Ask the experts: Goats have hard swelling under jaw

29 April 2024

Question: I have Boer goats and they are developing a hard swelling under the jaw. It looks like bottle jaw, but it is not internal parasites. Two ewes have died. Antibiotics do not help with the swelling. This is the first time I have encountered this and I have been farming with Boer goats for more than 10 years. Do you know what it could be and what might prevent more deaths?

Answer: I advise you to take the goat to your vet if you get another case. The vet can insert a thick needle into the swelling, take a sample and send it for analysis. It could be caused by the bacteria Trueperella pyogenes or Corynebacterium ovis. Do you vaccinate your goats against these?

If a goat dies, a proper post-mortem examination should be conducted. Other germs may also be involved, such as lumpy jaw.

If there is severe pus, the swelling will need to be lanced and flushed. Be careful not to spread the pus.

Liver fluke infestation should also be considered. Have you had a faecal sample analysed? An immature infestation will yield no eggs in the faeces.

Inquiries: Dr Faffa Malan, veterinary consultant. Email:

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