Sore Mouth

A.G.

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Hello everyone,

I am new to owning sheep and I would really appreciate some advice on sore mouth. I purchased a bred ewe and she gave birth to twins at the end of May. Less than 24 hours after giving birth I noticed what looked like a small zit on the mouth of one of the lambs. I called a large animal vet and he said that the babies most likely wouldn't have been able to contract sore mouth that fast. He thought maybe a foxtail and pricked the lamb's mouth and it was just irritated. He wanted me to put idodine on it and see if it helped. It did help, but then the lamb ended up getting more. And then obviously the other lamb got it as well and now they have major scabs all over their face (it looks like sore mouth to me!). But the ewe hasn't had any problems with mastitis and the lambs nurse really well. Is it possible that the ewe was a carrier for this strain of sore mouth and it doesn't affect her?

I also worry about disinfecting everything. I read that you can contract it so I have been very careful about wearing gloves and washing my hands. If it is such a hardy virus that can live in the environment for so long, how do you clean everything? With bleach perhaps? They aren't in an enclosed barn, there is an overhang that they sleep under but then they are just out and about in a fenced-in area for the rest of the day.

And sorry, one more question. What does this mean for any more lambs that I want to have? Since it is in the environment now, does that mean if I have any more lambs that they will contract it too since it can live in the soil for so long?

This newbie would appreciate any help, thank you!
 

mysunwolf

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We have soremouth here as well and got it a similar way, from ewes that were carriers and passed it to all the lambs. The ewes have never shown any signs of sores themselves. We haven't had any serious complications from it yet (that's a big "yet").

It lives in the soil, so unless they have been in a barn or dry-lot, they are likely to have shed it onto the pasture, and I can't think of a way to clean it except for time. I've found that just washing my hands after touching sheep with active sores prevents the spread to me (I've had it three times now, but it came from not knowing what I was looking at).

Future lambs may or may not get it. We've had some that we brought in that never got it, and others that got it very badly. The majority of the lambs born on the farm get it, but some do not.

Hopefully your case will continue to be a mild one, and it will only have one consequence: ruining baby lamb photo shoots, as many shepherds know ;)
 

Sheepshape

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I entirely agree with mysunwolf. We have had quite a lot of lambs affected in some years and it is endemic here, and have had lambs which look a scabby mess,but they have recovered without scarring.

Over here there is a vaccine called Scabivax, given at birth (scratched under arm with a special applicator) which is designed to avoid the problem, but the applicator is difficult to use accurately and some lambs get too much,some none, I suspect.A local farmer swears by rock salt....I'm not sure what that really does,though.

Don't worry too much, though, accept it's there, use purple spray on the scale if they look infected, and wait for it to pass.

If there are affected lambs I wear gloves as I had orf on my finger and a massive rash all over my body related to it. All healed without scarring,too.
 

A.G.

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Thank you both for your replies, that helps me out a great deal understanding sore mouth a little better!
 

The Old Ram-Australia

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G'day,the following is an old recipe from a book printed in the 1970's.We used it with good success when we had a mobile baby farm animal business.
To 1 pint of Apple Cider Vinegar ,dissolve 1 desert spoon of Copper Sulfate.Place in an open top jar and dip the lambs/goats mouth into it to wet the region for 2 successive days ,or until you can see that its starting to "dry up".T.O.R.
 

A.G.

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G'day,the following is an old recipe from a book printed in the 1970's.We used it with good success when we had a mobile baby farm animal business.
To 1 pint of Apple Cider Vinegar ,dissolve 1 desert spoon of Copper Sulfate.Place in an open top jar and dip the lambs/goats mouth into it to wet the region for 2 successive days ,or until you can see that its starting to "dry up".T.O.R.

Thank you for the great tip!
 

SheepGirl

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My sheep lived at my neighbor's from 2006-2012. No soremouth ever. Lambing season 2013 comes around and 2 or 3 out of 4 of my lambs had scabs on their noses. No where else. Not on ewes. A lamb born 2 months later never contracted it. Don't know what caused it. 2014 & 2015 -- no issues whatsoever. The guy I bought my ram (sire of 2013/2014 lambs) from is a veterinarian and said that he didn't think it was soremouth and it was likely a bacterial infection or something. I would have to go back and reread the email. This is a photo of one of the lambs.

DSCN0069.JPG
 

A.G.

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SheepGirl,

Thank you for posting that picture, I wish I had taken a picture of the lambs to put up on here to see what you all thought. I had to wonder about maybe a bacterial infection too, as the veterinarian I spoke to didn't seem to think it was sore mouth because it came on so quickly (the morning after they were born). It took about a month, but they seem all cleared up by now and are doing great. Is it still possible for humans to contract the virus even after the scabs are all cleared up? Like from touching an object that the lambs put their noses on or something? The only reason I really worry is I have children that love to help with the sheep. I have obviously been keeping them away from the sheep for some time now since those scabs popped up.
 

mysunwolf

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Hm, I always wish I had some photos of the really bad soremouth cases... I'll have to try to remember next year.

Here's my young ram with the beginnings of a very mild case of soremouth.

DSC_9032.JPG
 

purplequeenvt

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This is a mild case of sore mouth right in the middle of the infection. These are a set of twins who were some of the only lambs to get sore mouth a couple years ago.





 
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