Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in the Hedgehog

Filed Under: Pocket Pets, Diseases, Hedgehog

Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) is caused by an Aphthovirus that affects many species of animals, especially those that are cloven-footed. FMD is endemic in the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa, India, and Southeast Asia.

Clinical and subclinical foot and mouth disease have been described in the hedgehog, which is native to Africa, Asia, and Europe. In clinical infections, vesicles (fluid-filled pockets within the skin) rupture to form ulcers (superficial skin erosions), erythema (redness) and swelling of the hairy parts of the body, feet, lips, and perineum may occur. The most prominent clinical signs seen in infected animals include anorexia (lack of appetite), sneezing, and excessive salivation due to mouth ulcers.

Transmission occurs by aerosolized virus passed between susceptible and infected individuals or by ingestion. Man and other animals not affected by the virus may serve as mechanical vectors in the transmission of the virus.

It has not been proven whether or not the hedgehog plays a role as a viral reservoir for foot and mouth disease infecting other animals.

References:

Fowler, Murray. Zoo and Wild Animal Medicine. W.B. Saunders Co. 3rd Ed. 1993. Pp. 297.

Kahn, Cynthia ed. The Merck Veterinary Manual. 9th Ed. p. 507-510.

Topics: foot and mouth disease

Symptoms: hypersalivation, loss of appetite, sneezing, sores, swelling

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