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Discussion in 'Sheep' started by JK-Farms, Oct 8, 2010.
what is the best cure for sore mouth?
Time. It's a virus, so it has to run its course. People have tried different things to dry up the lesions, but they don't make a huge difference.
Agreed, If you feel like stabbing your sheep, vitamin AD will bolster their immune system and make absolutely no dfference in the duration of the problem. You could culture some of the sore mouth scrapings and "vacinate" those unaffected by scraping a less troublesome area of thier skin and infecting them with the virus as described in Laura Lawsons books Managing your ewe or Lamb problems. They gain flock immunity for the strain of sore mouth and don't lose any nursing/feeding set backs from the disease.
Sore Mouth is what we call Scabby Mouth and more correctly, is a form of Orf. It is a viral disease and once on your property will be there for as long as there are sheep and for many years afterwards. It costs NZ sheep farmers millions of dollars every year.
There is no cure for it but there is a vaccination and those with Sore Mouth on their property should vaccinate all lambs at docking and any bought in ewes or rams should also be vaccinated. This should be done under veterinary supervision with confirmation that it is Sore Mouth as the vaccine is a "live" vaccine i.e. if Sore Mouth doesn't exist on the property but a vaccine is given, it will have been imported via the vaccine.
In the short term, relief can be given to lambs with Sore Mouth by applying either an antiseptic ointment or something like Valesline to soften the scabs and make life a little more comfortable for them, keeping in mind that lambs with sore mouths are not suckling or eating well and this will have a monetary cost as the lamb doesn't thrive.
so what you are saying once it passes threw the herd, the herd gains some immunity to it?
Yes it does to that particular strain and to those affected.
well then i guess it is not all to bad, as long as its a mild case
I think of it as chicken pox for sheep. Where you get problems is when young lambs that are still nursing get it, and the pain makes them not want to nurse. The ewe can also get it on their udders and teats, making them not want to let the lambs nurse because it hurts! But if older animals (weaned lambs and adults) get it, it's not as bad, usually.
Some people get chicken pox really bad, some don't. I had a "normal" case when I was a kid. My sister had it worse, with lesions in her ears and mouth. Sheep are the same. Some get just a few lesions on their lips, others have a worse time of it.
There are several strains so they can have immunity to one strain but still be susceptible to another. The virus can survive in protected areas for years, like inside a barn, but it doesn't apparently last outside in the elements as long.
It has popped up at times on farms with closed flocks, so it seems that it might be brought in by wild animals. One person I know had a breakout after their shearer had come.
One thing to be careful of - it can pass to humans (it's called Orf when it does) and although not harmful, it is painful. It just needs a scratch on your skin to gain entry and cause a lesion. Wear disposable exam gloves if you handle a sheep with soremouth. The scabs are the most infectious stage.
so you think spraying barns down with bleach would help.
Well, maybe. I think that is what this other person did after their outbreak post-shearing. The problem is that bleach is rapidly inactivated by organic material (wood, dirt, etc.) so spraying wooden walls, railings, might not be as effective as you'd hope.
No, once you have it you have it. Short of killing the flock and letting the pasture sit for 5 years in the sun there is nothing you can do. I HATE soremouth. It lives in the soil for 5 years and sheep and goats remain carriers even if they do not have any active sores.
The only thing you can do is provide support care and prevent secondary infections. If the animal has puss weeping sores dry them out with iodine, this hurts like hell but helps prevent secondary infection. Make sure to monitor temperatures and administer antibiotics as needed. If they aren't infected use an antibiotic ointment like nitrofurazone.
Make sure they are maintaining enough caloric intake to support them through the infection. I add molasses to warm water to encourage them to drink as well as to give them energy. Chopped alfalfa or silage is also good, soaking their hay also encourages their intake.
I second what Ronney says, make sure it's soremouth before vaccinating your healthy stock. You will have to quarantine and vaccinate every new animal that comes on to your property as well as vaccinating babies. You should also avoid exporting your stock to soremouth free herds as you could be charged with knowingly infecting another's stock, and also risk having your herd quarantined and inspected for hoof and mouth disease.
its not bad enought to where they cant eat and bearly noticable i only notice when i caught a few and felt there mouth, most dont have it so i guess its just a mild case. but i guess they will sooner or later.
And what vaccine would you recomend?
Thankyou Shoupie Sore Mouth/Scabby Mouth should not ever be taken lightly and I would be gutted if I got it in my flock. Shoupie also brings up a very valid point for those of you wanting to sell sheep if you have this disease on your property - if you knowingly sell sheep with Sore Mouth and do not advise the purchaser that you have it, you could be in deep ummm rubbish.
JK, there is only one vaccine and in this country it can only be purchased through a vet. If this is what you think you have in your sheep, spend the money and get the vet out to confirm it and then follow their recommendations.
Not all lambs in a flock will show the scabby mouth and in some years the outbreak can be worse than in others. Keep ewes and lambs away from rough grazing which may have thistle, blackberry or other hard or rough edges to it because it is this sort of grazing that will often precipitate an outbreak - the lamb scratches it's mouth on a thistle, the virus enters the open wound and hey presto, it's got a mouth and lips full of hard crusty sores. And equally, the ewe can get a minor scratch on her teat and the same thing happens. The lamb and ewe can pass it to each other and if she has twins, well.....
so pretty much my stock is worthless now, if it can be carried by a sheep that does not have sores.
