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Goat Health Conditions and Sore Mouth

Sore mouth, or contagious ecthyma, is a contagious disease found in sheep and goats and causes scabs or pus-filled sores to form around the goat's mouth, lips, face, ears, feet, scrotum, teats, or vulva. Sore mouth is caused by the herpes-like parapox virus and usually lasts 1 - 4 weeks.

What Causes Sore Mouth in Goats?

Sore mouth, or contagious ecthyma, can be caused by direct or indirect contact between suckling kids and adult goats, or among sibling kids suckling from the udder of dams. The virus that causes contagious ecthyma is contagious to humans, so use extreme caution when handling livestock known to be infected with sore mouth. Wear rubber gloves and sanitize clothing, shoes and skin immediately after handling infected animals.

How to Treat Sore Mouth in Goats

There is no known treatment for sore mouth or contagious ecthyma in goats; however there are ways that you can help ease your goats' discomfort while the condition runs its course. If lesions develop on both the upper and lower part of the goat's mouth, it can sometimes be difficult for the goat to feed, which could cause weight loss and intense pain. Feed goats softer concentrates to prevent weight loss.

A live vaccine is available for herds where sore mouth is a problem; however the vaccine should not be given to individual goats unless the spread of the condition is imminent.