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caseous lymphadenitis

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caseous lymphadenitis

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 14 July 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Animal Disease
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • caseous lymphadenitis
  • Overview
  • Caseous lymphadenitis (CLA) is a chronic contagious disease of sheep, goats and cattle caused by Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis with the incidence of disease increasing with age (

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Caseous lymphadenitis involving the parotid lymph node in a ram.
TitleSymptoms
CaptionCaseous lymphadenitis involving the parotid lymph node in a ram.
CopyrightPhilip R Scott
Caseous lymphadenitis involving the parotid lymph node in a ram.
SymptomsCaseous lymphadenitis involving the parotid lymph node in a ram.Philip R Scott

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • caseous lymphadenitis

International Common Names

  • English: caseous lymphadenitis in goats and sheep; caseous lymphadenitis in sheep and goats; corynebacteriosis; corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis infection in cattle; equine ulcerative lymphangitis; lymphadenitis, caseous; lymphangitis, ulcerative; pseudotuberculosis; ulcerative lymphangitis; ulcerative lymphangitis in horses and ruminants

English acronym

  • CL
  • CLA

Overview

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Caseous lymphadenitis (CLA) is a chronic contagious disease of sheep, goats and cattle caused by Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis with the incidence of disease increasing with age (Kimberling, 1988). The disease is distributed worldwide and characterized by suppurative necrotizing inflammation of superficial lymph nodes particularly the parotid, submandibular, pop-liteal, pre-crural, and pre-scapular lymph nodes (Kimberling, 1988; Zaitoun and Ali, 1999). This form of the disease is often referred to as the cutaneous or superficial form of CLA. Spread of infection to the mediastinal and bronchial lymph nodes and internal viscera including lungs, spleen, kidneys, and liver constitutes the visceral or internal form of CLA. Economic losses result from poor performance including reduced milk and wool production (Paton et al., 1994), weight loss (Davis, 1996), carcass condemnation (Kimberling, 1988) and restricted trade. C. pseudotuberculosis also affects horses, cattle, camels, and wild ruminants in some countries. Rarely, humans handling infected sheep on farms or in slaughter plants may develop regional lymphadenitis. Ulcerative lymphangitis is the term classically used to describe cuticular manifestations of C. pseudotuberculosis, although it may also be less commonly caused by other bacteria.

Hosts/Species Affected

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Caseous lymphadenitis (CLA) is a chronic contagious disease of sheep, goats and cattle. C. pseudotuberculosis also affects horses, camels and wild ruminants in some countries.

Distribution

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The disease is prevalent in many countries worldwide. Details can be found on the distribution map.

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes

Asia

AzerbaijanNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
BahrainDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
BhutanDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Brunei DarussalamNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
ChinaPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-Hong KongDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
-SichuanWidespreadHuang and Zhang, 1995
-YunnanWidespreadPang et al., 1996
Georgia (Republic of)Disease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
IndiaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
IndonesiaDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
IranDisease not reportedKeyvanfar and Ghadimi, 1995; OIE Handistatus, 2005
IraqNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
IsraelReported present or known to be presentSteinman et al., 1999; OIE Handistatus, 2005
JapanNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
-HokkaidoWidespreadZhao et al., 1991
JordanDisease not reportedAl and Al, 2000; OIE Handistatus, 2005
KazakhstanDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Korea, DPRDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Korea, Republic ofDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
KuwaitDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
LebanonNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
Malaysia
-Peninsular MalaysiaDisease not reportedBahaman et al., 1989; OIE Handistatus, 2005
-SabahDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
-SarawakDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
MongoliaDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
MyanmarNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
NepalNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
OmanDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
PhilippinesDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
QatarDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Saudi ArabiaReported present or known to be presentRadwan et al., 1989; OIE Handistatus, 2005
SingaporeDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Sri LankaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
SyriaDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
TaiwanDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
TajikistanNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
ThailandDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
TurkeyNo information availableErganis et al., 1990; OIE Handistatus, 2005
TurkmenistanNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
United Arab EmiratesNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
UzbekistanDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
VietnamDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
YemenNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005

