing new animals. Check them carefully for signs of infection. Regardless of what you get, keep them separate for at least 30 days to make sure they’re healthy.

3. Cleaning

Aside from the vaccination schedule, cleaning is the next best thing you can do to prevent CL. Make sure your stalls, barns, trailers and all equipment are clean and sanitized as often as possible to prevent the spread of bacteria.

4. Rotate Pasture

If you have CL, rotate your pastures. Boils often burst on their own and leak bacteria onto the soil or grass. Because of this you must move your animals to new land to be completely safe. CL bacteria can survive in soil for up to 8 months.

How to treat caseous lymphadenitis

Effectively treating CL begins with a proper diagnosis. If you suspect this disease you should seek the help of a veterinarian. In general, if there is a history of CL in the herd or herd, it is enough to assume that the disease is making your animals sick. If there is no history, a biopsy of an abscess may be sent to a laboratory for testing.

1. Blood Test

Before treating your sheep or goat for CL, your veterinarian will order blood tests. This is the best way to tell if there is a CL infection, especially if it is early and the abscesses have not yet formed. If an animal you have is infected and is showing symptoms, you can order a blood test to identify the infection in other animals in the herd or herd as well.

2. Quarantine

Since CL is so contagious, you will need to quarantine all infected individuals during treatment. This can help prevent infection from entering the herd. Of course, you’ll also need to practice good biosafety – for example, changing shoes when you go between barns, regularly cleaning all equipment and stalls, and feeding infected animals last in rotation. lives.

Disinfection and sterilization are important when it comes to eradicating this disease. It is so contagious and difficult to treat that hygiene is important.

3. Avoid breeding

It does not cure CL, but it can help reduce the spread. If you have animals that are known to have CL, do not allow them to breed. It can reduce close contact and also prevent transmission of bacteria to young animals through milk. This is rare but has been known to happen.

4. Removal of boils

Since the main symptom and complaint of CL is abscess, one of the simplest ways to treat this disease is to surgically drain or drain the abscess. If you decide to do this, plan to isolate your sheep or goat for at least 20-30 days, as this will spread bacteria until the abscess is completely healed.

If you’re thinking about draining the abscess completely – rather than just draining it – don’t attempt to do so unless you’re under the supervision of a vet or someone. In most cases, your animal will need to be anesthetized.

Antibiotics for CL?

Unfortunately, unlike most bacterial diseases that can happen to your sheep, CL does not respond well to most antibiotics. There are very few studies on CL in goats and sheep, especially when it comes to the dosage, type and time of withdrawal for various antibiotics.

Do not try to use an antibiotic to get rid of this disease as it may increase the chances of antibiotic resistance. This can have devastating effects if and when you eventually need to treat your flock for another disease. Does Respond well to antibiotics.

Instead, choose one or several of the prevention and treatment methods for CL listed above. This will help you keep your animals healthy without any new problems.

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