Swine vesicular disease: how to spot and report it

The signs of swine vesicular disease, what to do if you suspect it in your animals and measures to prevent its spread.

Applies to England, Scotland and Wales

Swine vesicular disease affects pigs.

It does not affect humans, although there have been some isolated cases of accidental infection of laboratory personnel working with the virus.

The last outbreak in Great Britain was in 1982. There are no current cases or control zones in the UK.

Signs of swine vesicular disease

Swine vesicular disease can be confused with foot and mouth disease. If you suspect swine vesicular disease, you must report it.

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) will manage the condition as suspected foot and mouth disease until laboratory tests prove otherwise.

The main sign of the disease is blisters (vesicles). These appear:

  • at the top of the hooves
  • between the toes
  • occasionally on the snout, tongue and lips

Other signs include:

  • lameness due to foot blisters
  • loss of appetite
  • fever

Some infected pigs may not show any signs of the disease.

Report swine vesicular disease

If you suspect swine vesicular disease in your livestock, you must report it immediately by calling:

Swine vesicular disease is a notifiable animal disease. This means if you do not report it, you’re breaking the law.

APHA vets will investigate any reports. Find out what happens when a notifiable disease is suspected or confirmed.

How swine vesicular disease is spread

The disease can be spread when pigs:

  • come into contact with infected pigs or their faeces or body fluids
  • eat infectious meat or meat products
  • come into contact with anything contaminated with the virus including:
    • people and their clothing
    • vehicles and equipment

Preventing and controlling swine vesicular disease

You can help prevent swine vesicular disease with good hygiene and biosecurity on your premises.

Find out more about preventing animal disease and how the government will control an outbreak in:

Published 26 August 2014
Last updated 13 September 2023 + show all updates
  1. Updated the latest situation information: there are no current cases or control zones in the UK.

  2. Following further official testing swine vesicular disease has been negated at a premises near Feltwell, Kings Lynn and West Norfolk, Norfolk and the 10km Temporary Control Zone has been revoked. The premises remains under restriction pending the outcome of further tests.

  3. Following suspicion of vesicular disease in pigs, and as a precaution to prevent the spread of disease, a 10 km Temporary Control Zone has been declared around a premises near Feltwell, Kings Lynn and West Norfolk, Norfolk.

  4. Contact details for reporting a notifiable disease updated.

  5. AHVLA documents have been re-assigned to the new Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).

  6. First published.