Africa

AlgeriaNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
AngolaNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
BeninNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
BotswanaNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
Burkina FasoNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
BurundiDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
CameroonReported present or known to be presentNfi and Ndi, 1994; OIE Handistatus, 2005
Cape VerdeNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
Central African RepublicDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
ChadNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
Congo Democratic RepublicDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Côte d'IvoireDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
DjiboutiDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
EgyptNo information availableMubarak et al., 1999; OIE Handistatus, 2005
EritreaDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
GhanaDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
GuineaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Guinea-BissauNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
KenyaNo information availableKuria and Ngatia, 1990; OIE Handistatus, 2005
LibyaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
MadagascarDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
MalawiNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
MaliNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
MauritiusDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
MoroccoNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
MozambiqueNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
NamibiaDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
NigeriaNo information availableAmeh and Adekeye, 1994; OIE Handistatus, 2005
RéunionNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
RwandaNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
Sao Tome and PrincipeNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
SenegalNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
SeychellesNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
SomaliaNo information availableAbdirahman and Abdi, 1988; OIE Handistatus, 2005
South AfricaNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
Spain
-Canary IslandsPresentReal et al., 1992
SudanDisease not reportedIbrahim et al., 1998; OIE Handistatus, 2005
SwazilandDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
TanzaniaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
TogoDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
TunisiaDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
UgandaDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
ZambiaNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
ZimbabweDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005

North America

BermudaDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
CanadaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
-AlbertaWidespreadStanford et al., 1998
-OntarioWidespreadMenzies and Muckle, 1989
MexicoDisease not reportedRobles et al., 1992; OIE Handistatus, 2005
USAReported present or known to be presentOIE Handistatus, 2005
-CaliforniaPresentMadewell et al., 1990

Central America and Caribbean

BarbadosDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
BelizeNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
British Virgin IslandsDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Cayman IslandsDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Costa RicaNo information availableAmerongen et al., 1988; OIE Handistatus, 2005
CubaDisease not reportedRuíz et al., 1995; OIE Handistatus, 2005
CuraçaoDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
DominicaDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Dominican RepublicNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
El SalvadorNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
GuadeloupeNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
GuatemalaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
HaitiDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
HondurasDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
JamaicaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
MartiniqueNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
NicaraguaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
PanamaDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Saint Kitts and NevisDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Trinidad and TobagoDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005

South America

ArgentinaDisease not reportedArrigo et al., 1993; OIE Handistatus, 2005
BoliviaDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
BrazilDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
-CearaPresentSanta et al., 1989
-Minas GeraisPresentGarcia et al., 1987
-Rio de JaneiroWidespreadLangenegger et al., 1991
-Rio Grande do SulPresentRibeiro, 1994
-Sao PauloPresentGarcia et al., 1987
ChileDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
ColombiaNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
EcuadorDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Falkland IslandsDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
French GuianaNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
GuyanaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
ParaguayNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
PeruDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
UruguayDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
VenezuelaDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005

Europe

AndorraNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
AustriaNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
BelarusDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
BelgiumNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
Bosnia-HercegovinaNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
BulgariaDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
CroatiaNo information availableRadojcic-Prodanova et al., 1991; OIE Handistatus, 2005
CyprusDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Czech RepublicDisease not reportedLiterák et al., 1999; OIE Handistatus, 2005
DenmarkNo information availablePépin et al., 1989; OIE Handistatus, 2005
EstoniaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
FinlandLast reported2000OIE Handistatus, 2005
FranceReported present or known to be presentOIE Handistatus, 2005
GermanyDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
GreeceDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
HungaryLast reported1993OIE Handistatus, 2005
IcelandDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
IrelandDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Isle of Man (UK)Disease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
ItalyNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
JerseyDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
LatviaLast reported1947OIE Handistatus, 2005
LiechtensteinDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
LithuaniaDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
LuxembourgDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
MacedoniaDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
MaltaLast reported2001OIE Handistatus, 2005
MoldovaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
NetherlandsReported present or known to be presentLaak et al., 1988; OIE Handistatus, 2005
NorwayNo information availableHolstad, 1988; OIE Handistatus, 2005
PolandDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
PortugalDisease not reportedRibeiro et al., 1988; OIE Handistatus, 2005
RomaniaDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Russian FederationDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
SlovakiaDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
SloveniaDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
SpainDisease not reportedRedondo et al., 1988; OIE Handistatus, 2005
SwedenNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
SwitzerlandNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
UKNo information availableScott et al., 1997; OIE Handistatus, 2005
-Northern IrelandDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
UkraineDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Yugoslavia (former)No information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro)No information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005

