Seneca Valley Virus: What Is It and How Does It Affect the Swine Industry?

By: Dr. Scott VanderPoel

In the past couple months; there have been 13 confirmed cases of vesicular disease associated with Seneca Valley virus in the swine industry. This disease has been identified in both commercial and show pig operations in Iowa, South Dakota, Illinois and Minnesota.

Vesicular disease is a broad term used to cover several diseases associated with similar clinical signs but individual diseases can only be identified through diagnostic testing. Foot & Mouth Disease (FMD) is the major disease of concern. This disease is on the foreign animal disease list and can have a major impact in our swine industry due to being very contagious and having the potential to close foreign trade. Since FMD is such a major concern to the animal industry, other diseases associated with vesicular disease are guilty of being FMD until proven otherwise through diagnostic testing.

Of those other diseases, there is a disease called idiopathic vesicular disease caused by the Seneca Valley virus. Coincidentally, the Seneca Valley virus belongs to the same virus family as FMD and will have similar clinical symptoms.

The following are common clinical signs associated with vesicular disease:

  • Open or closed blisters located on the snout and/or at the junction where the skin and the hoof wall meet. (Coronary band)
  • Sudden lameness with redness and swelling at or around the coronary band. Some cases have reported up to 50% of the population being affected at one time.
  • Pigs that are suddenly off feed, lethargic and/or have a fever up to 105 degrees Fahrenheit.


If you see any of these clinical signs or are concerned, please contact your veterinarian immediately and stop any movement of animals from your facility. Your veterinarian will then contact the necessary authorities and samples will need to be collected for a diagnostic investigation.

It is very important to identify animals with these clinical signs before any animal movement. If these animals were to be transported to a harvest facility, the facility would then have to be temporarily shut down due to a concern of a foreign animal disease. Again, Foot & Mouth Disease (FMD) is the disease of concern and it is important to you and the animal industry this disease is not missed.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this topic, please contact your veterinarian, your state’s board of animal health, or here at Pipestone Veterinary Services, we are happy to serve you in any way that may help.  You can contact Dr. Scott VanderPoel at or call Pipestone at 507.825.4211.