April 2019 Issue



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Subscribe FREE now! Monthly issues with new articles and other educational information on meat goat health, nutrition, and management written by Suzanne W. Gasparotto of Onion Creek Ranch and Pat Cotten of Bending Tree Ranch. In all cases, it is your responsibility to obtain veterinary services and advice before using any of the information provided in these articles. Neither Suzanne Gasparotto nor Pat Cotten are veterinarians. None of the contributors to this website will be held responsible for the use of any information contained herein.


Goat Camp™ 2019

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Goat Camp™ 2019
Oct 28-31, 2019
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Also known as Contagious Ecthyma, Orf, and "scabby mouth," Soremouth is a virus that is part of the chicken pox family. Caused by an epitheliotropic parapoxvirus, it enters the goat's body via cuts and abrasions. Soremouth occurs worldwide, is highly contagious, and there is no known cure.

A goat infected with Soremouth appears to have fever blisters on the hairless or lightly haired parts of the its body (lips, vulva, teats, and scrotum). Soremouth can also occur on the face, ears, and coronary band above the hoof of the goat.

Soremouth is a life-threatening disease to nursing kids. Infected lips transmit the virus to the dam's teats, making her so uncomfortable that the doe often refuses to let her kids nurse. A large number of infected kids will die from starvation if they can't nurse. Once the virus appears, it is not unusual for most or all of the kids to contract Soremouth. You may have to bottle or tube feed kids who cannot nurse until the blisters dry and heal. Heavy-milking dams run the risk of developing congested udder or mastitis as they continue to produce milk but don't let kids nurse their blistered teats.

Soremouth must run its course and this can be as long as three to four weeks per goat. Goats that are immune to the virus and therefore don't contract it are are still carriers,so they can infect other goats. Most goats that survive Soremouth become immune to it and usually don't contract it again, similar to humans who have had chickenpox.

You can do several things to minimize discomfort to Soremouth-infected goats. My preferred treatment is the application of Gentian Violet to the blisters and scabs. Soremouth is highly contagious to both humans and goats, so use disposable gloves. Gentian Violet is an old-time inexpensive purple-colored liquid medication used to treat fever blisters and impetigo. It is available without prescription from a pharmacy, but it may have to be ordered and will probably be kept behind the counter. Gentian Violet dries the blisters and hastens healing. Drying scabs sometimes contain staph bacteria or screwworm maggots. Gentian Violet kills bacteria that may cause a secondary infection. Systemic antibiotics are recommended if a secondary bacterial infection exists. The purple color of Gentian Violet gives you the added benefit of being able to see which goats have already been treated. Campho-Phenique is another good product to apply topically to blisters and scabs. Campho-Phenique Maximum Strength also has antibacterial properties.

Soremouth vaccine is available over the counter (Jeffers carries it; 1-800-533-3377) but the value of using it is fiercely debated among goat producers. Because the virus is" live," as opposed to "killed" or "modified," the vaccine purposefully introduces Soremouth into the herd. Goat raisers who use this "live" vaccine administer it before breeding when there are no kids nursing dams with the hope that when kids are born and nursing, the dams will have already had the disease. However, there is no sound evidence that a vaccinated doe will pass immunity to Soremouth on to her kids. I don't use the vaccine because I think there are more negatives than positives to its use. You have to decide for your own herd.

The primary users of the Soremouth vaccine run goats on very large acreage and seldom check on them so they routinely vaccinate against Soremouth to try to avoid losing the kid crop. Goats raised under more managed conditions usually are not vaccinated. This is a generalized statement but also a fairly accurate evaluation of how this vaccine is used.

The "live" vaccine is made of ground-up scabs and is applied to a hairless area of the goat (tailweb or inside the ear) after the surface of the skin has been scratched. Within one to three days, scabs will form, signifying that the vaccine has "taken." Goats who do not develop scabs at the vaccination site probably have an immunity to Soremouth but are carriers of the virus. Humans coming into direct contact with the Soremouth vaccine usually contract the disease.

Once Soremouth is on the property, it is there to stay. Clean up of pens, pastures, and paddocks is sometimes possible by bleaching, burning, removing topsoil, and keeping animals off that particular ground for an extended period of time. The size of the area, available manpower, and cost will determine if this approach is practical. The smart goat raiser learns to cope with Soremouth. A good bio-hazard management practice is to require that all visitors to your property place the soles of their shoes in a shallow pan filled with a small amount of bleach.

