Sheep pox Disease in Sheep and Goats

Sheep pox disease in sheep and goats:

About this disease

  • It is an acute to chronic viral disease of sheep and goats characterized by generalized pox lesions throughout the skin and mucous membranes.
  • All breeds of sheep and goats irrespective of age and sex are affected.
  • It is possible to infect goats with sheep pox virus and sheep with goat pox virus.
  • Sheep are naturally susceptible to sheep pox. Younger sheep are more susceptible over old ones.
  • Disease occurrence period is April- June.

What are the Causes?

  • It is caused by a member of the genus Capri pox virus, pox viridae family.
  • Cutaneous lesions (crust, nodules) resulting in aerosols, saliva, faeces, nasal secretions from sick animals for 1-2 months and dried scabs at ambient temperature may be the source for spread of virus.
  • Susceptible to highly alkaline or acid PH and virus remains viable for as long as six months.
  • Virus susceptible to 56˙c for 2 hrs and 65˙c for 30 minutes.
  • The usual mode of transmission is from direct contact with the infected animal.
  • Indirect transmission by contaminated litter, fodder, water and attendants may spread the virus through mechanical ways.
  • The virus may gain entrance through wound and abrasions.
  • The virus may present in skin papules. While the affected animals rub their body on other animals, the virus is passed directly to susceptible animals.
  • The biting insects (mechanical vectors) may inoculate the virus intradermaly or subcutaneously.
  • Aerosol or droplet infection is quite possible.
  • Dog, cat etc. may mechanically transport the virus to other places.
  • The virus may pass from infected mother to the foetus through placenta.

What are the symptoms?

  • Skin papules appear in 2-5 days following temperature and first appear on the hairless parts of the skin.
  • Soon after development of papules rhinitis, conjunctivitis may be observed.
  • Papules like pock lesions appear in all the parts of the body, e.g., lips, cheeks, snout, nostril, face, ear, feet, thigh, abdomen, eye lid, neck, teat and udder.
  • The eyelids are swollen and they may completely cover the eye ball.
  • Mucopurulent discharges from eyes and nose.
  • Animals become weak, disoriented and eventually unable to stand.
  • The mucous membrane of the eyes, nose, lips, vulva and prepuce become necrotic.
  • Animals die due to the development of labored breathing as a result of broncho-pneumonia.
  • Animals that survive develop scab and shed over a period of 3-6 weeks, leaving a raw granulating area.

First aid for sheep pox:

  • Isolation of infected herds and sick animals for at least 45 days after recovery.
  • Use of disinfectants like ether (20%), chloroform and formalin (1%), phenol (2%) to prevent the transmission of disease.
  • Strict sanitary measures are to be adopted.
  • Contact nearest Veterinary Assistant Surgeon for further treatment.

Control and preventive measures:

  • Regular vaccination of animals.
  • Vaccine availability: IVPM, Ranipet, Vellore District, Tamilnadu – Sheep pox vaccine – Sheep thyroid attenuated live tissue culture vaccine – Available in 50 ml and 100 ml vials @ 60 paise per dose should be administered sub-cutaneously with the following vaccination schedule,
  • Recommended vaccination schedule:
First  vaccination at Next vaccination at Month of vaccination Dose
3months of age Yearly once Feb-March Adult – 5 ml S/c
Kids – 2.5 ml S/c
  • Isolation of infected herds and sick animals for at least 45 days after recovery.
  • Quarantine before introduction into herds.
  • Use of disinfectants like ether (20%), chloroform and formalin (1%), phenol (2%) to prevent the transmission of disease.
  • Animal traffic from the infected areas is to be prevented.
  • Proper disposal of cadavers and products.
  • Strict sanitary measures are to be adopted.
sheep pox disease
sheep pox disease

Courteasy By Tamil Nadu Agricultural University

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