Blister Diseases

Having just one canker sore in my mouth is painful. Livestock can have many, which can also include blisters in and around their mouth, nose, and feet.

Tony Moravec is a veterinarian with Merial and says Vesicular Stomatitis and a number of other viral diseases will cause blisters in horses, pigs, and cattle. These are the signs to look for.

"Any type of salivation around the mouth. Cattle dropping feed, pigs dropping feed, horses dropping feed out of their mouth because there’s sores in and around the mouth and it’s just a very uncomfortable disease," says Moravec. "Lameness, if they blisters between their toes, it’s a very sore and discomforting disease, and they’re not able to move freely."

Good sanitation and quarantine practices on affected farms usually contain the infection until it dies out on its own.

But if you see these symptoms in your animals, call your veterinarian right away for a diagnosis and treatment. This is important because the symptoms are similar to “foot and mouth disease”, which has no cure. It hasn’t been found in the United States since 1929, but it’s very contagious and could be just a plane ride away.

"Foot and mouth disease is currently infecting animals in parts of Southeast Asia, parts of South America. It is not in America as we know it right now, but we are on high alert. There’s a lot of people that travel and it’s a virus that can stick to the bottom of shoes," he says. "It has a way of moving around the world, and we don’t fully understand all the different routes of transmission of how it can move from place to place, but that’s why we need to be so hypervigilant."

The virus causing vesicular stomatitis can also infect handlers of infected animals. In people, it causes influenza-like symptoms such as fever, muscle aches, headache and malaise.

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