|Article Index||"Sore Mouth in Goats"||Article Index|
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SORE MOUTH IN GOATS
Contagious ecthyma is a contagious, viral disease of goats and sheep known by several alternative names, including sore mouth, orf, scabby mouth and contagious pustular dermatitis. Sore mouth is common in goats worldwide and can produce painful, thick scabby sores on the lips and gums. The disease usually runs its course in 1-4 weeks but may be extended when severe secondary infections occur. Complete healing without scarring is the most common outcome. Feed intake may negatively be affected resulting in weight loss.
Sore mouth is not limited to the mouth. A kid with sore mouth lesions can pass the infection to the teats of a doe during suckling. Lesions appearing on udders are painful and the doe may not allow the kids to nurse and/or may develop mastitis. The disease may be passed from infected animals to others. In addition, scabs containing viruses which have contaminated the environment may be another source of infection. Milking equipment and bedding contaminated by infected does are other possible sources of infection. The lesions are crusty, and may be secondarily infected with bacteria such as staphylococci and others. Although the lips and gums are most commonly affected, lesions have been reported on the face, ears, coronary bands, scrotum, teats, vulva, neck, chest and flank.
The sore mouth virus is very hardy and persists for extended periods away from the host in the form of dried scabs from an infected animal. Recovery from the disease gives an immunity for at least one year. Transfer of immunity from the doe to the kid through colostrum has not been conclusively proven. Very young kids that are severely affected may die.
It may not be a concern to vaccinate pregnant animals because the vaccine reportedly does not induce abortion. However, the stress of herding pregnant animals into a handling facility and vaccinating them could potentially induce abortion in some animals.
One vaccine manufacturer reports that vaccination of does will not produce immunity in kids. Therefore, vaccination should focus on vaccinating each new kid crop. In some programs, annual revaccination of late pregnant does is performed along with vaccination of the new kid crop.
Disinfection of the pens after all lesions have cleared is recommended in case the owner of in infected herd chooses not to follow a routine vaccination program.
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