How to Prevent Soremouth in Goats

Many people have heard about “pox” type infections in humans, and are most likely to be familiar with the chicken pox infection.  Soremouth, which also is a virus in the pox family, is one of the most common skin diseases that affect sheep and goats.  While not life threatening, soremouth can be painful to the animal and may cause substantial loss of income to those that raise flocks as part of a business or farming endeavor.  This virus is also very easily spread from animal to animal and can infect an entire herd in very little time.  As a goat owner, it is important to be aware of soremouth symptoms and ways to prevent it from spreading.  Here are the top four ways to prevent soremouth in goats.

#1 – Clean and Sanitize

Just as it is important for humans to wash their hands, it is equally as imperative that goat owners and caretakers practice good hygiene.  The virus that causes soremouth is often passed from animal to animal through infected equipment, fencing, food and water pails, and milking equipment.  To ensure that a goat herd remains free of contamination, all equipment should be thoroughly washed and sanitized between animals. 

#2 – Quarantine

Because of the highly contagious nature of soremouth, goats or other animals that have been diagnosed with the virus should be placed in quarantine away from the rest of the herd until they are no longer contagious.  They should not be allowed to participate in shows, events, or sold at the marketplace while infected as well.  If the goat is milking, babies should be fed through a sterilized bottle instead of directly from the teat.

#3 – Vaccinations

Another great way to prevent soremouth in goats is to have all goats vaccinated.  This can be done at an early age to help keep the goats from being able to contract the disease.  Vaccination is not guaranteed, however, and additional precautions should still be taken to keep the animals completely disease free.  Beware that very young animals may need to wait until their immune system has fully developed before administering the vaccination.

#4 – Treat Wounds

A fourth and final way to prevent soremouth in goats is to carefully examine, treat, and cover any open wounds.  If the virus comes in contact with open sores, cuts, or scrapes, it will likely infect the goat.  In order to avoid this, any sores should be covered to prevent access.  It is also advised that goats be kept out of places that may especially cause wounds, such as briars, thickets, or fences.