SORE MOUTH

This disease of young sheep and goats is usually not a serious disease but it is important because it is transmissible to humans. In other words, if you aren't careful when you handle a lamb with soremouth, YOU CAN GET IT.

Other names for soremouth are Orf, Scabby Mouth and Contagious Ecthyma. It is caused by a member of the Pox virus family. These viruses cause small blisters around the mouth, on the lips and even sometimes in the mouth or on the tongue. The blisters break and scabs form around the lips and nose. These sores are painful and sometimes the lamb won't eat, especially if the sores are in the its mouth.

If you notice sores or scabs around the mouth and nose of your lamb, be sure to handle the lamb with rubber gloves so you don't get sores too. The scabs take about 2-3 weeks to heal. There is no really good treatment. However, the spray lubricant, WD-40, seems to hasten the healing better than anything else. Cover the nostrils of the lamb before spraying the sores with WD-40, so it doesn't inhale the lubricant. The disease is very contagious and if the lamb has another lamb as a companion, chances are that it, too, will get soremouth. If your lamb has it at fair time, you will not be allowed to bring it to the fair.

The control of soremouth in sheep should include thorough cleaning followed by disinfection of areas and equipment in contact with infected sheep. Most common disinfectants work well and specific ones such as iodophors have been recommended. Isolation of infected animals until the scabs fall off should help prevent this disease.

A recovered animal can be immune to this disease for as little as two months or as long as a year.

Care and Feeding of Your Lamb, TVSP
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