Oceania

AustraliaReported present or known to be presentPaton, 1997; OIE Handistatus, 2005
-Western AustraliaWidespreadPaton et al., 1996
French PolynesiaDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
New CaledoniaDisease not reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
New ZealandDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
SamoaNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005
VanuatuDisease never reportedOIE Handistatus, 2005
Wallis and Futuna IslandsNo information availableOIE Handistatus, 2005

Pathology

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The disease is characterized by the lamellar (‘onion-ring’) appearance of affected lymph nodes containing yellow-green viscous pus, which may become inspissated with a toothpaste-like consistency. Carcass lymph nodes may be 15 cm in diameter. Abscesses in superficial lymph nodes may rupture and discharge huge numbers of bacteria into the environment. In the lungs, there may be localized pleurisy associated with lesions involving the visceral pleura.

Histologically, there is massive infiltration of polymorphonuclear leucocytes into the lymph nodes.

Diagnosis

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Sheep with the superficial form of CLA may show no clinical signs of illness unless enlargement of the abscess causes compression of the pharynx, larynx or other structure, impairing function. Although laboratory examinations of affected sheep may reveal increased white-blood-cell counts, elevated fibrinogen and globulin concentrations, these parameters indicate only an inflammatory response to infection and are not specific for CLA lesions.

The characteristic location of lesions within drainage lymph nodes differentiates CLA infection from abscesses and cellulitis lesions. Skin tumours and lympho-sarcoma are rare in sheep. Flock history may be important in forming a provisional diagnosis. Definitive diagnosis of the cutaneous form of CLA is based upon careful clinical examination of suspected cases and culture of C. pseudotuberculosis from discharging lymph nodes.

The visceral form of CLA is commonly associated with the ‘thin ewe syndrome’ with lesions in the lungs, mediastinum, liver, and kidneys (Kimberling, 1988). Less common sites are the vertebral column, udder, and scrotum. Large lung and mediastinal lesions may result in dyspnoea and this form of the disease is common in the USA where affected sheep are referred to as ‘lungers’.

CLA lesions in the liver and superficial lesions involving the visceral pleura may be imaged using ultrasonography. Within the lung and mediastinum they may be imaged by radiography. Liver-specific enzymes will only identify the occurrence of a hepatic insult not the cause. Samples can be collected at necropsy from suspicious lesions.

There is a humoral response to the C. pseudotuberculosis exotoxin and this forms the basis for serological testing. A seropositive result indicates exposure to the exotoxin and may indicate active infection; however, severely debilitated animals may yield a false negative result. Vaccinated animals will be seropositive and may lead to an erroneous conclusion especially in purchased sheep with an unknown vaccination history.

The differential diagnosis list should include actinobacillosis and tuberculosis. Common causes of chronic ill-thrift in adult sheep include restricted nutrition, poor dentition, chronic parasitism, paratuberculosis, maedi-visna virus infection, sheep pulmonary adenomatosis, chronic suppurative processes, and tumours of the gastrointestinal tract.

