You are here: Home / Government Documents / Tuberculosis in Animals: Mycobacterium bacilli that cause Devestating Zoonotic Diseases in many Animals / About

Tuberculosis in Animals: Mycobacterium bacilli that cause Devestating Zoonotic Diseases in many Animals

By Jean Larson

View Link (HTM)

Licensed under

Category Government Documents

There are many losses in the livestock industry, zoo animals, wildlife, and of course humans as a result of the bacterial disease called tuberculosis (TB). As described in the Eighth Edition of The MERCK Veterinary Manual
"Tuberculosis is an infectious, granulomatous disease caused by acid-fast bacilli of the genus Mycobacterium. Although commonly defined as a chronic, debilitating disease, TB occasionally assumes an acute, rapidly progressive course. The disease affects practically all species of vertebrates, and before control measures were adopted, was a major disease of man and domestic animals. Bovine TB is still a significant zoonotic disease in many parts of the world. Clinical signs and lesions are generally similar in the various species."

The Mycobacterium family of bacteria causes a variety of disease scourges such as tuberculosis, leprosy, cervical lymphadenitis, a swimming pool granuloma, chronic pulmonary diseases, Johne's disease, etc.

There is a very broad range of species that are susceptible to the tuberculosis causing species. The main species of bacilli that cause disease are Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Mycobacterium bovis, and Mycobacterium avium complex. M. tuberculosis and M. bovis as they affect animals are the species most referenced in this document. Other species of the bacilli cause similar diseases in fish, turtles, etc. and they are included in this document. Since the topic of Johne's disease in cattle, caused by Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis, is the topic of another Animal Welfare Information Center information resource, the articles dealing with this species are included here only if found in birds. In the literature cited below, there are articles detailing the various aspects of Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Mycobacterium bovis as they affect domestic and wild ruminants, ferrets, badgers, rodents, elephants, various birds, pigs, deer, coyotes, camels, pumas, fish, dogs, cats, non-human primates, and of course humans world-wide.


Angel Tobey

Purdue University

Date 2007
Series 2004-01
Publisher Animal Welfare Information Center
Department U.S. Department of Agriculture
Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Agencies and organizations
  2. Agriculture
  3. Animal welfare
  4. Bacteria
  5. Conservation
  6. Diseases
  7. Diseases and injuries of animals
  8. Health
  9. Human diseases and injuries
  10. Livestock
  11. Nutrition
  12. Tuberculosis
  13. wildlife
  14. Zoo and captive wild animals