Caseous Lymphadenitis (CL) is a chronic contagious disease affecting mainly sheep and goats This disease is also called pseudotuberculosis or often “abscesses,” and has been referred to as the curse of the goat industry throughout the world.
The locations shown in the photo are where CL lumps typically appear.
On Feb 11th I noticed a lump just below my doe’s ear and chatted with my livestock owning friends about it. Almost everyone said it was likely CL and the dread built here on the homestead.
A CL abscess that opens, if not properly controlled, will spread the bacteria everywhere. The bacteria then live on surfaces and in the soil for a very long time and will infect other animals later down the road. A goat with CL is a lonely goat, it’s supposed to be quarantined each time an abscess appears and until it has completely healed up. CL is also incurable, although a vaccine for sheep does exist- just not goats. CL is not deadly, just a very big herd management issue as the abscesses continue to return & will need treatment throughout the entire goat’s life.
Since I’ve got two young lambs that we plan to breed, plus a buckling to breed my doe to, the thought of a contagious pathogen inside my doe’s abscess was unsettling.
It took me a week to gather veterinary supplies, to bounce ideas off my livestock mentor and to find a vet to test blood samples for me. My mentor came out and drew blood for disease testing and off the samples went. We waited and watched her lump…
Yesterday, 3/2, I noticed the abscess has begun to lose hair- a tell tale sign that rupture is close. In a panic I harassed my vet for the test results by phone and email. Knowing what we are treating before it opens us seemed ideal to me.
I tested my goats for Q Fever, CAE, CL and Johne’s Disease via blood serum lab testing. We also ran a pregnancy test on my doe, because if she was disease positive, we’d have to get serious about deciding to put her down- or not.
Here is a photo of the abscess on my doe on 3/2- almost a month after it first showed up:
When the call from the vet finally came later in the day it was both a relief and a bummer. All disease testing came back negative- for both goats. The abscess on my doe isn’t Caseous Lymphadenitis (CL), it’s just likely a splinter or something that is working it’s way out of her body.
And she’s still not pregnant…