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Sheeppox and goatpox

Sheeppox virus and Goatpox virus
Virus classification
Group: Group I (dsDNA)
Family: Poxviridae
Genus: Capripoxvirus
Species: Sheeppox virus and Goatpox virus

Sheeppox and goatpox are diseases caused by separate viruses of the genus Capripoxvirus (Sheeppox virus, Goatpox virus, and Lumpyskin disease virus of cattle) of the family Poxviridae. These diseases have very similar clinical signs and are found in sheep and goats in Africa, Middle East, and parts of Europe and Asia. Sheeppox and goatpox are spread by direct contact and fomites and have an incubation period of 4 to 8 days.[1] Signs include fever, nasal discharge, difficulty breathing, lesions in the mouth, and skin nodules spread over the whole body, but especially evident where hair or wool is absent. Young animals are most severely affected, and mortality rates in epidemics can reach 50 percent.[2]

Sheeppox and goatpox are considered to be the most severe poxvirus diseases in domestic animals.[2] The disease is reportable in the United States and parts of Europe. A vaccine is available.

The course of the disease is 4-6 wks. If the animals survives, full recovery is expected within 3 months.

Additional recommended knowledge


Clinical Signs

  • Fever
  • Depression
  • Anorexia
  • Diarrhea
  • Arched back
  • Lymphadenopathy (enlargement of lymph nodes up to 8 times normal size)
  • Cutaneous eruptions (erythmatous areas)


Lesions occur in the lymph nodes, in the lungs (severe and extensive, distribution is focal and uniformly throughout the organ), and as pox lesions on the skin.

Pox lesions occur in two forms, the papulo-vesicular form and the nodular form.

  • The papulo-vesicular form of the lesions occurs first and is characterized as papules that may eventually desiccate and form crusts that are easily removed from the skin. In rare cases, the papules may transform into cutaneous vessicles which may then rupture and form a thick crust over the lesions.
  • The nodular form of the lesions is also referred to as Stone Pox. In this form, the papules transform into nodules which involve all the layers of the skin and subcutaneous tissue. Eventual necrosis and sloughing of these regions will result in the formation of a hairless scar.


Initial diagnosis is made from the clinical signs (skin lesions, gross pathology, and the host species affected). Diagnosis is verified in the laboratory by virus isolation.


There is no treatment available for this disease. Affected animals should be quarantined or euthanized to prevent spread. Hospitalization of sick animals should include nutritional support, alleviation of respiratory distress, and antibiotic treatment to prevent secondary bacterial infections.


Vaccinations are available in the form a live attenuated or inactivated vaccines. In enzootic regions, annual vaccination with the live attenuated vaccine is recommended. During periods of outbreaks, utilization of a ring vaccination strategy may be useful.[3][4][5]


  1. ^ Fenner, Frank J.; Gibbs, E. Paul J.; Murphy, Frederick A.; Rott, Rudolph; Studdert, Michael J.; White, David O. (1993). Veterinary Virology (2nd ed.). Academic Press, Inc. ISBN 0-12-253056-X. 
  2. ^ a b Carter, G.R.; Wise, D.J. (2006). Poxviridae. A Concise Review of Veterinary Virology. Retrieved on 2006-07-22.
  3. ^ Agricultural Department Animal Production and Health Division.
  4. ^ James A. House, D.V.M., Ph.D., Plum Island Animal Disease Center, USDA. APHIS, NVSL, Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, Greenport, NY
  5. ^ World Organization for Animal Health.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Sheeppox_and_goatpox". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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