FMD is a severe, highly communicable viral disease of cattle and swine. It also affects sheep, goats, deer and other cloven-hoofed ruminants.
The disease is characterized by fever and blister-like sores on the tongue and lips, in the mouth, on the teats and between the hooves. Many affected animals recover, but the disease leaves them weakened and debilitated.
Although horses are not affected by FMD we must all takes steps to protect animals from serious diseases including:
- limiting access to animals,
- closely monitoring the health of your animals and immediately reporting any suspicion of illness to a veterinarian,
- farm workers or visitors who have recently been in countries where FMD has been detected should not be allowed access to livestock for at least five days after entering Canada,
- ensure that all farm family members and any other workers are fully aware of farm biosecurity protocols, and report if they have visited, or are planning to visit, another farm.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is reminding everyone that owns or takes care of animals including veterinarians of the pivotal role they play in protecting animals from serious diseases such as FMD, which has been kept out of the country for over half a century.
The recent outbreaks of FMD in Japan and South Korea are strong reminders of the importance of practising sound on-farm biosecurity. Both countries had been considered free of FMD - Japan since 2000 and South Korea since 2002.
In Canada, FMD is a reportable disease under the Health of Animals Regulations, and all cases must be reported to CFIA.