Vaccine For Sore Mouth In Goats

Contagious ecthyma, commonly called sore mouth, is a contagious, viral disease of goats and sheep known by several alternative names, including 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. Goats infected with sore mouth usually heal completely without scars after one to four weeks. However, in severe cases secondary infections may extend that period. Feed intake may be depressed resulting in weight loss.

  • Sores are typically found on the lips, muzzle, and in the mouth.
  • Early in the infection, sores appear as blisters that develop into crusty scabs.
  • Sheep and goats may get sores on their lower legs and teats, especially when ewes or does are nursing infected lambs or kids. Young animals may have difficulty nursing and may require bottle or tube feeding. Nursing ewes or does with lesions on their udders may abandon their lambs, and older animals with oral lesions may also require nutritional support.


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 may develop mastitis. The disease may also be passed from infected animals to others. In addition, scabs 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. Antibiotics are indicated if secondary infections are severe. 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 dried scabs from an infected animal. Recovery from the disease gives 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.

Features of Vaccine For Sore Mouth In Goats

Soremouth is the most common skin disease affecting sheep and goats. It is a highly contagious disease caused by a virus in the “pox” family. Soremouth goes by many names including contagious ecthyma, (contagious) pustular dermatitis, and orf. In Australia, it is commonly called “scabby mouth.” The distribution of soremouth is worldwide. The disease is widespread in the U.S. sheep and goat population. In a 2011 USDA NAHMS* survey, 43.7 percent of U.S. sheep operations reported having soremouth in their flocks during the previous three years. Soremouth affects all breeds of sheep and goats. The disease tends to be more severe in goats than sheep. Anecdotal evidence suggests that some breeds may be more susceptible than others (e.g. Boer).

If orf is a problem then vaccination is possible to reduce the severity of the disease. Orf vaccine contains live virus so must be administered with extra care. It is important that vaccinated animals do not come into contact with unvaccinated animals for at least 7 days, and the vaccine should NEVER be used on farms with no previous cases of orf (see box).There is only partial immunity following clinical disease or vaccination, recurrent infections can occur in 1 – 3 months but are usually less severe and heal rapidly Soremouth is a zoonotic disease meaning animals can transmit it to humans. As many physicians may be unfamiliar with the disease, be sure to tell your doctor if you’ve been exposed to infected or recently-vaccinated sheep or goats.


Commercial vaccines labeled for both goats and sheep are available and have been of value in some instances. These products should always be used according to product label direction and after consultation with a veterinarian or animal health expert. The vaccines are unattenuated live virus preparations (basically ground-up scabs) or tissue culture strains. Therefore, vaccinating a clean herd will introduce the disease to the herd, and should be done will full consideration of this fact. Scabs appearing at the vaccination site in 1 to 3 days indicate that the vaccine is “taking.” For goats that are shown regularly, vaccination prevents the occurrence of an outbreak during the show season. However, it is important to vaccinate animals at least six weeks before the show season, so that vaccine scabs will have disappeared before the first show. Following vaccination, at least two to three weeks are necessary for adequate immunity to take place. Animals are vaccinated in a hairless, protected area. Sites for vaccination include the inside of the ear, the underside of the tail, and others.

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. Vaccinated does may give some colostral immunity to kids. However, colostral immunity is short lived, and 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 an infected herd chooses not to follow a routine vaccination program.

Prices of Vaccine For Sore Mouth In Goats

$34.95 – $98.95

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