MSD Manual

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Professional Version

Tuberculosis in Sheep and Goats


Nuno Santos

, PhD, CIBIO-InBIO, University of Porto

Reviewed/Revised Mar 2023 | Modified Jun 2023

Sheep are susceptible to infection with Mycobacterium bovis and Mycobacterium caprae, but they rarely show signs of disease. Lesions are usually restricted to the respiratory tract; however, generalization is possible. Diagnostic assays used in cattle can be applied to sheep.

Goats are highly susceptible to infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex, particularly M caprae but also M bovis and Mycobacterium microti. Mycobacterium avium complex also infects goats. Infection is widespread and herd prevalence can be high. Some countries utilize test-and-slaughter TB eradication programs in goats. Intradermal tuberculin assays and interferon-gamma assay can be used; however, they show limited performance in goats. Lesions are most common in the respiratory (lung, mediastinal lymph nodes) and alimentary tracts (mesenteric lymph nodes).

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