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Government of

Information and public services for the Island of Jersey

L'înformâtion et les sèrvices publyis pouor I'Île dé Jèrri

Foot and mouth (cattle, sheep, pigs and goats)

Notify us immediately
  • If you suspect disease call +44 (0) 1534 441600.

About the disease

Foot and mouth (FMD) is a notifiable disease. It's very infectious and will spread quickly if not controlled. It's one of the most significant infectious animal diseases.

FMD does not affect humans.


The clinical signs of foot and mouth disease are:

  • a fever
  • development of blisters, mainly in the mouth and on the feet

Other signs vary between types of animals.

Signs for cattle include:

  • reduced milk yield
  • raised temperature
  • shivering
  • lameness
  • slobbering and smacking lips
  • sores and blisters on:
    • feet
    • mouth
    • tongue

Signs for sheep include:

  • sudden and severe lameness
  • tendency to lie down more than usual
  • reluctance to move when made to stand
  • blisters on the hoof and mouth. The blisters can be very small, and hard to spot
  • a higher rate of lamb mortality or abortions
  • fatigue in young lambs
  • ewes unwilling to allow lambs to suckle

Signs for pigs include:

  • sudden lameness and may squeal loudly as it may be painful
  • tendency to lie down and be unwilling to move
  • blisters on the:
    • upper edge of the hoof where the skin and horn meet
    • snout
    • tongue
  • reluctance to feed

Protect livestock

Good biosecurity can help reduce the risk of disease spreading.

Regularly check your animals for FMD.

You should inspect all stock for signs of the disease on a daily basis (where possible). Look particularly for blisters or sores on the mouth and feet.

Do not hurry your inspection. Make sure animals are properly restrained and there's plenty of light.

How the disease spreads

Animals may catch the disease through direct or indirect contact with an infected animal.

The disease is present in the fluid inside the blisters but can also be found in the animal's:

  • saliva
  • urine
  • dung
  • milk
  • exhaled air

The disease can spread through any of the above before any clinical signs can be seen.

At the height of the disease, the virus is present in the blood and all parts of the animal's body.

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