Ask a Question
Notify Me On Question Update
Email this Question
How can I protect my animals against foot and mouth disease?
Rate This FAQ
Although Foot (hoof) and Mouth Disease is still a foreign animal disease, producers in the United States should be aware of the disease and its symptoms and do what they can to prevent it from entering the United States.
Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) affects all cloven-hooved animals, including cattle, sheep, swine, deer, elk and goats. It does not affect horses or humans. Symptoms of the disease include blisters on the lips, in the mouth and on the feet. Sloughing of the skin then occurs, and the mouth becomes so tender that animals cannot eat. It can also cause lesions on the feet, some so severe that the hooves actually slough off (especially in swine). This becomes so painful to the animal that euthanasia is required, even in countries where FMD occurs consistently.
Consider these tips to protect against FMD. The same principles of caution apply whether you own a producer operation or you are taking your animals to a county fair.
- Control the access of people, animals and products to your animals and operation. The access of non-employees to animals can generally be controlled by fences, barriers and signs. Signs should instruct people not to enter unless authorized to do so, due to concerns for animal health.
- Verbally screen those people coming into your operation. Since two thirds of all countries carry the FMD virus, it is wise to ask everyone who comes into your operation if they have been out of the United States in the past two weeks. If not, they do not pose a threat to your operation. If they have been traveling internationally, find out what countries they have visited and when. The current concern is anyone who has travelled to the United Kingdom within the past 14 days. Other areas of concern are South America, Asia and Africa, as well as Columbia, which has three out of the seven strains of the disease. These areas have low levels of FMD that are always present.
- Do not handle livestock for five days after your return if you have travelled to a country with FMD. Be sure to shower, shampoo, use a disinfectant foot bath, wash all clothes and clean and disinfect shoes and boots. Preferably, shoes and boots used on a farm in another country should be left there and not brought home. Encourage anyone coming in contact with your animals who has travelled internationally to follow these procedures as well. The virus will not live on a person, their shoes or clothing for more than a few days. In spite of this, it is still wise to ask questions of anyone who is around your animals.
- Strictly follow the guidelines of customs or other agents if you travel internationally. Do not bring animal products into the country that are prohibited. Foreign meat and cheese products pose a special threat. The risk occurs when parts of the products are thrown into the garbage and are then fed to animals or put in a place where birds have access to them.
- Immediately begin a lock down program if there is ever an FMD outbreak in the United States. Do not let animals, people or products on your property or near your animals unless you are sure they are safe. Be sure they have gone through the disinfectant process mentioned above. Also be cautious of animal products, since they can pose as great a threat as a person or animal. Contact your veterinarian immediately if you suspect an outbreak of FMD in your own animals. Your veterinarian will then notify the state and/or federal veterinarians.
There are other diseases that look very much like FMD, and after collecting tissue samples, the veterinarians can have a diagnosis within 24 hours for you. During that time, you would be asked to put up signs to block entry and keep all people and animals off your operation until you have clearance from state or federal veterinarians.
There is no reason to panic about the possibility of an FMD outbreak in the United States, but anyone involved with animals should be aware of the disease and its prevention.
Submit Your Suggestion
Other Questions In This Topic
- How can I keep my pet safe during the holiday hoopla?
- I have a small flock of about 25 chickens. They range in age from 7-10 months. Recently I've had about 8 of them die. The first signs of a problem were blood on the outside of the egg shells. Then I noticed that several of them had bloody areas around the vent and under the tail. All but a couple of those with the symptoms have died. The few that recovered seem to be OK with 1 exception, and that hen no longer lays eggs, and has a very grungy appearance. After death, if you pick up the bird and examine it, the vent is wide open and you can see right down into the center of the bird. The last bird I found I could even see an egg yolk inside the body cavity. Could you give me a best guess as to what might be causing this and what steps I can take to relieve the problem? I noticed on one hen that I lost this week, that in the day or two before she died, she had a white runny diarrhea, didn't seem interested in eating or drinking and shortly before death she seemed to swell and have a puffy appearance. Another is the roosters, one has had all the smaller feathers around the tail pecked out, and has raw looking skin in that area, the other is missing most of the feathering on his breast. Several of the hens have no feathers in the vent area (probably from what you describe) and on the lower back just above the tail. The main thing I was wondering about is the diarrhea...when I noticed that, I did some research online, and kept coming up with pullorum, and I was wondering if that might be a problem. They say it's nearly eradicated, but occasionally shows up in a backyard flock. What are the chances of that, and what other symptoms should I watch for? If it was that, besides getting rid of the flock, what other steps would I need to take to make the coop safe for future use?
- Do you have tips for pet care in the heat?
- The recent storms have caused runoff from my animal feeding operation. What should I do?
- What can I do to protect my animals from West Nile virus?
- As a consumer, I'm concerned about mad cow disease. Can you give me information?
- My Jersey bull ate some Wal-Mart plastic bags, what can I do to help him get rid of them?
- How can I keep my pet safe in the dipping outdoor temperatures?