Orf is caused by a type of virus that enters the skin, either from the soil or from infected animals, through cuts and abrasions. The symptoms include sores around the mouth, nose and feet; these can then spread to the udder and vulva.
A live vaccine is available to prevent orf but, obviously, if you don’t have orf on your holding using the live vaccine will introduce it. Feed licks are available that help to reduce the incidence of orf.
If a sheep is identified with orf, biosecurity is very important as orf is a zoonose i.e. it can be transmitted to humans.
When handling sheep with orf, wear gloves and avoid touching your face.
There are various treatments – spraying the affected areas with Terramycin. There are also oral treatments that can be given. Affected animals will benefit from being isolated and receiving a bit of TLC.
Sheep Medicine Phillip R. Scott
Sheep Health, Husbandry and Disease: A Photographic Guide Agnes C. Winter
The Veterinary Book for Sheep Farmers David Henderson
The Sheep Keeper's Veterinary Handbook Agnes Winter & Judith Charnley
Beautiful Sheep: Portraits of Champion Breeds Kathryn Dun
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