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Canadian Pig Farmers on Alert Following Upsurge of Seneca Valley Virus in US

1 September 2016, at 12:00am

CANADA - A Veterinary Epidemiologist with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development is encouraging pork producers be watching for symptoms of Seneca Valley Virus and to report any signs of the infection immediately, writes Bruce Cochrane.

Seneca Valley Virus in swine is not considered to be a production limiting disease and any infection tends to run its course quickly however the resemblance of its symptoms to Foot and Mouth Disease is cause for vigilance.

Dr Julia Keenliside, a Veterinary Epidemiologist with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, told Alberta Pork's August Telephone Town Hall last week, there has been an upsurge in Seneca Valley Virus in the United States over the last few weeks.

Dr Julia Keenliside-Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development:

Last year at this time we saw the big upsurge in cases in the US and Seneca Valley Virus, too remind you, is a virus that looks like Foot and Mouth Disease.

It causes blisters on the mouth and the feet of pigs.

Because Foot and Mouth Disease is one of these huge scary reportable trade diseases where we shut down plants and farms, we have to really diligent in reporting blisters of any kind and making sure we can differentiate that it is Seneca Valley Virus and it's not Foot and Mouth.

One of the first symptoms of Seneca Valley Virus is either blisters on the mouth or the feet but often you see lameness first, before you get close enough to check.

I know it's hard to check the feet of pigs, especially in assembly yards or on trucks but it's something we should all do if we suspect that our pigs are a little more lame than they should be and keep our eyes peeled certainly for any signs of Seneca Valley Virus at this time of the year.

Dr Keenliside acknowledges there is a lot to be learned about Seneca Valley Virus, including how it's spread and how the blisters show up.

Although the infection itself does not cause major health issues in pigs, she encourages anyone who observes blisters of any kind to report the situation.

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