Chlamydiosis is a major cause of abortion in goats. It is caused by Chlamydia psittaci, a gram negative intracellular organism. The organism is also the cause of arthritis, conjunctivitis and respiratory diseases. After exposure the organism multiplies in the intestine, eye or genital tract. It gains access to the placenta and fetus and causes abnormal absorption of nutrients through the placenta, leading to death and abortion of the fetus. Other animals become exposed by ingesting diseased placenta or uterine discharges.
Symptoms: Symptoms include abortion during the last two months of pregnancy, especially in the last two weeks. Fetuses usually appear fresh. The doe is usually not clinically ill, and the placenta is not retained. Fertility is usually normal in subsequent pregnancies though it is thought that immunity decreases after three years. The organism can be transmitted to other does in the herd.
Treatment: Medical care includes treating all susceptible does with tetracycline or tylosin, or other effective antibiotics. Consult your veterinarian for an appropriate course of treatment.
Prevention: Control measures include practicing good sanitation and establishing an effective vaccination program. Buy replacement does and kids from reputable sources with no history of the condition. Chlamydia is contagious to humans.
References cited: Mary C. Smith & David M. Sherman: Goat Medicine