Foot-and-mouth Disease (FMD) is a highly contagious virus that affects cloven-hoofed animals such as cattle, pigs, sheep, and goats. Fever, blisters, and vesicles in the mouth, teats, udder, and on the skin between the toes and above the hoofs are all symptoms. Harsh hair coats and malformed hooves frequently accompany recovery from the condition. In India, the Disease is prevalent and a major livestock industry concern.
The virus can spread through direct contact, contaminated water, manure, hay, and pastures, as well as through infected livestock handlers and carriers such as field rats, porcupines, and birds. It is also known to persist in recovered animals. To prevent the spread of FMD, it is important to maintain proper hygiene and biosecurity measures and promptly identify and isolate infected animals.
Foot and Mouth Disease Management in Cattle
Causes of Foot and Mouth Disease in Cattle
The foot-and-mouth disease virus causes foot-and-mouth Disease (FMD) in cattle (FMDV). The virus belongs to the Aphthovirus genus and the Picornaviridae family. It is very common and spreads quickly when sick animals come into close contact.
Disease Cycle of Foot and Mouth Disease
Direct contact with sick animals and their discharges or indirect contact with contaminated feed, water, or equipment, are all effective means of transmission. Droplets carried by the wind, contaminated clothes or shoes, or the movement of infected animals are all potential vectors for the spread of the virus. Clover-hoofed animal populations are more susceptible to this illness because they thrive in overcrowded, unclean environments.
What Are the Symptoms of Foot and Mouth Disease?
Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in cattle is characterized by various symptoms affecting infected animals’ mouths and feet. These symptoms include:
- Fever: The temperature of affected animals can rise to 104-105°F.
- Profuse salivation: The infected animals may drool excessively, resulting in ropes of stringy saliva hanging from their mouth.
- Vesicles: Vesicles or fluid-filled blisters may form in the mouth, nose, teats, and feet.
- Lameness: Affected animals may exhibit lameness, shaking, or kicking of the feet.
- Crossbred cattle are highly susceptible to FMD, and The condition begins with dullness, anorexia, and a decrease in milk output.
- Excessive salivation, serous nasal discharge, and vesicle formation are additional symptoms of the disease, which may also lead to abortion in pregnant cows and death in young calves.
- The course of an FMD infection typically lasts 2 to 3 weeks, although secondary infections can delay recovery.
Diagnosis of Foot and Mouth Disease
- Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) diagnosis in animals is performed through laboratory tests, including RT-PCR assay, serology, or virus isolation. It is essential to confirm the diagnosis as the clinical signs of FMD are similar to other diseases.
- Tissue samples, such as vesicular epithelium or fluid, are collected for testing. Serologic tests determine past or present infections and certify animals for trade.
- Real-time RT-PCR assay is the most commonly used laboratory test for FMD. Antigen ELISAs and genome sequencing can also be performed for serotyp