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Crucial Reminders: Avoid Wild Hog Disease

February 5, 2019

Announcer: Farm and Family is a production of the Mississippi State University extension service.

Amy Myers: Today were talking about crucial reminders to avoid wild hog disease. Hello, I'm Amy Myers and welcome to Farm and Family. Today we're speaking with Bill Hamrick, Mississippi State University extension wildlife associate. Bill, we talked before about wild hog disease, like pseudo rabies and swine brucellosis. With either one of these diseases, is there anything that we should be considered about if we have, say, hunting dogs? Is there any risk there of them contracting either one of these diseases from hunting and attacking these animals in any kind of way?

Bill Hamrick: There could be some minor risk with the brucellosis, but it's not likely. The biggest risk is going to be the pseudo rabies. That would be your biggest concern.

Amy Myers: So if there's any physical penetrating contact between the two, then the pseudo rabies could be more risky, right?

Bill Hamrick: Absolutely, yes.

Amy Myers: What about other wildlife? Can squirrels, deer, raccoons, opossums, rabbits, get this disease, either one of these?

Bill Hamrick: Yes. Pseudo rabies can effect deer. We already mentioned that it could infect other livestock, and dogs, domestic animals. But, yes, it can infect deer. It can infect coyotes, raccoons, foxes, a number of different animals. With the brucellosis, some animals, it can impact. For instance, cattle can contract swine brucellosis and it can effect, let's say, a pregnant cow. It could cause an abortion or a still-birth. However, that cow is not going to be able to pass it on to other cows. So, in cattle, it's a dead-end host. Cattle are a dead-end host for swine brucellosis.

Amy Myers: But are other animals dead-end hosts?

Bill Hamrick: For the most part, it usually just does the same with other animals, like it does with humans. It just causes sickness and, just like with pigs and cattle, it can cause complications with pregnancies in humans, as well. But for the most part, it's just one of those that's just going to affect you in the same way it's affecting humans. It's going to be debilitating fever, things like that, reoccurring.

Amy Myers: How can we keep our animals from getting either one of these diseases?

Bill Hamrick: Well, the best thing is, if you do anything with wild hogs, whether you're trying to trap them, and control them, on your property, or if you're hunting them, for sport, for meat, is to not allow your dogs to come in contact, especially, with carcasses and stuff, because it's the sex organs, and the reproductive organs, that are most likely to harbor the virus and the bacteria. That will be where it's more concentrated. So it's a higher risk of handling those parts without gloves, or allowing pets to eat, or nose around those types of things.

Amy Myers: If we do kill hogs, make sure to bury their remains where other animals can't get to them?

Bill Hamrick: That's certainly the best thing to do. Not everyone has a backhoe or a trackhoe. Yes, the thing to do is to do that, or incinerate them somehow. You just don't want to allow animals to get access to them.

Amy Myers: What do we do if we see an animal with pseudo rabies, or swine brucellosis, symptoms, or if we think that we, or someone we know, has been infected?

Bill Hamrick: Well, generally, in pigs, you're not going to know if an animal is infected with pseudo rabies or swine brucellosis. Other animals, you would just follow the same protocol you would with anything. You'd want to take that animal and call someone with local natural resources department, or if you can't take the animal, you certainly want to report it. If you can take photos, or anything like that, that's always helpful.

Amy Myers: Or call your local veterinarian, if you think someone's pet, or animal, or a hunting dog, might have one of these diseases?

Bill Hamrick: Yeah, you could do that. Some of these, like pseudo rabies and brucellosis, like I said, they're not necessarily recognizable, but they are what's considered reportable diseases, meaning that, officials, state vets, and whatnot, are obligated to report these diseases, because they can be transmitted across state lines.

Amy Myers: Bill, where can we go for more information about wild hog, or wild pig, diseases?

Bill Hamrick: You can visit our website here, at Mississippi State University, it's

Amy Myers: Okay, What about or

Bill Hamrick: Those too, are excellent sources, as well.

Amy Myers: Today, we've been speaking with Bill Hamrick, wildlife associate. I'm Amy Myers and this has been Farm and Family. Have a great day.

Announcer: Farm and Family is a production of the Mississippi State University extension service.

Department: Wildlife, Fisheries & Aquaculture

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