Contagious Agalactia in sheep and goats

This is caused by Mycoplasma , M. agalactiae, M. capricolum subsp. capricolum, M. mycoides subsp. capri and M. putrefaciens.

Mycoplasma is responsible for a lot of problems in sheep and goats including abortions, pneumonia, arthritis ,mastitis etc.

Septicemia and pneumonia also occur during some outbreaks, most often in nursing young animals.
Contagious Agalactia is transmitted by the introduction of a carrier into a goat herd or sheep flock . Which then infect the healthy animals in the flock.

The organisms that cause contagious agalactia are shed in nasal and ocular discharges and milk. They can also occur in other secretions and excretions including urine, feces and semen.

Lambs and kids get infected during suckling.
The disease can also be transmitted during mating from an infected buck or ram.

Clinical signs

The severity of the disease depends on the infecting Mycoplasma species. During diagnosis, more than one agent can be found in some clinical cases.

Clinical signs commonly seen include Inflammation of the mammary glands ( mastitis ) , pinkeye and inflammation of the joints.

In clinical mastitis case, the udder is hot and swollen, and the milk is usually discolored, often with a yellowish tinge. It may also be watery, granular or clotted.

There is diminished lactation and in some cases total cessation of lactation.

Affected animal may show signs of lameness with hot swollen joints , fever and weight loss.

High mortality rates in lambs and kids is usually associated with bronchopneumonia with signs of cough , breathing difficulties , discharges from the nostrils , loss of appetite , and severe weakness.

Abortion can also occur frequently in infected herds and flocks.


Culling of infected animals is recommended to rid the flock of the disease.
Mycoplasma can be treated with antibiotics such as tetracycline , erythromycin , tylosin, or tiamulin .
Avoid purchasing breeding stock from unknown sources.

Apply biosecurity measures such as sanitation and isolation of infected animals.

Mycoplasmas in the environment can be inactivated by many disinfectants
including 1% sodium hypochlorite, 70% ethanol, iodophors, phenolic disinfectants, 2%
sodium hydroxide, formaldehyde etc.

Keep a closed herd to avoid introducing a sick animal to your flock.