Signs of a Blocked Goat

Anorexia and bloat were the most common primary clinical complaints from owners! Owners of affected animals frequently misinterpret these clinical signs as being reflective of an acute gastrointestinal disorder.

Prior to veterinary examination, males or castrated males that are suspected to be blocked should be moved to a dry, unbedded area so that urine production can be assessed. The African Pygmy goat may be predisposed to urinary tract obstruction, as this breed had significantly higher representation than other breeds.

Early on, the animal postures repeatedly to urinate, and the tail may be seen to “pump” up and down as the animal strains to void urine. The abdominal musculature may heave with the forceful attempts to void. These forceful voiding attempts may result in frequent passage of small volumes of urine or no urine at all. As bladder distention progresses, the animal may tread, stretch, and kick at its abdomen. Vocalization is common in goats experiencing pain during urination attempts. Blood or crystals may be adhered to the preputial hairs. Prognosis for survival at this point is poor unless aggressive veterinary care is started. Prognosis is guarded unless surgical help is obtained. 

Signs of pain usually subside upon rupture of the bladder or urethra.  The empty bladder is no longer palpable. Anorexia and lethargy progress with these complicating conditions and are accompanied by progressive ascites or ventral abdominal wall edema with bladder or urethral rupture, respectively. Prognosis for survival at this point is grave.

Caseous Lymphadenitis in Sheep and Goats

Reprinted from

Introducing the pathogen

Caseous Lymphadenitis is a bacterial infection that affects lymph nodes of sheep and goats. The bacterium responsible for this disease is Corynobacterium pseudotuberculosis. This bacterium is highly contagious and resilient in the Florida climate. It survives in the soil for months to years even in direct sunlight. This microbe causes the development of lymph node abscesses two weeks after initial exposure in most cases. It can also appear several months after exposure in some animals.

Economic losses associated with CL include death of infected animals, carcass condemnation and loss due to trimming infected areas in the carcass, hide and wool loss, loss of sales for breeding animals, and premature culling of infected animals.

External form

Seen most commonly on goats – Infected lymph node abscesses are visible (enlarged) under the skin. Abscesses can grow to a size of 1-2 inches in diameter. Most commonly, infected animals will have abscessed lymph nodes on the jaw, in front of the shoulder and in the flank.

Eventually the skin surrounding the abscess will break and release thick green and white pus. When this happens, the potential for herd contamination increases dramatically.

Internal form

Lymph nodes deep within the body become infected. The nodes in the thoracic cavity are most commonly involved. Swelling and abscessing of nodes create discomfort to the animal to the point that the animal will start losing weight (in older animals) or slow to minimal weight gain (in younger animals). At slaughter, the carcasses of these animals are condemned.


Caseous lymphadenitis can spread via contact with bodily fluids of infected animals, particularly nasal discharges, which can contaminate surfaces in common areas such as feeders and waterers. Shearing equipment, combs and other tack contaminated with pus from the abscesses can also spread the bacterium. Aside from sheep and goats, this disease can sometimes be transmitted to other farm animals such as horses, cattle, swine, camelids and even deer. It is considered zoonotic as well, since humans can contract it.

Treating CL

Caseous lymphadenitis is not considered a curable disease. Treatment of this disease requires the help of a veterinarian who will design a program to reduce the spread of CL. Culling and isolating infected animals, treating abscesses and the use of antibiotics are key strategies to eliminate this disease from your farm.

Invest in Biosecurity

  • Create a quarantine area on the farm. This area should be used to place new arrivals under observation before releasing them into your herd/flock. Do not share feeders, water troughs and other equipment with general flock equipment.

  • Know what you are purchasing. Screen newly purchased animals for signs of CL. Examine newly purchased animals by looking for previous scarring from healed abscesses around jaw, shoulder and flank regions.
  • Control your fly populations. Flies feed on bodily fluids and can spread CL around the herd/flock.
  • Disinfect equipment that is used for common maintenance – shearing equipment, combs, milking equipment, etc.
  • Vaccinate against CL – the vaccine will not eliminate infections, but will reduce the incidence of abscesses in infected animals.
  • Isolate animals with abscesses until the infection is resolved. Work with your veterinarian on a plan for reentry of infected animals to the general population.
  • Remove barbed wire, nails and other potentially hazardous items from common areas to decrease injury and potential transmission of CL by abscess ruptures.