Press Bulletin No. 32.
FOOT AND MOUTH DISEASE.
[BY DR. CHARLES F. DAWSON, STATION VETERINARIAN.]
The present serious 'condition of the dairy and live
stock trade in three or four of the New, England States
brought about by the sudden appearance of the malady
known as foot and mouth disease has prompted the com-
pilation of this short bulletin. Although there -is little
likelihood of an outbreak in Florida, it must be recog-
nized that there is a possibility of such an occurrence, as
the virus can be transmitted by packing materials, har-
ness, cattle-buyers, dairy products, infected food-stuffs,
or any material which has come in contact with infected
Foot and mouth disease has existed in Europe since the
middle of the eighteenth century. It first appeared in
December 1st, 1902.
England in 1839. In the forties and fifties it spread over
all of Europe. In 1871, England and France lost 7,000
head of cattle, or i per cent of those infected. In 1883,
Great Britain had 500,000 head of cattle sick with the
disease. In the German Empire, in 1890, over 800,000
animals were infected, and in 1892 the figures ran up to
4,000,000; 3,000,000 of which cases were in Prussia alone.
The disease first appeared in the United States, according
to Law, in 1870, through an animal imported from Eng-
land to Montreal. Owing to a strict quarantine it was
soon stamped out. It appeared in South America in the
same year, first in the Argentine Republic. In Germany,
between the years 1886 and 1804, to total number of ani-
mals affected was 7,168,016, of which 2,947,555 were cat-
tle; 3,251,808 sheep and goats and 668,653 swine.
The loss in money value alone, to say nothing of inci-
dental losses was, in England, in 1883, $5,000,000. In
France, in 1871, $7,500,000; and in Switzerland, $2,-
500,000. The losses in Germany in the last serious out-
break was $25,000,000.
In view of these facts our government is warranted in
viewing with alarm the outbreak in New England, and
no doubt Congress will vote a sufficient amount of money
to put repressive measures into effect at once. Report
has it, that Mr. Wilson, Secretary qf Agriculture, will
ask for an appropriation of $1,000,000 to employ a small
army of veterinarians to inspect every susceptible animal
in the infected area. With sufficient men and money
there is little doubt that our National Bureau of Ani-
mal Industry, under which such work is carried on, will
eradicate the disease.
Foot and mouth disease is a malady peculiar to rumi-
nants, and therefore is found in cattle, sheep, goats and
also in swine. Horses, dogs, cats and birds are not so
susceptible. Of the wild animals, it affects red-deer, fal-
low-deer, chamois, camels, llamas, giraffes, antelopes,
aurochs, buffaloes and yaks. One attack confers some im-
munity. Man is infected through contact with infected
animals and by the use of dairy products. In some out-
breaks the disease isvery malignant, while in others the
losses may be very light. As a rule, it is a mild affection,
where proper repressive measures are adopted. In these
mild outbreaks the animals recover in about fifteen days,
the loss being due to shrinkage in flesh and the necessary
destruction of the milk.
The CAUSE of the disease has not yet been determined,
but it is evident that the contagion is present in the fluid
of the vesicles, discharge from the ulcers and in the nat-
ural secretions and excretions of the body, such as the
milk, saliva, perspiration, faeces, urine and exhalations.
The contagion quickly loses its virulence when dried,
and cattle lose the power of transmitting the disease when
the ulcers on the mouth parts, feet and udder have healed.
Moisture and filth prolong the activity of the virus; and
under these conditions it remains infective for two weeks.
The virus is easily destroyed by disinfectants. The disease
spreads rapidly along the lines of cattle transportation,
and singularly enough, it is said to spread most readily
from east to west. Therefore the chief agents in its dis-
semination would be cattle cars, cattle markets, dealers,
drovers, drinking troughs, infected food, dairy products
and the movement of swine along the roads. As to the
mode of the entrance of the virus, nothing is known; but
it is supposed to enter by way of the lungs and digestive
organs. It is communicable from one species to any
other. Cattle and sheep can take it from pigs; sheep
from cattle, or cattle from sheep.
