WITH two strains of blue tongue currently circulating across mainland France, Defra has released advice on how to spot the disease, what to do if you suspect it and how to prevent it spreading.

Advice is that both strains could spread into the UK if infected midges are carried by the wind to the south and south-east of England. The exact level of risk depends on the level of disease in nearby areas of Europe and the weather. It could also spread into the UK if infected animals, or germinal products, are imported from regions where bluetongue is circulating.

Signs to look out for

In sheep:

ulcers in the mouth

discharge of mucus and drooling from mouth and nose

swelling of the mouth, head and neck and the coronary band (where the skin of the leg meets the horn of the foot)

Other clinical signs include:

red skin as a result of blood collecting beneath the surface



breathing problems

In cattle:

swelling and ulcers in the mouth

nasal discharge

red skin and eyes as a result of blood collecting beneath the surface

swollen teats


Most animals show only mild clinical signs, or show no signs of disease at all.

To help spot warning signs, Defra have published some photos of clinical signs of bluetongue disease on Flickr.

click here

You can help to prevent the disease by:

vaccinating your cattle and sheep against bluetongue, in particular the BTV-4 and BTV-8 strains

practising good biosecurity on your premises.

If you import animals, speak to your vet before you decide to import them.