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What Causes Warts on a Goat's Mouth?

| Updated September 26, 2017

Causes of Warts

There are several possible causes of warts appearing on a goat's mouth. If they are papillomatosis (common warts), they are likely to fall off on their own. However, the most likely cause is a disease called Soremouth (also known as Orf or Ecthyma), that affects the sheep and goat population. Soremouth can result in warts on the mouth, teats and udders.


Soremouth is highly contagious, and according to a sheep and goat expert at the University of Maryland Extension Service, it is the most common sheep and goat skin disease, affecting approximately 40% of sheep and goat flocks.

Transmission (How it Spreads)

The virus lives in dirt and spreads easily through contact with sores. Young and old goats are the most susceptible. Kids (young goats) will often acquire it from their surroundings (this can include feed or fences), and then spread it to their mothers through suckling. Kids can die of Soremouth. However, once a goat has recovered from it, they are immune for approximately one year. Be aware that is also contagious to humans.

Signs and Diagnosis

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the signs include the appearance of infectious sores on the mouth that later scab and become crusty.

Treatment and Prevention

Soremouth, like papillomatosis warts, will eventually clear up on its own. The scabs will dry and fall off. Care should be taken that secondary infection does not set in. For prevention, the CDC recommends maintaining a healthy herd, not allowing diseased animals in, and not taking a diseased animal to a show where it might infect other herds.