Q Fever

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Signs of Q Fever In Goats


Q fever, is caused by a rickettsial organism called Coxiella burnetii which can survive in dry conditions for extended periods. Goats, sheep, cattle and wildlife may carry the organism, which is shed in large numbers in placenta, uterine fluids, colostrum, and milk.


  • Clinical signs of Q fever are infrequent, but abortion and stillbirth may occur in late gestation as a result of severe damage to the placenta and associated structures.. Some goats may show anorexia (go off feed) and depression 1-2 days before aborting. After the initial abortions or infections, animals become immune.
  • Diagnosis is based on blood test and isolation of the organism from placental tissue.
  • The primary significance of this disease is its zoonotic


Cows may be a source of infection for goats when they share pastures, water, feed sources, and handling equipment. Inhaling contaminate dusts, contact with aborted material, vaginal discharge and mucous membranes. This organism may also be sexually transmitted. After the infection is established, the female can carry the organism indefinitely, shedding it in milk and at parturition.


Abortions have been known to stop after the administration of chlortetracycline or oxytetracycline.


Producers should burn or bury placentas and aborted fetuses promptly. Removing rodents, cats, and cattle that may serve as sources of infection may aid in control efforts.


1: Sheep & Goat Medicine DG Pugh;  D. G. Pugh; W.B. SAUNDERS COMPANY

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