Home > Health Issues > Farming - Foot & Mouth Disease

Farming - Foot & Mouth Disease

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 30 Aug 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Foot And Mouth Disease Symptoms Of Foot

Foot and Mouth Disease is a serious and infectious condition which affects cloven-hoofed animals which is why the farming community need to be very vigilant about it, given that it can affect sheep, cattle, goats, pigs and deer. Although it can be fatal for younger animals on a vast scale, it doesn’t affect older animals in quite as debilitating a manner but the main effects then are the disruption to the overall health of farm animals and the economic losses that can devastate farmers as a result of an outbreak.

Spotting the Signs

There are plenty of tell-tale signs that an animal might have contracted foot and mouth disease. Symptoms can vary slightly depending on the type of animal affected but common symptoms to all can include:

  • Lameness
  • Blisters on hooves or in or around the mouth
  • Raised temperature
  • Fatigue and a tendency to want to lie down
  • Reluctance to feed or to suckle the young

How is it Spread?

Animals can contract the disease by catching the virus either directly or indirectly from another infected animal. The virus itself is present in the fluid as a result of the blisters it causes and also then appears in its saliva, urine, dung, milk and even in the air it exhales. Direct contact with an infected animal can occur where animals share a pen or field or even by nose to nose contact if they are separated by a fence.

Indirect contact can occur though coming into contact with infected material from another animal, from contaminated clothing from a worker who has had contact with an infected animal and via equipment and even vehicles which have become contaminated with the virus. Even domestic cats, dogs, poultry animals and foxes can end up contaminating cloven- hoofed livestock by carrying the virus on them via their feet, fur or feathers, although they, themselves will not become infected.

What You Must Do

You must inform your Divisional Veterinary Manager (DVM) and until he/she comes to inspect the farm and the animals, you must place a ‘keep out’ sign on the premises and not move anything from the farm which could cause a spread of the disease. All suppliers to the farm, e.g. fuel or food deliveries must not be allowed onto the premises until an animal health veterinary inspector arrives and gives the all clear and any such suppliers who are already present at the farm should remain there until the animal health veterinary inspector arrives. You must also ensure that no animals can stray onto your land or can move from it.

Importance of Biosecurity

Practising good hygiene and biosecurity on a farm is always important but never more so than when an outbreak of foot and mouth disease is suspected. It’s important to keep yourself, clothing, vehicles and other equipment clean and disinfected and keep vehicle movements to a minimum. Keeping the different types of livestock separate from each other is also important. It’s also crucial to change out of your work clothes if you ever leave the premises and especially if you are going to meet people who also keep livestock or are visiting their premises although you should only make these types of visits if absolutely necessary.

What Happens Next?

If foot and mouth is confirmed, the veterinary inspector will serve a restriction notice which will tell you what you must do next and what you are not permitted to do after carrying out a range of tests on the livestock in order to minimise the risk of the disease spreading if it is confirmed. All animals which are confirmed to have contracted the virus will ultimately be humanely culled.

Further information about foot and mouth disease can be found on the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ (DEFRA) website.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Kahl Kirton
    Re: Ventilation in the Workplace
    Hi I work in a factory of about 30 people so it is not a massive factory, but we have 7 cnc milling machine and 4 cnc turning…
    26 March 2020
  • Lee
    Re: Legal Minimum Temperature in a Warehouse?
    Hi i work in a warehouse that claims we are essential workers .But is lying and we will lose are jobs if do not…
    24 March 2020
  • Ire
    Re: General Office Safety
    Hi all I looking advice for situation at my work, I reach driver at big company, Last week all trucks been broken so all VOR one got…
    22 March 2020
  • Joe
    Re: Dealing with Employee Theft
    My manager was checking cctv footage of me on the shop floor i was gathering a few things to put to one side to pay for pay day…
    13 March 2020
  • Foodpreppie
    Re: Do I Need a Hygiene Certificate to Make Sandwiches?
    What is the correct room temperature for making up sandwiches please ? I know that they should be…
    10 March 2020
  • Fishy
    Re: How Many Breaks am I Entitled to?
    Some days i do 9 hours some 10 & some 12..in a busy kitchen in a dementia care home...what are my entitked breaks please?
    6 March 2020
  • Caroline
    Re: How Many Breaks am I Entitled to?
    I work a 12hr and told only allowed 30mins thoughout the day 10 mins morning break, 10 mins lunch break and 10mins afternoon…
    1 March 2020
  • None
    Re: Dangers of Dust in the Workplace
    I work in a school very large kitchen and a warehouse I get my supplies, I have been sick since I started there its been 7…
    26 February 2020
  • Pcoop
    Re: Forklift Truck Safety
    Is it ever possible to operate forks whilst not sat in the cab. Is it law that safety device must be in place to prevent this happening.…
    26 February 2020
  • Meeee
    Re: Dangers of Dust in the Workplace
    Hey I am 6 weeks pregnant I work in a printing factory ,the amount of the dust in this place is incredible! Every time I get…
    22 February 2020