SOREMOUTH (Ovine ecthyma, contagious ecthyma, “orf”) – Soremouth is a viral disease involving parapox virus causing open sores and scabs on the mouth and elsewhere. This disease affects sheep and goats and the virus can survive for up to thirty years in the soil. Scabs from vaccinations can be infective to unvaccinated animals. A case of souremouth is not the end of the world. Healthy goats rarely show symptoms, but if stressed, can develop a lesion or two. This is quite normal and does not constitute a big problem.
Symptoms – The primary lesions develop on the lips, frequently involving the mucous membranes of the mouth. Occasionally, lesions are found in the interdigital region of the feet. Depending on the severity of the infection, the scabs can be barely noticeable or so severe as to cover the entire muzzle of the goat. All mucous membranes can be infected in the most severe cases as well as any areas with open sores. In very serious cases, large areas of the body can be covered with open, pustulating sores. In a nonvaccinated herd, an affected kid can transmit the virus to its mothers’ udder causing external and internal lesions. The course of the disease runs from one to four weeks. During the active stage, the kid may go off feed and lose condition.
Treatment – There is no cure for soremouth, however symptoms can be ameliorated and stress reduced using the following techniques:
1) Isolate infected animals.
2) Treat drinking water with terra or sulfa drugs according to package directions to prevent secondary infections.
3) In serious cases, inject terramycin intramuscularly at the maximum allowable dose.
4) Administer Vitamin A in the water or use an injectable form according to package instructions.
5) Spray lesions with Neostat, an antibiotic iodine solution to dry up the sores.