Foot and Mouth Disease in Cattle 🐄ðŸĶ 

Foot and Mouth Disease in Cattle 🐄ðŸĶ 


Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) is a highly contagious viral infection that primarily affects cloven-hoofed animals, including cattle. This comprehensive guide aims to provide a deep understanding of FMD in cattle, covering its causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and control measures. FMD outbreaks can have devastating economic consequences for the livestock industry, making it essential for cattle owners and veterinarians to be well-informed about this disease.


Causes of Foot and Mouth Disease


FMD in cattle is primarily caused by the Foot and Mouth Disease Virus (FMDV), a member of the Picornaviridae family. This virus exists in multiple serotypes and can rapidly mutate, posing a significant challenge to its control. The virus is highly contagious and can spread through various means, including direct contact with infected animals, contaminated equipment, aerosols, and even via humans who have been in contact with infected animals.




Early detection of FMD is crucial for preventing its spread within cattle populations. Understanding the symptoms can help cattle owners and veterinarians take swift action:


Early Signs:

Excessive salivation: Infected cattle may drool excessively due to painful oral lesions.

Fever: Elevated body temperature is a common early sign, often exceeding 104°F (40°C).

Lameness or reluctance to move: Cattle may exhibit lameness and avoid walking due to painful foot lesions.


Oral Lesions:

Painful blisters on the tongue, lips, and gums: These blisters can make it painful for cattle to eat and drink, leading to weight loss.

Drooling of saliva: Excessive drooling is a noticeable symptom, and affected cattle often have a frothy mouth.

Refusal to eat: Due to oral discomfort, infected cattle often avoid feeding, which can lead to malnutrition.


Lesions on Hooves:

Blisters and sores on the feet: Painful lesions can develop on the hooves, leading to lameness and reluctance to walk.

Limping or lameness: Cattle may have difficulty walking, affecting their mobility and productivity.

Decreased milk production: Dairy cattle may experience a significant drop in milk production, causing financial losses for dairy farmers.




Accurate diagnosis of FMD is critical for implementing proper containment measures. Veterinarians use laboratory tests, including enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and polymerase chain reaction (PCR), to confirm the presence of FMDV in cattle. These tests are highly sensitive and specific, ensuring reliable results.




Currently, there is no specific antiviral treatment for FMD in cattle. Management focuses on providing supportive care to affected animals:


Medications Used:

Pain relievers (e.g., non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs): These alleviate discomfort, reduce fever, and improve the animal's overall well-being.

Antibiotics: These may be administered to prevent secondary bacterial infections, which can complicate the disease.

Fluid therapy: Proper hydration is crucial, especially if cattle are reluctant to drink or eat.




Preventing FMD is the most effective strategy for safeguarding cattle populations. Vaccination plays a pivotal role in FMD prevention. Various FMD vaccines are available, and their use should align with local regulations and outbreak status. Regular vaccination of cattle can significantly reduce the risk of FMD outbreaks.


Control Measures


In the event of an FMD outbreak, swift control measures are essential to limit its spread within and across cattle herds. These measures include:


Quarantine and movement restrictions: Infected cattle should be isolated, and the movement of animals should be controlled to prevent further transmission.

Disinfection of contaminated areas: Proper cleaning and disinfection of barns, equipment, and vehicles are crucial to eliminate the virus and reduce its environmental presence.

Surveillance and testing: Monitoring nearby cattle populations for FMD and conducting diagnostic tests can help identify infected animals quickly, allowing for prompt containment.


In conclusion, Foot and Mouth Disease is a highly contagious and economically devastating disease in cattle. Understanding its causes, recognizing early symptoms, and implementing effective prevention and control measures are crucial for cattle health and the sustainability of the agricultural industry. Stay informed, protect your cattle, and contribute to the well-being of the livestock sector. For more in-depth information on FMD and related topics, please visit BDVets Blog. For authoritative sources and updates on FMD, visit [the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). ðŸŪðŸŒū