Animal HealthDiseasesTuberculosisDiagnosis

Tuberculosis Diagnosis

Information about how the disease is diagnosed.


Humans and animals with TB develop an immune response, which can be detected by the tuberculin skin test.

  • In Cattle, Bison, Goats - caudal fold test (tail)
  • In Camelids - axillary text (behind elbow)
  • In Elephants - trunk wash

Tuberculin is asterile laboratory product made by growing TB bacteria, killing them with heat, removing them from the substance on which they were grown, and properly diluting and preserving the remaining mixture. About 72 hours after tuberculin is injected into animals affected with TB, a characteristic swelling reaction appears at the point of injection. This reaction is a positive test result, indicating exposure to one type of mycobacteria. Further diagnostic methods are necessary to confirm the presence of bovine TB.

In humans, these tests include chest X-rays and sputum cultures.

For animals, the comparative cervical tuberculin test, serological tests, post mortem examinations, and other laboratory procedures are used.

Animal Health Bureau

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Department of Livestock
Animal Health Bureau
PO Box 202001
Helena, MT 59620-2001
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