Atypical parapoxvirus infection in sheep

Geoffrey W. Smith, Gail Scherba, Peter D. Constable, Vincent Hsiao, Melissa J. Behr, Dawn E. Morin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This report describes the clinical and laboratory findings for 5 sheep from 3 different flocks with extensive proliferative skin lesions grossly resembling warts on the distal limbs. The lesions affected the front and rear extremities in all sheep, and 2 sheep also had lesions around the head. The sheep exhibited signs of pain when the lesions were touched, and most sheep were reluctant to move. Various empirical treatments, including systemic antibiotics, topical antibiotics, and antifungal ointments, were administered without clinical improvement. Diagnostic tests including skin biopsy and histopathology, examination of skin scrapings, bacteriology, mycology, electron microscopy of lesions, and immunohlstochemical analysis demonstrated that the lesions were the result of parapoxvirus infection. All 5 animals were euthanized either because of the lack of resolution of clinical signs or a decision by the owner. These animals illustrate an atypical presentation of parapoxvirus infection in sheep (orf, contagious ecthyma, and scabby mouth). The infection appeared to be minimally contagious, however, the lesions did not spontaneously resolve. This appears to be the 1st report of such lesions in multiple sheep in North America, although similar lesions have been reported in Israel and the United Kingdom.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-292
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of veterinary internal medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2002


  • Contagious ecthyma
  • Dermatology
  • Orf
  • Ovine
  • Warts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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