Chlamydophila

Chlamydophila

By DVM 360

Chlamydophila abortus (formerly Chlamydia psittaci) travels through most small ruminant herds sooner or later, especially in herds that show or purchase new stock. Symptoms of chlamydophila in both small ruminants and humans include pinkeye, pneumonia, polyarthritis, and/or abortion. Naive stock may develop pinkeye during the spring, summer or fall with abortions developing in the bred females the following spring. Affected animals may remain asymptomatic carriers for several months to years following infection and can transmit the disease to other herds through direct contact. Affected males and those that have apparently recovered can transmit chlamydophila during breeding. Producers treating conjunctivitis should wear plastic gloves and wash their hands thoroughly afterwards. Disposable plastic gloves should always be worn when assisting with birth, handling aborted fetuses and removing placental membranes. Pregnant women should not work with sheep or goats during an abortion storm. Veterinarians screening show animals should not allow sheep or goats with pinkeye to be exhibited at shows or fairs. Occasionally fairs allow display of pregnant animals to demonstrate normal parturition, and a barrier should be placed between the animals and the observers to prevent public contact with the birthing fluids, membranes and neonates. A commercial vaccine is available for prevention of chlamydophila abortion and it should be administered to both males and females prior to breeding. Anecdotal evidence suggests that feeding chlortetracycline to pregnant sheep and goats in the last 60 days of gestation will decrease the incidence of abortion due to this organism.