Diagnosing foot-and-mouth disease

The clinical signs of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) are similar to those of a number of other animal diseases.

Diseases that are clinically indistinguishable from FMD include:

  • vesicular stomatitis
  • swine vesicular disease
  • vesicular exanthema.

Other differential diagnoses include:

  • senecavirus A
  • rinderpest (now eradicated)
  • bluetongue
  • peste des petits ruminants
  • mucosal disease
  • bovine papular stomatitis
  • bovine ulcerative mammalitis
  • pseudocowpox
  • bovine malignant catarrh
  • contagious ecthyma ('scabby mouth')
  • infectious bovine rhinotracheitis/infectious pustular vulvovaginitis
  • scalding, wetting, contact dermatitis, photosensitisation
  • photosensitisation
  • mouth lesions in pigs from hot feed
  • laminitis, hoof abscess, footrot (e.g. from bad floors, new concrete, mud).

FMD can only be confirmed or ruled out through laboratory testing of samples taken from infected animals. Biosecurity Queensland staff will advise you on how to correctly collect, decontaminate and submit samples for testing. You may be asked to collect samples of:

  • vesicular fluid
  • epithelial tissue tags
  • pharyngeal scrapings
  • sera.

Samples must be submitted to the Biosecurity Sciences Laboratory in Coopers Plains, Brisbane. The Biosecurity Sciences Laboratory tests the samples in parallel with the Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness in Geelong, Victoria.

All suspected cases of FMD must be investigated. If you suspect an animal has FMD, you must call Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23. Biosecurity staff will advise you about biosecurity measures, sampling, and testing.

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