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Pseudorabies Transmission From Hogs To Dogs

January 16, 2015

I know I’ve called this out before, but one of the biggest threats that feral hogs present is the risk of disease that can affect livestock.  While I know they can do some environmental damage, I can’t help the feeling that it’s often overstated.  And I refuse to believe that feral hogs present any more danger to humans than most other wild animals, despite the hype heaped upon them by some media sources.

But one case of something like brucellosis, or pseudorabies, can shut down an entire farm and result in the liquidation of the entire herd.  If the outbreak spreads to multiple animals, it can shut down an entire region, resulting in significant economic disruption.  In short, it seems to me that this is the aspect of the feral hog invasion that we should all be talking about.

But with all that said, I don’t think I ever knew that pseudorabies also presents a deadly threat to dogs.  However, this article from Arkansas provides a harsh reminder that this disease is nothing to mess around with.  It’s something my friends who run hog dogs should pay close attention to, as well as a warning to those of you who have dogs in feral hog country.

While there are some vaccines available for domestic livestock (pseudorabies was declared “eradicated” on US farms in 2004),  there’s nothing out there for Fido.  According to various resources I’ve been able to look up, it’s usually fatal within two to three days, although some dogs will survive.  The best protection is to keep your dog away from feral hogs, including keeping them from eating the uncooked meat or offal.

This isn’t to say that pseudorabies is out there lurking in every hog you encounter.  In fact, it doesn’t seem to be particularly common… although reports seem to be turning up on a regular basis around the country.  In addition to the sick hogs in Arkansas, pseudorabies was recently found in hogs released in Oklahoma.  I don’t know if this represents an uptick in cases, but it should be enough to get our attention.

The disease is transmitted primarily by nose-to-nose or fecal-oral contact.  This puts hog dogs at particular risk, but any dog that spends time where hogs have roamed can be affected.  Also, as mentioned previously, the disease can also be transmitted through the raw meat and offal of infected swine.

The most common symptoms of pseudorabies infection are similar to regular rabies.  The initial symptom is uncontrollable itching, referred to as the “mad itch,”  sometimes accompanied by howling or whining.  This is followed by hyper-salivation (drooling or “foaming” at the mouth).  The next phase involves neurological impacts that can include paralysis of the jaw or neck, sometimes leading to convulsions.  Death is relatively quick, and sometimes comes before the symptoms have even manifested.

Fortunately, so far, pseudorabies is not a threat to humans.  However, feral hogs are known to carry other diseases that are dangerous to man.  I’m the last one to recommend the use of protective gear while dressing and butchering game (because I don’t use it myself), but most game departments and health experts warn hog hunters to use gloves for the messy work, and wash thoroughly when we’re done.

Anyway, I just thought this was something worth sharing on a Friday.

Now, I just wish I could get out there somewhere and hunt myself a (disease free) hog!

 

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One Response to “Pseudorabies Transmission From Hogs To Dogs”

  1. Pseudorabies Transmission From Hogs To Dogs | AllHunt.com on January 16th, 2015 17:55

    […] Pseudorabies Transmission From Hogs To Dogs […]

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