Bluetongue (BTV)

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Bluetongue is an infectious noncontagious, viral disease of ruminants caused by an Orbivirus.

While goats are frequently infected, clinical signs are uncommon or mild in this species. Economic losses caused by bluetongue in goats are minimal.


  • When clinical signs do appear, they are limited to mild depression, temporary loss of appetite, possibly fever up to 1050F, and hyperemia (increase blood flow to the lining) of the oral and nasal cavity.
  • In more severe cases the initial signs are fever and anorexia for 3-4 days followed by excoriations of the tongue, lips, and gums that become ulcerative and necrotic.
  • Excessive salivation, edema (swelling) of the face and a watery to mucous like nasal discharge.


The bluetongue virus is transmitted by arthropod vectors, primarily by gnats from the genus Culicoides, although sexual and trans-placental transmission can occur. Because of insect transmission the disease is more commonly seen in late summer and early fall.


There is no specific treatment for bluetongue, only supportive therapy with antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs are indicated. Nutritional and fluid support may be needed if affected animal cannot eat or drink.


Controlling the Culicoides insect, eliminating vector breeding grounds, Animals should not graze in low-lying, wet areas during seasons of insect activity to avoid spread of infection


1: Bluetongue: Goat Medicine- Mary Smith, David Sherman; Sheep & Goat Medicine DG Pugh


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