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As a farmer, are you aware that there are some highly contagious animal diseases that can affect your livestock?

I am particular about these diseases because as a veterinarian, I am very particular about the animal welfare. You will also agree with me that your livestock animals are a source of income to you and your household. So, this blog post is going to be telling you something very informative about what you need to know about Foot and mouth disease in Livestock animals.


Foot and mouth disease is a severe, highly contagious viral disease of livestock that has a significant economic impact. The disease affects cattle, swine, sheep, goats and other cloven-hoofed ruminants.

It is one of the most serious livestock diseases. Although FMD is not very lethal in adult animals, it can kill young animals and cause serious production losses.

Public Health Risk:

Foot and Mouth Disease is not readily transmissible to humans and is not a public health.


Foot and Mouth Disease is found in all excretions and secretions from infected animals. It can be spread through the following listed below:

  • Infected animals newly introduced into a herd (they can carry the virus in their saliva, milk, semen, etc.). The virus may be present in milk and semen for up to 4 days before the animal shows clinical signs of disease.
  • Contaminated materials such as hay, feed, water, milk, or biologics
  • Contaminated clothing, footwear, or equipment
  • Contaminated pens/buildings or contaminated animal vehicles
  • Virus infected meat or other contaminated animal products (if fed to animals when raw or improperly cooked).
  • Aerosol of infected animals via the respiratory or oral routes.
  • Animal that have recovered from infection may sometimes carry the virus and initiate new outbreaks of the disease.

Symptoms/ Clinical signs:

foot lesion

·       The clinical signs are fever followed by the appearance of vesicles (fluid filled blisters), between the toes and on the heels, on mammary glands and especially on the lips, tongue and palate.

·       Painful ulcers that can take up to 10 days to heal.

·       Foot lesions leave animals lame and unable to walk to feed or water

·       Tongue and mouth lesions are very painful and cause animals to stop eating.

·       Adults usually begin eating again after a few days, but young animals may become weaken and die.

·       Lesions leaves foot deformed and damage to the mammary gland

·       Other symptoms include depression, hyper salivation, growth retardation, drop in milk production and death


·       Affected animals must be given instant antibiotics which is prescribed by the Veterinarian

·       Dextrose water bottle should be provided to enable proper balance of water content.

·       Mouth and foot of the diseased animals should be washed with 1% potassium per manganite solution. Antiseptic lotion can be applied to the vesicles in the foot.

·       Diseased animals should be fed a palliative diet and they should be isolated from healthy animals.

Prevention and Control:

 It is essential for livestock owners and producers to maintain sound biosecurity practices to prevent the introduction and spread of the virus. Measures that are recommended at the farm level include:

  • Control people’s access to livestock and equipment
  • Control introduction of new animals into existing herds
  •  Regular cleaning and disinfection of livestock pens, buildings, vehicles and equipment
  • Monitoring and reporting of illness
  • Appropriate disposal of manure and dead carcasses
  • Vaccination
  • Strict quarantine and control on the movement of livestock, equipment and vehicles.

I hope with this short brief write up, you can take the necessary preventive measures at farm level.

Stay protected, keep your animals prevented and don’t forget to drop a comment in the box


  • World Organisation for Animal Health (2022) Foot and mouth disease. (Link) Accessed December 7, 2022