Actinomyces bovis

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Actinomyces bovis
Phylum Actinobacteria
Class Actinobacteria
Order Actinomycetales
Family Actinomycetaceae
Genus Actinomyces
Species A.bovis
bovine actinomycosis, 3-years-old bull, 2-month evolution. (L. Mahin 2008, Wikimedia commons)


Actinomyces bovis is a species of the Actinomyces genus.

It is found naturally in the oral cavity of cattle and prefers anaerobic conditions but is not a strict anaerobe. Entry of the organism into tissues is following trauma to the mucosa from rough feed or tooth eruption. It causes granulomatous inflammation of soft tissues and bone, causing lumpy jaw. It usually invades the mandible to cause osteomyelitis and may extend to surrounding muscles.


The lesion begins as a painless swelling of the affected bone, the swelling becomes more painful and enlarges over a number of weeks, gaining fistulous tracts which discharge pus. The organisms are found in yellow sulphur granules and have club colony formation. Colonies adhere to agar media and are non-haemolytic.


Surgical treatment is possible when the lesions are small and prolonged parenteral penicillin treatment may be beneficial early in the disease.

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