Actinomycosis in animals

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bovine actinomycosis, 3-years-old bull, 2-month evolution
bony swelling of the right maxillae
thick matter (top) and old fistulous granulomas

Actinomycosis in animals is caused by Actinomyces bovis (whereas human infections are usually due to A. israelii).

Actinomycosis is a quite common condition in cattle, where it is referred to as lumpy jaw or senfed (moroccan arabic), but it can also occur in horses, swine, dogs and rarely in sheep. In all these species, actinomycosis results in cold abscess, with granulomatous formations on the fistulised place.

Actinomycosis in cattle[edit]

It is a common conditions in weaned calves and young bulls and heifers. The disease has a chronic course, and the general condition can remain quite good.

There is a swelling of the maxilla and mandible. Fistulisation occurs after some days, leaving a thick, yellowish, non-odorous pus, with mineralised, 2 to 5 mm grains therein.

Later on, a granuloma will form in the place of fistulisation.

The bony lesions are followed by periostitis, with permanent deformation of the facial bones.


The affected areas are treated with iodine solutions. Antibiotics such as Tetracyclines are also used.

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