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Yersiniosis is a worldwide zoonotic disease and is a common cause of enteritis and death in goats in New Zealand. It is caused by the gram negative organisms Yersinia enterocolitica and Yersinia pseudotuberculosis.


  • It is associated with enteritis, abortion, mastitis, internal abscesses, and mortality. Kids younger than 6 months old develop enteritis, and a watery but not bloody diarrhea. The animal can become severely toxic and suddenly die. In older kids with long term exposure, tend to have less severe symptoms such as diarrhea and weight loss in association with gut wall and abdominal abscesses.
  • Spontaneous abortions or birth of weak kids that die shortly after birth.
  • Acute or chronic forms of mastitis occur
  • Diagnosis can be made by isolating the causative agent from diarrheic feces, mastitic milk, and uterine discharges. Occasional single abscesses and enlarged mesenteric lymph nodes may be seen at necropsy.


Yersinia organisms are generally susceptible to broad spectrum antibiotics. Most success has been seen with tetracycline’s. Antibiotic therapy is most successful when initiated early in the course of the disease.


Avoiding exposure to sources and maintaining overall flock health are helpful in preventing losses caused by yersiniosis


1: Mary Smith, David Sherman: Goat health; David Pugh; Sheep & Goat Medicine

2: Joutsen, S., E. Sarno, M. Fredriksson-Ahomaa, N. Cernela, and R. Stephan. 2012. Pathogenic Yersinia enterocolitica O:3 isolated from a hunted wild alpine ibex. Epidemiol. Infect. 15:1-6

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