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Mycotic (fungal) dermatitis

3061

12/30/01

Etiology

A number of fungal organisms can cause skin problems in goats, but the one most often referred to is Dermatophilus congolensis. Conditions which cause damage to the skin can predispose an animal to infection. Epidemics seem to occur more often in rainy weather. It can be spread from one animal to another. In goats, the disease is termed cutaneous streptotrichosis. It appears to be more common in the young.
Symptoms
Patches of skin become red and moist; after the redness subsides there will be a discharge which dries to form yellow (or rarely) black crusts, which later may resemble warts. These will eventually form circular dome-shaped scabs. Those parts of the body that are in the most contact with water are most likely to be affected. There is usually not much itching. In young animals, there may be an infestation on the lips which is very difficult to distinguish from "soremouth" or "orf." (These diseases are much more common in sheep. "Orf" will confer complete immunity against future infection; so if the disease returns, it will not be "orf" and may be mycotic. Also, "orf" is much more contagious.)

Dermatophilus congolensis also causes a problem with the feet known as Strawberry foot rot (see Feet section). We have experienced some fairly persistent infections on the back parts of the lower rear legs during the winter, rainy months. The discharges resemble amber in color and become crusty.

Treatment
Frequently, the lesions will heal spontaneously in about three weeks. A single large dose of penicillin or LA200 ® is the treatment most often recommended. If flies or external parasites have a role in predisposing the skin to infection, insecticides can be applied as needed.
Prevention
We have had fewer fungal problems with our goats since we began annual lime sulfur spraying in late summer. The mix is 3 teaspoons per gallon of water. However, there is no proof that the spraying has actually been the cause of this.
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