Swine owners should take biosecurity precautions to avoid spread of disease

Olivia McClure  |  7/31/2017 6:05:35 PM

(07/31/17) BATON ROUGE, La. — Owners of pigs need to take precautions against Seneca Valley Virus, a swine disease that has been detected in several states.

The virus causes blisters on pigs’ noses, mouths and hooves, often accompanied by lameness, lethargy and fever. It is similar to foot-and-mouth disease and swine vesicular disease.

Only one recent case, which occurred in 2016, of Seneca Valley Virus has been reported in Louisiana. However, a recent uptick in the number of cases in other states should serve as a reminder to swine owners — including children and families who participate in 4-H and FFA livestock projects — to review their plans for keeping their animals healthy.

“Biosecurity is important,” said LSU AgCenter extension veterinarian Christine Navarre.

Biosecurity measures include purchasing animals from reputable sellers, keeping vaccinations up to date, controlling parasites, ensuring animals are properly nourished and regularly consulting with a veterinarian, Navarre said.

Newly purchased animals and those returning from livestock exhibits should be isolated from the rest of the herd for two to four weeks, depending on the situation. Navarre said a 30-day isolation period is preferred.

“This virus is endemic in some Northern states,” she said. “So owners of hogs arriving or returning from out of state should be on high alert.”

She also said it’s a good idea to disinfect footwear and hauling equipment after shows, fairs and other occasions when those items come in contact with animals from different farms.

Swine owners who notice symptoms of the Seneca Valley Virus or any illness should contact a veterinarian immediately. Sick animals should be kept away from healthy ones, and they must not be sent to market or to shows.

“This virus is similar to foot-and-mouth disease, which is a foreign animal disease contagious to other livestock,” Navarre said. “It is imperative to confirm a diagnosis as soon as possible to protect all livestock industries.”

Navarre said a useful biosecurity publication is available from the American Association of Swine Veterinarians at https://www.aasv.org/aasv/BiosecurityforYouthSwineProjects.

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