List of Symptoms/Signs

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SignLife StagesType
Digestive Signs / Anorexia, loss or decreased appetite, not nursing, off feed Sheep & Goats:All Stages Sign
Digestive Signs / Diarrhoea Sheep & Goats:All Stages Sign
Digestive Signs / Dysphagia, difficulty swallowing Sign
General Signs / Exercise intolerance, tires easily Sheep & Goats:Mature female,Sheep & Goats:Breeding male Sign
General Signs / Fever, pyrexia, hyperthermia Sign
General Signs / Fever, pyrexia, hyperthermia Sign
General Signs / Forelimb lameness, stiffness, limping fore leg Sheep & Goats:All Stages Sign
General Signs / Forelimb swelling, mass in fore leg joint and / or non-joint area Sign
General Signs / Generalized lameness or stiffness, limping Sheep & Goats:All Stages Sign
General Signs / Generalized weakness, paresis, paralysis Sheep & Goats:All Stages Sign
General Signs / Head, face, ears, jaw, nose, nasal, swelling, mass Sheep & Goats:All Stages Sign
General Signs / Hindlimb lameness, stiffness, limping hind leg Sheep & Goats:All Stages Sign
General Signs / Hindlimb swelling, mass in hind leg joint and / or non-joint area Sign
General Signs / Hindlimb swelling, mass in hind leg joint and / or non-joint area Sign
General Signs / Internal abdominal mass, swellings, adhesions abdomen Sheep & Goats:Hogget,Sheep & Goats:Gimmer,Sheep & Goats:Mature female,Sheep & Goats:Breeding male Sign
General Signs / Lack of growth or weight gain, retarded, stunted growth Sheep & Goats:All Stages Sign
General Signs / Laryngeal, tracheal, pharyngeal swelling, mass larynx, trachea, pharynx Sheep & Goats:Hogget,Sheep & Goats:Gimmer,Sheep & Goats:Mature female,Sheep & Goats:Breeding male Sign
General Signs / Lymphadenopathy, swelling, mass or enlarged lymph nodes Sheep & Goats:Hogget,Sheep & Goats:Gimmer,Sheep & Goats:Mature female,Sheep & Goats:Breeding male Diagnosis
General Signs / Mammary gland swelling, mass, hypertrophy udder, gynecomastia Pigs:Sow Sign
General Signs / Neck swelling, mass cervical region Sheep & Goats:Hogget,Sheep & Goats:Gimmer,Sheep & Goats:Mature female,Sheep & Goats:Breeding male Sign
General Signs / Paraparesis, weakness, paralysis both hind limbs Sheep & Goats:Hogget,Sheep & Goats:Gimmer,Sheep & Goats:Mature female,Sheep & Goats:Breeding male Sign
General Signs / Sudden death, found dead Sheep & Goats:All Stages Sign
General Signs / Swelling skin or subcutaneous, mass, lump, nodule Sheep & Goats:Hogget,Sheep & Goats:Gimmer,Sheep & Goats:Mature female,Sheep & Goats:Breeding male Sign
General Signs / Swelling, mass external abdomen Sheep & Goats:Hogget,Sheep & Goats:Gimmer,Sheep & Goats:Mature female,Sheep & Goats:Breeding male Sign
General Signs / Thoracic swelling, mass, thorax, chest, ribs, sternum Sheep & Goats:Hogget,Sheep & Goats:Gimmer,Sheep & Goats:Mature female,Sheep & Goats:Breeding male Sign
General Signs / Underweight, poor condition, thin, emaciated, unthriftiness, ill thrift Sheep & Goats:Hogget,Sheep & Goats:Gimmer,Sheep & Goats:Mature female,Sheep & Goats:Breeding male Diagnosis
General Signs / Weight loss Sheep & Goats:Hogget,Sheep & Goats:Gimmer,Sheep & Goats:Mature female,Sheep & Goats:Breeding male Sign
Nervous Signs / Dullness, depression, lethargy, depressed, lethargic, listless Sheep & Goats:All Stages Sign
Pain / Discomfort Signs / Forelimb pain, front leg Sign
Pain / Discomfort Signs / Hindlimb pain, hind leg Sign
Pain / Discomfort Signs / Pain mammary gland, udder Sign
Pain / Discomfort Signs / Skin pain Sign
Pain / Discomfort Signs / Skin pain Sign
Reproductive Signs / Abortion or weak newborns, stillbirth Sheep & Goats:Mature female Sign
Reproductive Signs / Agalactia, decreased, absent milk production Sheep & Goats:Mature female Sign
Reproductive Signs / Anestrus, absence of reproductive cycle, no visible estrus Pigs:Gilt,Pigs:Sow Sign
Reproductive Signs / Female infertility, repeat breeder Sheep & Goats:Gimmer,Sheep & Goats:Mature female Sign
Reproductive Signs / Firm mammary gland, hard udder Sign
Reproductive Signs / Mastitis, abnormal milk Sheep & Goats:Mature female Sign
Reproductive Signs / Warm mammary gland, hot, heat, udder Sign
Respiratory Signs / Abnormal breathing sounds of the upper airway, airflow obstruction, stertor, snoring Sheep & Goats:Hogget,Sheep & Goats:Gimmer,Sheep & Goats:Mature female,Sheep & Goats:Breeding male Sign
Respiratory Signs / Abnormal lung or pleural sounds, rales, crackles, wheezes, friction rubs Sign
Respiratory Signs / Coughing, coughs Sheep & Goats:All Stages Sign
Respiratory Signs / Dull areas on percussion of chest, thorax Sheep & Goats:Hogget,Sheep & Goats:Gimmer,Sheep & Goats:Mature female,Sheep & Goats:Breeding male Sign
Respiratory Signs / Dyspnea, difficult, open mouth breathing, grunt, gasping Sign
Respiratory Signs / Dyspnea, difficult, open mouth breathing, grunt, gasping Sign
Respiratory Signs / Increased respiratory rate, polypnea, tachypnea, hyperpnea Sheep & Goats:Hogget,Sheep & Goats:Gimmer,Sheep & Goats:Mature female,Sheep & Goats:Breeding male Sign
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Alopecia, thinning, shedding, easily epilated, loss of, hair Sign
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Foul odor skin, smell Sign
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Hyperkeratosis, thick skin Sign
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Moist skin, hair or feathers Sign
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Moist skin, hair or feathers Sign
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Purulent discharge skin Sheep & Goats:Hogget,Sheep & Goats:Gimmer,Sheep & Goats:Mature female,Sheep & Goats:Breeding male Diagnosis
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Rough hair coat, dull, standing on end Sheep & Goats:All Stages Sign
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Skin crusts, scabs Sign
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Skin edema Sign
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Skin erythema, inflammation, redness Sign
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Skin erythema, inflammation, redness Sign
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Skin fistula, sinus Sheep & Goats:Hogget,Sheep & Goats:Gimmer,Sheep & Goats:Mature female,Sheep & Goats:Breeding male Diagnosis
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Skin necrosis, sloughing, gangrene Sign
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Skin papules Sign
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Skin pustules Sign
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Skin ulcer, erosion, excoriation Sign
Skin / Integumentary Signs / Skin ulcer, erosion, excoriation Sign

