Would you recognise foot and mouth disease in your sheep?


Would you recognise foot and mouth disease (FMD) if it occurred in your flock or herd?

Do you know who to report it to?

Producers play a critical role in early detection, stopping the spread and limiting the size of an outbreak. With exotic diseases such FMD present in neighbouring countries, it is more important than ever to remain vigilant and know what signs to look out for in your livestock.­

Read on to learn how to identify the signs of FMD and how to report them.

What is foot and mouth disease?

  • A highly contagious viral disease affecting all cloven-hoofed animals, including cattle, buffalo, pigs, sheep, goats, deer and camelids (alpacas, llamas and camels).
  • ​Can be carried by live animals and in meat and dairy products, contaminated human food waste, animal bones, faeces, urine and untreated hides.
  • Can also be transmitted through soil, vehicles, equipment, clothing, footwear and wind.
  • Can survive in frozen, chilled and freeze-dried foods.

What signs and symptoms do I need to look out for in my animals?

  • Fever
  • ​Drooling (mainly in cattle)
  • A reluctance to move (lameness or sore feet)
  • ​Blisters, ruptured blisters and erosions (healing sores) on the feet, mouth, muzzle, nose or udders.
Symptoms can vary between species and are known to be more subtle in sheep, where lameness may be the only noticeable sign. As a producer, you are in the best position to detect changes in your animals.  

How do I use the ‘Sheep EAD AR’ app to learn more about spotting the signs?

The Sheep Emergency Animal Disease (EAD) Augmented Reality (AR) app is an educational tool designed to help producers become familiar with signs of exotic disease in their sheep.

The app uses AR technology to project a digital flock of sheep into the user’s real-life surroundings. Using a mobile phone or tablet, you can inspect the digital flock and try to spot the signs and symptoms of the sick sheep.

Emergency animal diseases included in the app are: You can learn more about the Sheep EAD AR tool and download to your device by searching ‘Sheep EAD AR’ in the Appstore and Google Play.


What should I do if I suspect an emergency animal disease in my livestock?

Some exotic diseases, such as FMD, can spread rapidly. Producers need to remain vigilant for any sign of disease. If an EAD is suspected you must report immediately to the Emergency Animal Disease Hotline on 1800 675 888, your private vet or a PIRSA veterinary officer.


  1. I can recognise emergency animal diseases in my livestock.
  2. My staff can recognise signs of emergency animal diseases.
  3. I know who to contact when I suspect an emergency animal disease.
  4. Plan – I have prepared a biosecurity plan for my animals and my property.
  5. Watch – I check my animals for signs of disease - especially disease that is spreading quickly.
  6. Call – if you notice any symptoms in your animals, immediately call the Emergency Animal Disease Hotline on 1800 675 888, your private vet or PIRSA veterinary officer

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