For many goat raisers, a reasonable case can be made to decide not to vaccinate and instead let Soremouth run its course, using supportive therapy included here. This is particularly beneficial if there are no nursing kids in the herd when infection occurs. Unless a herd is closed and isolated from other goats, at some point in your career, you will encounter Soremouth. Be prepared to deal with this disease.

There is a lesion that mimics Soremouth that can occur on goats in areas like West Texas, where plants with thorns and briars widely grow. Pearmouth mimics Soremouth in appearance, but doesn't produce the blisters and seepage accompanying Soremouth lesions and isn't an illness. Pearmouth usually appears at the corners of the mouths of kids and adults who have been searching for and eating new green plants that they find underneath yucca and cactus during extremely hot and dry weather.

Suzanne W. Gasparotto, ONION CREEK RANCH, Texas 4.1.19



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GoatCamp™ 2019 TO BE HELD OCTOBER 28-31, 2019 -- SIGN UP NOW

Join us for the 18th annual GoatCamp(tm) at Onion Creek Ranch near Briggs, Texas (northwest of Austin about 20 miles south of Lampasas off US 183). To be held Oct 28-31, 2019, GoatCamp(tm) is an all breed educational event designed for anyone who is raising meat goats. Newbie or established goat raiser, you will learn more in four days than you will in four years on your own.

Learn about:

  • Management
  • Breeding, Kidding, Kid care
  • Tubing, injections
  • Nutrition, Balancing and formulating rations
  • Hoof trimming, hoof care
  • Necropsy
  • Tattooing, ear tagging
  • Diseases affecting goats
  • Health care, deworming, and vaccinations
  • Drawing blood, disease testing
  • FAMACHA training, reading fecals
  • Selecting goats for breeding, market sales, etc
  • Marketing your animals
  • Routine handling, restraints
  • Humane slaughter demonstration
  • Private Property rights
  • and much more, all on a working goat ranch.

The GOATCAMP™ Instructors

  • MARK SWENING, D.V.M., VETERINARIAN, Coleman, Texas Vet Clinic

* The GoatCamp™2019 Intern Program is now accepting applications for a limited number of Internships. Interns receive free tuition in exchange for helping with the work at GoatCamp™. Persons with little to no experience with goats are encouraged to attend as paying students; much of the work of an Intern has to do with the operation of GoatCamp™ and not directly with goats. If you are interested, please send your resume to onioncreek@tennesseemeatgoats.com. I'd like to know about you and why you'd like to become an Intern.

* GoatCamp™2019 is limited to 25 students. The new ranch cannot accommodate additional students.

* Classroom instruction alternating with hands-on work with Onion Creek Ranch goats.


Registration Form ONLINE on the GoatCamp™ page at www.tennesseemeatgoats.com http://www.tennesseemeatgoats.com/GoatCamp/index.html.

For additional information, contact Suzanne Gasparotto 512-265-2090 or email me at onioncreek@tennesseemeatgoats.com


My name is Christy Dalros. I attended Goat Camp™ in October 2016. A few weeks ago, I noticed one of my does was not acting like her normal self. She had recently given birth to triplets and had been fine up until then. I check eyes at least weekly and she had good pink membranes prior. When I checked her eyes that day she was at a 4 on the FAMACHA scale. I immediately took a fecal sample and her count was extremely high. I began deworming her but she went down to a 5 on the FAMACHA scale soon after and developed bottle jaw. I have been so worried but I have run fecal samples on her weekly and continued deworming. I started her on daily iron and B-12. I also started giving her all the alfalfa she wanted for the added protein. I am happy to say that today she had no signs of bottle jaw and her eyes were at a 3 on the FAMACHA scale.

I wanted to thank you for the opportunity to attend Goat Camp.™ Without your class, I would not have known what to do. I lost more than 10 goats last year by this time and because of the training GoatCamp™ gave me, I am happy to say that ALL of my goats are thriving. I run my own fecal tests, something I would never have known how to do without Goat Camp™, and I refer to your articles and the notes from GoatCamp™ regularly. Thank you so much for the knowledge you shared. You have helped me more than you can possibly know.

BendingTree Ranch TexMaster Goats

Breeding age Myotonics, TMG’s, TexMasters™ as well as nice commercial crosses available year round. Contact us for your breeding stock needs.

Pat Cotten 501-679-4936
Bending Tree Ranch located near Greenbrier, Arkansas

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