As symptoms of the mild form in cattle, there are no-
ticed vesicles and ulcers on the lining of the mouth, also
on the skin at the margin of the hoof and on the skin be-
tween the toes. In from 3 to 5 days after exposure to the
diseased cattle have a moderate fever (104 degrees F)
which disappears with the appearance of the eruption.
The appetite is lost, and the mouth is kept closed. There
is dribbling of salvia and in two or three days the vesicles
yellowish white in color, and the size of a hemp seed, ap-
pear on the gums, lower surface of the tongue, lining of
the mouth and on the lips. The vesicles finally attain the
size of a silver dollar. They run together, burst
and form painful, foul-smelling ulcers. At this time, the
salvia is more profuse and ropy, and the animal makes
characteristic smacking noises with the mouth. The ani-
mals lose flesh rapidly, in some cases ioo pounds. The
milk is thick, yellowish white, has a bad taste, and is
with difficulty turned into cheese and butter. The reduc-
tion in milk yield during the sickness and for some time
after recovery, averages from 50 to 75 per cent. The dis-
ease may be inoculated into the udder by the milker.
The disease in the feet usually appears after that of the
mouth. There is first redness, heat and swelling of the
skin at its junction with the hoof, and especially between
the toes and upon the soles of the foot, on one, or may
be upon all four feet at the same time. The vesicles
spring up after a day or two on the inflamed skin and
soon burst. The animal becomes lame, moves stiffly and
lies down a great deal. These vesicles ordinarily heal in
one or two weeks. In some cases where the animal is
compelled to travel or to stand upon damp soiled ground,
the foot-disease becomes complicated with ordinary sept-
ic germs and the disease takes on extra virulence,
resulting in death of the bones, loss of the hoofs,
bed-sores and blood poisoning.
In'the malignant form of the disease, the animal may
die suddenly, or linger a few hours with difficult breath-
ing, discharge of blood from the nose, great prostration,
and die from paralysis of the heart and lungs. The dis-
ease spreads from the teats to the udder causing violent
inflammation, bloody discharge and hardening and
wasting of that organ. Vesicles may form at
the root of the horn causing them to drop off.
The entire skin, especially cf the abdoman and chest, and
even the eyes may be invaded. In some outbreaks the
losses are very slight, (from 0 to 1 per cent.) and ends
spontaneously in two to three weeks. In other outbreaks
the mortality may reach 50 per cent. in adults, and as
high as 80 per cent in sucklings. The duration of an out-
break in a herd is from four to six weeks and with a few
exceptions the animals soon recover the lost ground. In
the exceptions the delay in recovery is due to the results ot
the disease, such as emaciation, lung troubles, inflamed
udder, chronic affection of the hoof, skin eruptions and
lameness. The animals are also damaged for breeding
In sheep, goats and pigs, the disease is generally con-
fined to the feet; while in horses it appears in the mouth,
and is rare.
Children are especially liable to become infected by
drinking the milk from the affected animals, and may
die. The disease is also conveyed to man through butter
and cheese, wounds on the hands and arms and by any
intermediate bearer. The symptoms in man are fever,
disturbed digestion, the eruption of vesicles on the face,
fingers, arms, chest, lining of the mouth, throat, eyes and
diarrhea with vomiting which may end fatally in chil-
Three veterinarians once tested the communicability of
the disease by drinking the milk of an affected oow. They
were all made sick, and suffered from fever, headache
and itching of the hands and fingers, which, in five days,
was:followed by eruptions on the hands, fingers, tongue,
cheeks and lips.
The TREAlMENT consists in isolating the sick animals,
feeding them on gruel, with clean water and clean stalls,
which should be kept dry by absorbants, such as plaster of
Paris, tan, or kainite. Mouth sores should be disinfected
frequently with creolin, lysol, alum, borax, tannicacid, or
nitrate of silver. The feet should be frequently bathed in
solutions of carbolic acid, bluestone, tar or creolin. Infla-
mation of thb- udd.:r demands the application of ointments
of creolin, lysol and camphor, and with salicylic or boric
acid combined with glycerine.
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