J. Berrier, DVM
Epididymitis of the ram is a clinically
important disease. It
is rare in the goat (buck).
It is a specific, infectious bacterial disease that
occurs in the United States and all over the world.
Epididymitis in adult rams should be considered to be
caused by the bacteria Brucella ovis until
proven otherwise. (Lamb
epididymitis is different in that it can be caused by a number
of different organisms such as Histophilus, Actinobacillus,
Haemophilus and Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis.)
The primary means of transmission is by direct contact
among rams or from recently infected ewes; venereal and
The initial presenting sign will be
swelling of the epididymis.
The disease in rams can also cause orchitis (infection
of the testicle), sperm granuloma secondary to obstruction of
epididymal ducts and decreased fertility.
In ewes the disease can cause failure to conceive,
placentitis, abortion, stillbirth and weak lambs that may
develop septicemia and result in perinatal mortality.
Infected rams may shed the bacteria in semen for more
than four years.
Recommendations on control and prevention:
Buy virgin rams and keep quarantined
until serologically tested negative.
Test all rams for Brucella ovis
prior to breeding.
Cull any Brucella ovis positive
Retest all rams in flock 60 days after
any rams are found positive and culled.
Perform breeding soundness exams
yearly on all rams and cull all rams with epididymitis
before the breeding season.
In flocks where Brucella ovis
has been a problem, vaccination of breeding rams may be a
helpful option. The
downside to vaccination is that these vaccinated rams will
test positive on serology tests; therefore, it is ideal for
producers who do not intend to sell these rams to other
Colorado Serum Company
proudly produces Ram Epididymitis Bacterin.
Contact your local distributor or veterinarian for this
and other fine products from Colorado Serum Company.