Disease Course

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The disease course varies from months to years. C. pseudotuberculosis enters the body through a break in the skin often caused by shearing cuts and spreads in the body via the lymphatic system. Ingestion or inhalation of fomites may also be important portals of entry through mucous membranes. Ruptured superficial or lung abscesses, containing huge numbers of organisms, are primary sources of environmental contamination. After entering the local lymphatics, the organisms are picked up by neutrophils and transported to the local drainage lymph node. Sheep with skin lesions on the head have parotid and sub-mandibular lymph node involvement whereas shearing wounds lead to infection of the pop-liteal, pre-crural and pre-scapular lymph nodes. Lesions in the lung and mediatinum may be caused by inhalation of fomites particularly during periods of close confinement.

Caseous lymphadenitis is characterized by abscessation of one or two carcass lymph nodes but lesion distribution in CLA infection varies between countries. Lesions may be difficult to observe in fully-fleeced sheep but are readily palpable during clinical examination, because the lymph nodes are up to 10 times their normal size. Occasionally lesions rupture to discharge viscous, sometimes inspissated, yellow-green pus.

In Australia, the pre-scapular and pre-crural lymph nodes are affected in 54 and 29 per cent of cases, respectively, with less than 1 per cent of lesions affecting lymph nodes of the head region (Batey et al., 1986). Conversely, CLA in the United Kingdom is characterized by abscessation of the parotid and sub-mandibular lymph nodes (Scott et al., 1997). Spread of infection to cause significant visceral lesions (Laven et al., 1997) is rare in the UK.

Internal abscesses involving the lung, mediastinum, or liver caused by C. pseudotuberculosis are a major cause of chronic weight loss in sheep and goats in the USA. Infection and abscessation of a vertebral body causes spinal cord compression with clinical findings dependent upon the site of the lesion.

