Lumpy jaw

Lumpy Jaw

What to look for

  • Hard lump on either an upper or lower jaw bone which is not painful in the early stages
  • Infection can invade soft tissues and cause distortion of the teeth
  • Loss of appetite and body condition
  • Pus is often seen to be draining from beneath the lump and, if examined closely, small (1-2mm diameter) light yellow granules can be seen

Cause – a fungal infection (Actinomyces bovis)

This fungus is normally present in the mouth of healthy animals but it may enter the jaw bone through an injury caused by such things as hard feed, foreign objects or injury to a tooth.

Animals likely to be affected

Adult cattle. Lumpy jaw is an unusual condition in Australia.

Other diseases with similar signs

Woody tongue, abscesses, injuries or foreign bodies in the head and mouth region.

Confirming the diagnosis

Characteristic appearance.

Spread of the disease

Not spread from animal to animal.

Risks to people



Veterinary treatment can be successful if there has not been too much damage to the bony tissues of the jaw. It may involve injecting sodium iodide into the vein or feeding potassium iodide and/or using antibiotics.

Risk factors

Access to foreign bodies and feeds that might cause damage to the mouth.

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