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Seneca Valley Virus

Keep an eye out for blisters on your pigs
Photo courtesy of Iowa State University

Swine producers large and small need to be on the lookout for the Seneca Virus-A, or Seneca Valley Virus. The number of cases has been on the upswing, and the reason this disease is so important is because it looks just like foot and mouth disease. We haven’t had foot and mouth in the United States since 1929, but it is active in other countries. If it shows up here, it would be devastating to agriculture.

Paul Sundberg is the executive director of the Swine Health Information Center. He says the Seneca Valley Virus gets into the skin and causes lameness, general symptoms of illness, and blisters.

"Primarily those blisters happen around the nose and around the mouth. They also get into what’s called the coronary band, which is right above the hoof and in-between the toes," says Sundberg. "It causes erosions when those blisters rupture, so you might not necessarily even see a blister, you might see erosions where those blisters popped. Those are the kinds of things that you look for and if you see that, you’ve got to call for help."

Producers and veterinarians have to follow state and federal foreign animal disease response control protocols until foot and mouth disease can be ruled out.

Sundberg says the virus might be spread from pig-to-pig through feces and saliva.

"If there’s a scratch or an abrasion on the hoof, for example, and it’s in the environment it can get in that way," he says. "But most often, we think that it is spread orally and gets into the tonsil of the pig to begin with and sometimes may sit there and be quiet for a long time until the pig’s put under stress."

There is no vaccination for the disease, so take preventive measures to avoid spreading the virus.

Learn more about the Seneca Valley Virus

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