Dermatophilosis Management in Goats: Disease Symptoms, Treatment, Diagnosis, and Prevention

Dermatophilosis, also referred to as cutaneous streptothricosis, strawberry foot rot, or chunky wool, is a chronic, exudative, and occasionally proliferative skin disease that affects domestic ruminants, wild animals, and occasionally humans. The disease is caused by the bacterium Dermatophilus congolensis, commonly found in soil, water, and animal skin. Crusty scabs and pustules characterize Dermatophilosis and lesions on the skin, particularly in areas of the body with high moisture content, such as the legs, neck, and head. 

Dermatophilosis Management in Goats

Dermatophilosis Management in Goats

Causes of Dermatophilosis Disease

Dermatophilosis is caused by the Dermatophilus congolensis (Bacteria), a gram-positive, nonacid-fast, facultative anaerobic actinomycete. This bacterium is common in soil, water, and animal skin and can infect many domestic and wild animals and humans.

Occurrence of Dermatophilosis Disease

Dermatophilosis is a worldwide disease that occurs in both domestic and wild animals and occasionally in humans. The disease is more common in tropical and subtropical regions. High humidity and wet conditions provide an ideal environment for the growth and spread of the causative bacterium, Dermatophilus congolensis.

The bacterium is believed to be a saprophyte of soil, meaning it lives off dead organic matter. It can persist in dry scabs and crusts for up to 42 months, making it difficult to eradicate from contaminated environments. Dermatophilus congolensis has been reported from many countries but occurs particularly in humid climates and areas where ticks of the genus Amblyomma are endemic.

Other factors that can contribute to the development of dermatophilosis include poor animal husbandries practices, such as overcrowding and poor hygiene, as well as environmental factors, such as high humidity and wet conditions. These factors can create an environment conducive to the growth and spread of Dermatophilus congolensis, increasing the risk of infection in animals.

Disease Cycle of dermatophilosis in Goat

The disease cycle of dermatophytosis in goats begins with exposure to the causative bacterium, Dermatophilus congolensis, which can occur through direct contact with infected animals and indirectly through mechanical vectors such as ticks and other ectoparasites. The infection can also be transmitted through intradermal inoculation by contaminated thorny bushes or other sharp objects.

Once the bacteria have entered the goat’s skin, they multiply and spread, leading to the characteristic lesions, scabs, and crusts associated with dermatophilosis. The pathogenesis of the disease may be influenced by various factors, including mechanical injury to the skin, rainfall, tick infestation, concurrent diseases, and stresses that compromise the host’s immune system.

As the infection progresses, the scabs and crusts may become more widespread, covering larger areas of the skin and leading to hair loss, itching, and discomfort for the goat. In severe cases, the disease can lead to weight loss, reduced milk production, and other systemic effects that can impact the health and productivity of the animal.

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