Hoof and Mouth Disease in Dogs

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Hoof and Mouth Disease in Dogs
Hoof and Mouth Disease in Dogs (Image: Set634_01 (Flickr Photo/brownpau))

Dogs cannot get sick from hoof and mouth disease. As the name suggests, only animals that have hooves suffer from the disease. However, dogs are capable of being carriers.

Significance

According to Steve Dale on GoodNewsforPets.com, even though dogs are not at risk of getting sick from hoof and mouth disease, there is still danger in their ability to act as carriers. That means they are contagious despite not showing any symptoms. If your dog comes into contact with the disease, he could spread hoof and mouth to any cloven-hoofed animal he encounters.

Identification

Hoof and mouth, also know as Foot and Mouth (FMD), is a highly contagious viral disease for which there is no treatment, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. FMD is generally only dangerous to cloven-hoofed animals such as cows, sheep, pigs and goats. Blisters on the mouth, feet, udders or any mucous membrane are symptoms of FMD, as are fever, loss of appetite and weight loss.

According to Sean Henahan of Access Excellence, the younger an infected animal, the higher the FMD mortality risk. If the animal survives the disease they will likely suffer weight loss, damage to their feet, decreased milk production and infertility.

Facts

According to Dale, dogs most likely carry FMD on their paws, especially if their paws are muddy. But it is possible that the disease could spread to a dog's nasal passages. FMD has an incubation period of two to eight days, according to Henahan, and it takes two to three weeks to rid an area of FMD after it's been quarantined.

History

Just because FMD can't affect a dog's body, doesn't mean it can't affect their lives. In 2001, the Crufts Dog Show in England was canceled because of a major outbreak of FMD in Europe. According Dale, the dog show's officials canceled the event because they feared the dogs or their owners could become carriers and further spread FMD.

Warning

Even though humans most often act as carriers, in rare cases humans have gotten sick from FMD. Even if you have not come in contact with livestock recently, call your doctor if you are experiencing symptoms of FMD. The disease can be present in rats, birds, wild animals and frozen meats as well as your own dog.

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