Foot-and-mouth disease

Foot-and-mouth disease is one of the most important vesicular diseases.

Information

There are four vesicular diseases affecting swine that are not clinically different: foot and mouth disease, swine vesicular disease, vesicular exanthema and vesicular stomatitis.

Foot and mouth disease is considered the most contagious disease of livestock, and represents the most important restriction in international trade of animals and their produce. Essentially all hoofed animals are susceptible. 

Foot and mouth disease belongs to the Picornaviridae virus family, which has more than 60 strains classified in 7 serotypes. 


Symptoms

All ages

  • High fever.
  • Lameness.
  • Loss of appetite
  • Depression.
  • In lactating piglets sudden death is common due to heart failure.
  • Vesicles of 30 mm diameter in coronary bands, mouth, soft tissues of the legs and around the hoof. These vesicles can also been present in lactating sows’ teats.
  • Salivation and mastication movements.
  • During the first 24 hours, many of the vesicles burst, leaving erosive lesions.
  • If pigs are not slaughtered, some can completely loose the hoofs, and sows can abort buecause of the fever.
  • There can be an increase in the mortality of lactating piglets, which usually is the first sign. 

Diagnosis

Serological and PCR tests are needed. Foot and mouth disease does not differentiate clinically from the rest of the vesicular diseases. Laboratory samples must include blood, vesicular tissue and liquid, when possible. 

Control/Prevention

There is no treatment. There are some effective vaccines, but they are effective for each serotype. 

See images in the Altlas related to Foot-and-mouth disease