Epidemiology

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The disease is introduced into a country or region through the importation of infected sheep or goats. Transmission occurs either directly between sheep during close confinement or indirectly via contaminated shearing equipment with fomites from sheep with lung lesions (Paton et al., 1995) or discharging skin lesions. Fighting, causing skin lesions to the head, facilitates disease transmission between rams (Scott et al., 1997). The epidemiology of CLA varies between countries, from little within-flock transmission in the United Kingdom to epidemic proportions in flocks in Australia and USA. The prevalence of infection increases with age and in sheep under intensive management.

Impact: Economic

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The economic impact of CLA varies between countries and management systems within countries. Economic losses with adult sheep may result from poor production including weight loss, reduced lactation and consequently poor lamb growth, lowered wool production, chronic wasting due to large visceral lesions, and carcass condemnation at the slaughter plant due to abscessation of regional lymph nodes. International trade restrictions may limit export of sheep and goats from known infected flocks/herds. Routine vaccination adds to production costs in those countries where vaccine is employed in CLA control measures.

Zoonoses and Food Safety

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Cases of lymphadenopathy have been reported in people in direct contact with sheep including shearers, and abattoir workers, but the cases are rare. Carcasses and viscera with evidence of CLA abscesses are condemned and removed from the food chain. Gloves should be worn when handling contaminated animals and carcasses. Because the disease is a potential zoonose all gloves and utensils used on infected animals should be properly disinfected or disposed of.

Disease Treatment

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Despite sensitivity of C. pseudotuberculosis to a number of antibiotics in-vitro, therapy is unsuccessful due to the intracellular site of the bacteria and the fibrous capsule surrounding the lesions. Lancing lesions only results in contamination of the environment increasing the potential for spread of disease. Abscesses frequently recur after drainage and lavage with antiseptics.

Prevention and Control

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Disease prevention in clean flocks can be maintained by effective biosecurity measures. In such programmes the role of shearing equipment and other handling facilities such as mobile plunge dippers and feeders as vectors for disease must be carefully considered. However, disease risks are highest with purchased animals, which must be inspected before purchase and quarantined for at least 2-months before mixing with the original flock. Replacement breeding stock must be purchased from disease-free flocks whenever possible. Alternatively, unvaccinated sheep should be purchased and serological testing undertaken before admission of seronegative stock to the flock.

In endemically infected flocks, the control programme must involve reducing exposure to possibly contaminated fomites, culling sheep with unexplained ill-thrift, and vaccination of animals. Young animals should be raised separately from older infected animals. Shearing equipment, particularly the combs and blades, must be regularly disinfected, especially after contact with a discharging lesion. Sheep should be shorn in age groups, youngest first, and those with skin lesions must be shorn last. Skin wounds inflicted during shearing should be treated with topical iodine spray (Serikawa et al., 1994). Shower dipping for ectoparasite control and keeping sheep under cover for one hour or more after shearing increased the odds of high CLA incidence in flocks in Western Australia (Paton et al., 1996).

Commercial vaccines reduce the incidence of CLA within a flock (Paton et al., 1995; Pointkowski and Shivvers 1998) but do not prevent all new infections nor cure sheep already infected. Commercial vaccines are used in many countries with a high CLA prevalence such as the USA and Australia but presently not in many countries within Europe. All commercial vaccines contain the phospholipase D (PLD) toxoid and some also contain killed whole bacterial cells. Clostridial antigens may also be included in the vaccine. Care must be exercised not to challenge heavily pregnant sheep with too many vaccine antigens at the same time as temporarily reduced feed intake may precipitate ovine pregnancy toxaemia.

Eradication is difficult and involves culling all infected sheep from vaccinated flocks. Thereafter, once clinical disease is at a low level, vaccination can be stopped and unvaccinated seropositive animals removed. In unvaccinated flocks, all seropositive animals must be culled and testing repeated until the disease is eliminated. A successful eradication programme based upon serological testing and disposal involving 13,000 goats in 53 goat herds in the Netherlands has been described (Dercksen et al., 1996).

References

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Abdirahman OM; Abdi BH, 1988. Pseudotuberculosis in goats in the Mogadiscio area. Bollettino Scientifico della Facoltà di Zootecnia e Veterinaria, Università Nazionale Somala, 8:33-37; 8 ref.

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