Swine Vesicular Disease - Fact Sheet

What is swine vesicular disease?

Swine vesicular disease (SVD) is a contagious viral disease of pigs characterized by fever and vesicles (fluid-filled blisters) in the mouth and on the snout, feet and teats.

The vesicular lesions are undistinguishable to the naked eye from those caused by foot-and-mouth disease (FMD). The illness varies in severity but is rarely fatal.

Is SVD a risk to human health?

No. The disease does not affect humans. However, rare cases of accidental human infection have been reported in laboratory personnel working with the virus.

What are the clinical signs of SVD?

The visible signs of this disease may easily be confused with those of FMD and include:

  • fever and loss of appetite;
  • sudden appearance of lameness in several animals in close contact;
  • limping, an uncomfortable appearance, or a refusal to move on hard surfaces;
  • vesicles (fluid-filled blisters) on the snout, feet, mouth, tongue and teats;
  • vesicular ruptures, leaving erosive lesions; and
  • foot pads may become loosened or a loss of hoof may occur.

Young animals are more severely affected. Recovery occurs usually within one to three weeks, with little to no mortality.

Where is SVD found?

SVD was first described in Italy in 1966, and it is still present in limited locations, resulting in occasional clinical cases.

SVD has never been found in Canada.

How is SVD transmitted and spread?

The disease is spread primarily through contact with infected swine, or through a contaminated environment, as the virus is extremely resistant in the environment. The virus can also survive in pork and processed pork products for extended periods of time, so the feeding of contaminated food scraps can result in transmission of the virus.

How is SVD diagnosed?

Laboratory tests are necessary to confirm a diagnosis and rule out the possibility of other vesicular diseases such as FMD.

How is SVD treated?

There is no treatment for SVD and there are no vaccines available.

What is done to protect Canadian livestock from SVD?

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) imposes strict regulations on the import of animals and animal products from countries where SVD is known to occur. These regulations are enforced through port-of-entry inspections done either by the Canada Border Services Agency or the CFIA.

SVD is a "reportable disease" under the Health of Animals Act. This means that all suspected cases must be reported to the CFIA for immediate investigation by inspectors.

How would the CFIA respond to an outbreak of SVD in Canada?

Canada's emergency response strategy to an outbreak of SVD would be to:

  • eradicate the disease; and
  • re-establish Canada's disease-free status as quickly as possible.

In an effort to eradicate SVD, the CFIA would use its "stamping out" policy, which includes:

  • the humane destruction of all infected and exposed animals;
  • surveillance and tracing of potentially infected or exposed animals;
  • strict quarantine and animal movement controls to prevent spread;
  • strict decontamination of infected premises; and
  • zoning to define infected and disease-free areas.

Owners whose animals are ordered destroyed may be eligible for compensation.

Additional information

Date modified: