How to Naturally Cure Sore Mouth in Goats

Greetings, fellow animal lover! Who doesn’t want to have well-fitted animal friends? We all want our beloved animals fellow always happy and healthy. For whatever reason we are keeping them, we are responsible for their well-being. The happy animal makes a happy owner/farmer and vice versa. That applies to all animals, including our beloved goats.

Talking about goat again, have you know that you can raise goats as pets and even having them in your backyard? Because, yup, you can. Or maybe you are more interested in farming goat, like raising dairy goats for profit from their milk? It’s also cool because goat farming is one promising business, you know. Either way, surely we want our goats to be happy and healthy, but sometimes shit happens. One of them is this disease that might strike on goats called sore mouth. First time hearing it or already familiar with it? Here we are going to talk about how to naturally cure sore mouth in goats.

Oh, before we talk about how to treat this disease, let’s find out what is this sore mouth first.

What is a sore mouth?

Also known with several names including orf, scabby mouth, contagious pustular dermatitis, as well as contagious ecthyma, the sore mouth is an infectious, viral disease of goats and sheep worldwide. Sore mouth causes skin lesions and forms painful, thick scabby sores that are not only on the lips, but also muzzles, ears, eyelids, and nostrils. Though less commonly happen, the blisters also occur in genitalia, udders, and feet of infected animals.

Note that sore mouth is zoonosis, means that this disease can be transmitted to humans.

Why does it happen?

As mentioned above, sore mouth is a viral disease, means it caused by a virus called orf virus. This virus can be transmitted to susceptible goats by virus-containing scabs from infected animals that fall off; the virus remains viable in the environment and becomes a source of infection to other goats. The infection occurs through contaminated fomites, like bedding or feed, as well as by direct contact. Young goats or kids (less than 2 months) are more susceptible to get infected because they are likely to haven’t been previously exposed to the virus and their immune systems are still developing. 

What is the symptom?

The symptoms are hardly seen unless the blister starts to form. About a week after the initial infection, kids usually have a raised temperature followed by the development of spots, pustules, and scabs at the infection site. The development pattern of the virus takes place in a period of about 2 months.

Because there are some other diseases that also cause pustular lesions on the mouth include blue-tongue disease, pox, and bacterial dermatitis, laboratory tests may be used for confirmation. Self-diagnosed is dangerous, even for our goats, okay?

Now that we know a little more about the sore mouth, let’s do our best to keep it away from our beloved goats. 

How to prevent it?

A wise man once said that prevention is better than cure. Biosecurity, quarantine, and hygiene are the keys to prevent this disease happen on your farm. Action like removing the thorny plant from grazing areas can reduce the possibility of mouth/muzzle cuts from your goats, hence lessen the possibility of sore mouth infection. Don’t forget to always quarantine newly purchased goats until the sore mouth can be shelved before putting them together with your current herds, and once you see the clinical sign of infected goats, house them away from virus-free goats to prevent further spread.

The annoying part is that the orf virus can survive in dry environments for many years. It is presumed that the virus can stay in shelters, beddings, as well as on handling equipment. Therefore, good farm hygiene is important. Make sure to clean all shelters, beddings, and equipment thoroughly. Also, practice good hygiene by always using gloves and washing your hands thoroughly after petting the goats and handling their equipment. 

Some vaccines might be able to help in prevention, but it is only suggested for previously infected goats and only vaccines your goats after consulting the veterinarian!

How to cure it?

Currently, there is no approved specific treatment for this disease. In most cases, sore mouth is a benign, self-limiting disease and can naturally cure itself. Goats infected with sore mouth usually heal completely without scars in months after it runs its course. However, in very young animals, this sore mouth can be persistent and even fatal, also in severe cases, secondary infections may extend that period.

Though sore mouth eventually heals by itself, we can’t just stand and wait, can we? Here are some measures to cure sore mouth in goats:

  • Every infected goat should be kept and fed separately from symptom-free herds.
  • Treat infected goats with local antiseptics to prevent and cure secondary infections.
  • Pain relief might help your goats to eat with less pain.
  • Because feed intake may be depressed, give your goats a soft textured food and assist them on their feeding time so they don’t lose weight and weaken. This supportive treatment is even more necessary to be undertaken for young kids that are unable to feed well.
  • Few traditional herbal therapies have been attempted to naturally cure sore mouth in goats all over the world, including plant oils from sesame, the juice from Euphorbia spp., rock salt, and common holly plant (Ilex aquifolium) in France and Netherlands. The using of betadine is especially common in Indonesia.

You might want to discuss your fellow goat owner/farmer, as well as the vet to know what works best for your goats. We sincerely hope that your goats are always healthy. Good luck!