Foot-and-mouth symptoms

DEFRA has offered the latest guidance for signs of foot-and-mouth disease in livestock. Farmers are urged to keep a careful watch and report any suspected cases to the State Vet Service or DEFRA.

Signs of Foot and Mouth in Cattle:

  • Slobbering and smacking lips 
  • Shivering 
  • Tender and sore feet 
  • Reduced milk yield 
  • Sores and blisters on feet 
  • Raised temperature 

 cattle pic (1)

Tongue of steer with 1-day-old vesicle which ruptured when the tongue was drawn from the mouth

 cattle pic (2)  

Steer with 2-day-old ruptured vesicle along upper gum and several 1-day-old unruptured vesicles on the tongue

 cattle pic 3  

Two-day-old ruptured vesicles on the tongue, lower gum and lower lip of a steer. Note sharp edges to ulcerated areas.

 cattle pic 1  

A further example of 2-day-old lesions in the mouth of a steer. Again note sharp margins of lesions and red raw appearance of exposed dermis

 cattle pic 4  

Steer’s tongue with a 10-day-old lesion characterised by loss of papillae, indentation at the site of the lesion and fibrous tissue proliferation

 cattle 5  

Foot of a steer with a 2-day-old unruptured vesicle in the inter-digital space

 cattle 6  

The heel bulbs of a steer’s foot with unruptured 2-day-old vesicles

cattle 7

An 11-day-old foot lesion on the heel bulb of a steer. Note healing and under-running of horn tissue

Signs of Foot and Mouth in Sheep

  • Sudden, severe lameness 
  •  Lies down frequently and is very unwilling to rise 
  • When made to rise stands in a half-crouching position, with hind legs brought well forward, reluctant to move 
  •  Blisters may be found on the hoof where the horn joins the skin which may extend all round the coronet and in the cleft of the foot. When they burst the horn is separated from the tissues underneath, and hair round the hoof may appear damp the dental pad and sometimes the tongue

 sheep 1  

Sheeps mouth with two small unruptured vesicles at one day of age. Note blanched, glistening appearance

 sheep 2  

Two-day-old lesion on the dental pad and upper gum of a sheep. The margins of the lesion are sharp

 sheep 3  

Further examples of two-day-old lesions, in this case on a sheep’s tongue

 sheep 4  

A two-day-old lesion on dental pad of a sheep.

 sheep 4  

Two-day-old lesions in the inter-digital space and along the coronary bands of a sheep’s foot. Note blanching and swelling

 sheep 6  

Sheep’s foot with two-day-old coronary band lesion. Note the necessity to reflect the hair in order to view the lesion

 sheep 5  

Focal interdigital ulceration in a typical case of CODD with detachment of hoof horn (Credit: Ian Davies VLA Shrewsbury

Signs of Foot and Mouth in Pigs

  • Sudden lameness
  • Prefers to lie down
  • When made to move squeals loudly and hobbles painfully
  • Blisters form on the upper edge of the hoof, where the skin and horn meet, and on the heels and in the cleft
  • May extend right round the top of the hoof with the result that the horn becomes separated
  • Blisters may develop on the snout or on the tongue

 pig 1

One -day-old unruptured vesicles on the snout of a pig

 pig 2  

One-day-old vesication of a pig’s snout, gum and lips

 pig 3  

Same animal 1 day later, i.e. 2-day-old vesicles. Note necrosis of ephithelium at lesion sites.

 pig 4  

Pig’s feet with 9-day-old lesions

It is important to remember that Swine Vesicular Disease has identical symptoms to foot-and-mouth disease. Therefore anyone who sees blisters in pigs must report the sighting as suspected foot-and-mouth disease until laboratory tests prove otherwise.

Keep up to date with the latest news, industry comment and opinion by visiting our dedicated foot and mouth page – your first port of call for relevant information.

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