Challenges in the diagnosis and management of skin diseases in alpacas, goats, pigs and sheep

Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issue (Academic Journal)peer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The primary aim of this article is to provide an overview of several selected skin conditions in livestock species. Topics include ectoparasites in alpacas, antler velvet in reindeer, immune-mediated disease in goats, ectoparasites in pigs, Culicoides allergic dermatitis and parapox infection in sheep. When dealing with skin disease in livestock, it is important to collect a detailed history and undertake a thorough clinical examination to include the axilla, groin, limbs and feet. While the diagnosis will often be anticipated from the history and presentation, it is important to consider a differential diagnosis list and appropriate diagnostic testing before embarking on a poly-pharmacy approach to "rule out" causes of disease. This is particularly important where morbidity is high and the livestock of perceived high value to the keeper/owner, such as goats and small-breed pigs, or when the skin condition is long standing/chronic. Ideally, the management plan should sequentially clarify the role of microbial infection and then ectoparasites before considering less common allergic and autoimmune conditions. Skin cytology is an invaluable in-house diagnostic method that can support the findings of culture. Taking skin samples for histopathology and possibly culture may prove valuable once other diagnostic methods have been explored. Given the need to protect the use of parenteral antimicrobials, topical antimicrobial therapies can be deployed successfully. The repeated use of macrocyclic lactones (avermectins) must be balanced in terms of the risks of promoting anthelmintic resistance versus controlling or eradicating the ectoparasites that have, ideally, been specifically identified.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S86-S94
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Issue numberS1
Early online date18 Mar 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
I am very grateful to Karen Moriello, Professor Emerita, University of Wisconsin, for reading the article and veterinary colleagues for sharing images. I declare that there were no conflicts of interest or external funding in the preparation of this manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 American Veterinary Medical Association. All rights reserved.


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