Skin disease in goats (Capra aegagrus hircus): a retrospective study of 358 cases at a university veterinary teaching hospital (1988–2020)

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Background: Goats are important worldwide as a source of milk, meat, fibre and hide, and as show animals and pets. Hypothesis/objectives: To document the type, signalment associations and prevalence of skin disease in a referral hospital population. Animals: Case population at a university veterinary teaching hospital. Methods and materials: Retrospective study by searching computerised medical records of goats seen between 1 January 1988 and 1 January 2021. Key words employed were “alopecia, caseous lymphadenitis, Chorioptes, dermatitis, dermatophyte, dermatophytosis, goat, lice, louse, mange, mite, pemphigus foliaceus, Psoroptes, ringworm, seborrhea, skin”. Results: Of 1,488 records reviewed, 358 (24%) goats had skin disease recorded. Seventy-nine (22.1%) of 358 goats presented primarily for skin disease. The Nigerian Dwarf goat breed was at higher risk of developing skin disease (P < 0.0002). As goats aged, the odds for developing skin disease was higher [odds ratio (OR) = 1.07 per year, 95% confidence interval (1.04, 1.12)] as was the predilection for malignant skin tumours (P < 0.001). Sex was not associated with skin disease (P = 0.98). The most common clinical sign was exfoliative dermatitis, noted in 94 (26.4%) of 358 goats. The most common diagnoses were pediculosis, bacterial skin disease and squamous cell carcinoma. Less frequent diagnoses were Chorioptes spp. infestation, contagious ecthyma (orf), coronitis/interdigital dermatitis, demodicosis, dermatophytosis, Psoroptes spp. infestation, dermatophilosis and pemphigus foliaceus. Conclusions and clinical importance: Skin diseases are common in goats. Nigerian Dwarf goats and older goats are at greater risk of developing skin disease; Nigerian Dwarf goats had a predilection for malignant skin tumours. Clinicians should include a dermatological examination in goats regardless of the reason for presentation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalVeterinary Dermatology
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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