Foot and mouth disease is a highly communicable disease that affects cloven hoofed animals, that is, cattle, pigs, sheep, goats etc. Wild cloven hoofed animals such as giraffes, bison and elephants among others have also been reported to be affected.
The disease is usually characterized by vesicles in the mouth, muzzle, teats and feet.
Once an animal is infected, the disease spreads really fast to the other animals, and is spread through direct contact or via the respiratory secretions, semen, milk, and ingestion of feed from infected animals (offal, meat, milk). People, animals and objects can act as mechanical vectors. That is, they can move the virus from one farm to another over long distances, therefore, this disease should always be notified to the Director of Veterinary Services.
The disease can cause lameness if the lesions are on the foot. Consequently, lesions on the tongue and mouth area can cause the animal to be anorexic and lead to weight loss.
Despite all this the disease does not have a high mortality.
TREATMENT, CONTROL AND PREVENTION
The best way to prevent this disease is through quarantine of sick animals and movement restrictions.
The animals should also be vaccinated against Foot and Mouth Disease.
Support treatment involves cleaning the lesions with magadi soda, sorghum and honey.