Not at all
Most cases result in a few MINOR bumps around the mouth that clear up in a week or so.If you have somr that CONSISTANTLY get severe outbreaks, you should cull them, but otheriwise you just accept the fact that there is little you can do about it.
but if they can carry it with out any signs, i cant sale.
If that were the case, then no one who has vaccinated their flock for soremouth could ever sell any sheep. The vaccine is a live unmodified vaccine. It basically GIVES the sheep soremouth so they form immunity to it. Not every sheep who has had it will be an automatic carrier. For a sheep to be a carrier, I think it would have to be a chronic poor do-er, or immune-compromised individual. Some people get shingles later in life after having chicken pox, but most do not - similar idea.
Here are some references about sore mouth that may be of help. At least one of the references talks about a survey where 40% of US producers reported having had soremouth in their flocks. And I suspect that's underreported.
1. Contagious Ecthyma: Introduction, Merck Veterinary Manual, http://www.merckvetmanual.com/mvm/index.jsp?cfile=htm/bc/71000.htm
2. Contagious Ecthyma (Orf/Sore Mouth) in Sheep and Goats, Maria Leite-Browning, DVM, MS, Extension Animal Scientist, Alabama A&M University, http://www.aces.edu/pubs/docs/U/UNP-0063/
3. Sheep Health, Fact Sheet No. 1, Contagious Ecthyma (Sore Mouth), Nolan Hartwig, Extension Veterinarian, Iowa State University, http://www.extension.iastate.edu/Publications/PM829X1.pdf
4. Sore Mouth Infection/Orf Virus Infection, Frequently Asked Questions, Centers for Disease Control, http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/orf_virus/
5. Soremouth in Sheep, Fred Hopkins, DVM, MS, College of Veterinary Medicine, and Warren Gill, Ph.D., Extension Animal Science, University of TN, http://ucce.ucdavis.edu/files/filelibrary/1584/40574.pdf
6. Soremouth in Sheep and Goats, Helen A. Swartz, University of MO, Lincoln University, Cooperative Extension, http://www.luce.lincolnu.edu/publications/sheep and goats.pdf
7. Soremouth (orf) in sheep and goats, Susan Schoenian, University of MD Extension, Small Ruminant Info Series, http://www.sheepandgoat.com/articles/soremouth.html
I had someone tell me that they'd rather have soremouth in their flock than footrot or resistant barberpole worms. I have to say I agree with them. If no one is going to buy sheep from flocks that have had soremouth, then you also cannot buy from flocks that have vaccinated. And that makes no sense to me.
Yes you can still sell you just have to inform the buyer and not sell to uninfected herds. Some farmers i know who have soremouth in their ground actually prefer getting stock from a herd that has already dealt with it. The judgment call is really up to you, if its a small herd you were going to use only for your own meat wool then I would keep them, its one less disease you have to worry about someone bringing in. If you really like the genetics in your stock and are only going to be making meat sales and not breeding stock sales then I would keep them. It's not a death sentence but it does still suck which is why herd biosecurity is so very very important. Do you know where your girls may have got it from?
I was working for a commercial flock owned by a guy who never saw sunlight because his head was shoved somewhere. I really don't know who allowed this guy have 300 goats/sheep. He constantly brought in auction stock and just threw them in with the herd with no quarantine period/blood tests/inspection anything. Eventually we got a strain of pinkeye so virulent it would cause anyone new to go blind for a few weeks. And then one lovely winter day everyone started getting sores in their mouth that turned their faces into puffy pus weeping drooling nightmares. EVERYONE got it, 300 cases of soremouth. I practically lived at the barn for a month it was like a hospital at the civil war. We got quarantined because the neighbors thought we had hoof and mouth. Lost a good 2/3s of the flock and then any new stock he got would go through the same hell because he wouldn't quarantine or vaccinate them for soremouth. I left that nightmare as soon as I could and literally burned my work clothes and boots after getting of his property.
edit: I'm not trying to scare you JK, not all cases are that bad which it sounds like your girls have a very mild case.
I purchased my second breeding ewe many years ago from a farm that had soremouth. That was 6 years ago and I've never had a single case of it. He was upfront about it, and in fact had a sore on his lip where he had caught it himself. He really could not have hid it, as several of his sheep and lambs had open sores you could see and were separated from the rest of the flock (of about 200). I knew the risk of buying a sheep from him, and did it knowing what I could be getting into. I did practice a quarantine a even washed that ewe lamb first thing to try and get rid of any possible scabs that might be in her wool.
So I don't think your sheep are worthless, just let people know when you sell. I know of a breeder in CA that has CL and still sells sheep, but then again, she is upfront about it.
Well, I think it's up to the buyer to make that decision. If they don't mind purchasing from a farm that has had soremouth, they should be able to do that.
And realize that you can have soremouth appear in your flock even if you do everything "right". You can have a closed flock and have it appear. You can bring animals in only from flocks that have never had a known case and have it appear.
I think the worst thing is to give this disease some sort of "stigma" that carries with it the implication that the flock owner has necessarily done something wrong or is careless, or that it's some sort of horrible disease that no one wants to talk about. It's not scrapie!