Can You Drink Milk From A Goat With CL?

CL stands for Caseous Lymphadenitis

It is a condition affecting goats and sheep. 

CL forms ulcers and abscesses on goats. 

These tend to rupture and release pus. 

This is a condition affecting many farm animals, including goats. 

If you milk goats, it is reasonable to wonder whether or not the goats with CL are safe to drink milk from.  

Transmission of CL from goats to humans is very rare but still possible. Drinking raw milk from a goat with CL does have its risks. To get infected with CL from raw goat milk, there must be pus from an abscess in the milk. In general, it is safest to avoid milk from goats with CL.  

Having a goat with CL usually isn’t a huge concern. 

However, if they are milking goats, there is a risk involved. 

Let’s look more into whether humans can drink milk from a goat with CL. 

can you drink milk from a goat with cl

Is Milk From A Goat With CL Safe?

CL is a common condition for goats, sheep, and other livestock. 

It is possible for humans to be infected with CL from the secretion from an abscess on a goat. 

However, this is incredibly rare. 

There aren’t many documented cases directly linked with CL infections in humans caused by drinking raw milk from an infected animal. 

Goat farmers usually make the personal choice as to whether or not to drink raw milk from a goat with CL. 

There aren’t many indicators of it being unsafe, but some risk is involved. 

CL often results in non-visible abscesses. 

There may be an undetected abscess on or near the udder capable of infecting the milk without the farmer knowing.  

While there aren’t many cases of CL infections from raw milk, we recommend avoiding drinking the milk as there is a risk involved. 

Drinking raw milk, in general, carries its risks. 

If this is something you are willing to gamble on, just be aware of the potential for infection. 

What Is CL?

CL is a contagious disease in animals. 

It easily spreads through a goat herd. 

The CL causes both internal abscesses and external abscesses in animals. 

The infection is spread through contamination from an open wound, eyes, mouth, or nose. 

Animals with abscesses will spread the disease when the abscesses burst. 

This is what makes CL so contagious.  

Symptoms include swollen lymph nodes on the infected animal. 

Symptoms may not show for quite a while after the initial infection. 

It helps to identify the source of infection and keep a closed herd away from the infected goat. 

This will help to prevent further spread to your other goats kept for milk production. 

If you see signs of abscesses, keep uninfected animals away from their herd mates to prevent the spread of disease. 

An infected herd is a definite possibility, so it is important to watch for clinical signs of CL.  

CL is a highly contagious disease. 

It tends to be a chronic infection resulting in external and subcutaneous abscesses. 

If you see abscesses on any goats, isolate the infected goat from its herd mates. 

If you catch the goats during the early formation of abscesses, you may be able to separate the other goats before they get infected. 

CL forms when external lesions or wounds contact pus from abscesses from a goat with CL. 

Since goats tend to bite, scratch, and get tangled up in things, they get small wounds. 

These active lesions are breeding grounds for CL infection. 

How Do I Prevent CL?

CL quickly becomes a problem for goat herds living close to one another. 

Preventing its spread is your best chance of keeping your goats from producing tainted milk. 

CL occurs when the Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis bacteria form in an open wound. 

The best way to prevent CL is by routinely checking your goats for external lesions and keeping them clean to stop the bacteria from forming.  

Goats love to scratch, bite, and play. 

Sometimes this results in wounds and scratches. 

They may seem harmless at first, but these are a nesting ground for bacteria like CL to form. 

It is a chronic infection and will spread rapidly through a herd of goats if not addressed. 

Keep Infected Goats Isolated

If you see active draining lesions on any goats, immediately move them into isolation. 

Take Blood Samples

If you suspect any of your goats with active lesions have CL, take a blood sampling. 

Blood screening tests will determine whether or not your goat has CL. 

Since it is a bacterial disease, it helps to conduct actual blood tests on all your animals.

Provide Treatment For Infected Animals

Treating CL quickly may help keep it under control quickly and keep spreading to a minimum. 

An antibiotic treatment on open wounds will help prevent external lesions from becoming infected. 

