Seneca Valley Virus

By Barry Whitworth

Seneca Valley Virus or Senecavirus A was first identified in the United States in 1988. The virus appears sporadically with a few cases appearing every year. However, in 2015, the number of cases has increased and the severity of the disease has been worse. The main concern with the virus is that it mimics other Foreign Animal Diseases (FAD) such as Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), Swine Vesicular Disease (SVD), and Vesicular Stomatitis (VS). For this reason any pig that displays the clinical signs associated with this virus must be investigated for a FAD.

The clinical signs of the disease are

  • Vesicles (blisters) and erosions (ruptured blisters) on the snout and coronary bands
  • Acute lameness in groups of pigs
  • Ulcerative lesions on or around the hoof wall
  • Anorexia, lethargy, and fever

Typically, the clinical signs resolve quickly and no treatment is required. However, in 2015, lameness in pigs in finishing houses and farrowing houses lasted longer than was expected, and neonatal mortality was associated with the virus. A similar but more severe problem occurred in Brazil in 2014. At this time, the more severe signs have not been replicated in an experiment which may mean other cofounders may be involved.

The main reason for this article is to make those people associated with pigs aware of this problem. Some of the more severe cases have occurred in show pigs, so exhibitors need to pay close attention to any lameness problems in their pigs.

If a pig shows signs of lameness, an exhibitor should look closely at the pig’s feet and snout. If any lesions are found, he or she should contact their local veterinarian and/or the state veterinarian for further instructions. An exhibitor should not transport any pig with the above lesions to a livestock show or anywhere else until a veterinarian examines the animal.

If any swine producer or exhibitor would like more information about Seneca Valley Virus, contact their local county Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Educator.