Foot-and-mouth disease is one of the most important vesicular diseases.
There are four swine vesicular diseases that are not clinically differentiated: foot and mouth disease, vesicular disease, vesicular exanthema, and vesicular stomatitis.
Foot and mouth disease (FMD) is considered to be the most contagious livestock disease and the most significant restriction factor regarding international trade of animals and animal products. Essentially, all cloven-hoofed species are susceptible.
Foot-and-mouth disease belongs to the Picornaviridae virus family of which there are more than 60 strains classified into seven serotypes.
- High fever.
- Loss of appetite
- In nursing piglets sudden death is common due to heart failure.
- Vesicles up to 30 mm in diameter on the coronary bands, mouth, soft tissues of the legs and around the hoof. These vesicles can also be present on lactating sows’ teats.
- Salivation and chewing movements.
- During the first 24 hours, many of the vesicles burst, leaving erosive lesions.
- If pigs are not slaughtered, some can completely lose their hoofs, and sows can abort due to the fever.
- There can be an increase in nursing pig mortality, which is usually the first sign.
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 fluid, when possible.
There is no treatment. There are some effective vaccines for specific serotypes.