There is no effective treatment for infected animals, but using an antimicrobial treatment on non-infected goats may help to reduce the spread among the goat herd. 

CL Vaccine

In the United States, there is a CL vaccine for goats. 

The autogenous (farm-specific) CL vaccine shows promise in preventing infection. 

Consult your herd veterinarian for vaccination protocols for your goat herd to prevent CL from affecting your goats and their milk production. 

Treating And Removing Abscesses

When an abscess drains, it puts the rest of the herd at risk. 

Some farmers will drain the abscess. However, the abscess pus will infect the environment. 

For this reason, it is vital to separate the infected goat from the rest of the herd until the abscess heals. 

This usually takes anywhere from 20-30 days to be safe.  

Another option for treating abscesses is surgical removal. 

Removal involves anesthetizing the goat to remove the abscess. 

This removes the threat of contamination from the pus culture. 

This is not practical for most goat owners but is an option. 

If you consider surgical removal, consult your herd veterinarian for advice on the procedure. 

Is There A Cure For Caseous Lymphadenitis In Goats?

There is no effective treatment for CL, unfortunately. 

Infected animals will carry the chronic disease for the rest of their life. 

There are some antibiotic treatments for CL in goats, but unfortunately, they are generally considered ineffective against the Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis bacteria. 

There are no adequate studies for dosages and treatment with antibiotics for CL in goats, so it is generally not recommended. 

Using antibiotics on an antibiotic-resistant bacteria strain is dangerous.

It may even make the CL worse by increasing the antimicrobial resistance of the bacteria.  

Is Raw Milk From Goats Safe To Drink?

Many farmers swear by raw milk and enjoy the freshness. 

Others believe there are too many risks involved in consuming milk raw. 

Drinking tainted milk is not something anyone wants to do. 

Let’s look into the risks of drinking raw milk from a goat.

Risk Of Food-Borne Illnesses

Raw milk is unpasteurized. 

This means it carries a higher risk of food-borne illnesses caused by bacteria. 

The pasteurization process kills off bacteria and makes it safer to consume. 

In addition to CL, many other bacterias are potentially present in raw milk. 

These bacteria tend to cause food poisoning and other illnesses. 

Here are some of the more common bacteria possible in raw milk:

  • E. coli
  • S. aureus 
  • Salmonella

Risk To Breastfeeding And Pregnant Women

Consuming raw milk while pregnant or breastfeeding increases the risk of complications caused by the Listeria bacteria. 

Listeria infection during pregnancy is very serious and even causes miscarriages, illness, or death of newborns. 

Potential Health Benefits Of Raw Milk

Many people swear by the health benefits of consuming raw goat milk despite the risks involved. 

There is some anecdotal evidence of its proponents’ potential health benefits of consuming raw goat milk. 

Here are some of the potential health benefits of drinking raw goat milk.

If you’re thinking of selling milk, check out how much goat milk costs (and what to sell it for).

Improved Digestion

People who drink raw goat milk regularly find improvements in their digestion. 

One reason for this may be the beneficial bacteria and enzymes present in raw milk. 

Some believe the pasteurization process kills and removes these beneficial bacteria and enzymes important for the healthy function of the gut microbiome and digestion. 

Hypoallergenic Properties

One benefit of goat milk seems to be the hypoallergenic properties. 

Some people who are allergic to cow milk find goat milk much more tolerable. 

This is often a good option for those who are lactose intolerant. 

However, goat milk doesn’t necessarily need to be raw to be hypoallergenic to these individuals. 

Better Nutrition

The protein composition of raw goat milk is very similar to human breast milk. 

For this reason, many baby formulas incorporate goat milk into the formula to suit infant needs. 

Some studies show goat milk to have more nutrients than cows’ milk, but this requires more evidence. 

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Growing up amidst the sprawling farms of the South, Wesley developed a profound connection with farm animals from a young age. His childhood experiences instilled in him a deep respect for sustainable and humane farming practices. Today, through, Wesley shares his rich knowledge, aiming to inspire and educate others about the joys and intricacies of rural life.

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