Andy is half of the very first pair of goats I ever owned. He is the younger twin of Amos who died some years back. Amos had a number of nodules (tumors, cysts, growths, etc.) on his back underside that we treated with only moderate success for several years. The nodules looked like CL except that CL nodules are more common up around the head and neck and Amos' always tested negative. CL stands for Caseous Lymphadenitis which is a bacterial infection of the lymph nodes caused by Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis. It is highly contagious being easily transmitted between goats. The nodules hold a cheesy white pus and are the product of the body trying to get rid of or wall off the offending bacteria. We treated Amos every few weeks for several months and the nodules disappeared only to return after several months of not treating him. In the end we found Amos dead in the pasture. We decided against a necropsy so just buried him on the property.
Last fall when Stephen Franco came to shear the goats we found that Andy had nodules similar to Amos'. I took him into the vet and we decided to surgically remove the nodules. The tests were negative for CL just like they always were for Amos and Andy bounced right back from surgery. This spring when Stephen came back to shear again the nodules were back. All the goats look skinny when they get sheared and you suddenly see them without all that hair, but Andy looked significantly worse than the rest and continues to look emaciated. Wasting is one of the symptoms of internal abscesses which can accompany the outwardly visible nodules. This time the vet has decided to call this infection CL even though all the lab tests remain negative. It looks like CL and acts like CL it just doesn't test positive for CL.
For now, Andy is on a three week course of medication and we will see if it helps at all. CL is very common in goat herds in part because it is very difficult to treat. The body walls off the bacteria so antibiotics can't get to it. Not a positive picture for Andy. The vet will be out here in three weeks to give all the animals their annual shots along with pulling fecal samples for all and we will re-evaluate Andy at that point. In the mean time Andy is in a stall in the barn and I'm grinding up pills to put in his food with a little bit of pancake syrup or applesauce.