More Information on Cowpox

Symptoms of Cowpox

Cowpox symptoms are similar to the symptoms one might experience after getting the smallpox vaccine.
The most common symptom is a rash that develops where the skin touched the infected ulcer. This rash looks like one or more blisters, which then fill with pus, then form an ulcer, and eventually scab over with a thick black crust. Eventually, the rash will heal and scars will form. The rash does not spread.
Other symptoms of cowpox can include:
  • Swelling of lymph nodes
  • Red streaks from infected area to the armpit
  • Throbbing pain along the affected area
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle aches
  • Headache.

Making a Diagnosis

In order to make a diagnosis of cowpox, the healthcare provider will ask a number of questions about:
  • Current symptoms
  • History of medical conditions
  • Family history of medical conditions or illnesses
  • Recent exposure to animals
  • Current medications.
The healthcare provider will also perform a physical exam to look for signs and symptoms of cowpox. This will include a skin exam to look for the cowpox rash.
Before a diagnosis is made, the healthcare provider will consider other illnesses that can share common signs and symptoms with cowpox, including:

Treatment Options

There are currently no proven treatments that can kill the cowpox virus. Therefore, treatments focus on providing relief of symptoms as the body fights the cowpox virus. This is called supportive care.
Supportive care as treatment for cowpox can include:
  • Medications to control fever or pain
  • Antibiotics and wound care to prevent secondary infections caused by bacteria.
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