Wildlife & Hunting

Diseases and Health Risks

Pigs and Cow pic

Photo: USDA Aphis

Wild hogs are capable of transmitting at least 30 virulent and bacterial diseases and at least 37 parasites. Many of these can be transmitted to livestock, pets, wildlife, and even humans. Diseases such as Brucellosis, Leptospirosis, and Pseudorabies can threaten the populations of native species, livestock production, or human health. Another concern of wild hog disease, especially within the livestock industry, are foreign animal diseases (FADs). These diseases such as Classical Swine Fever, Foot-and-Mouth Disease, or Bovine Tuberculosis could be catastrophic if introduced or re-introduced to domestic livestock production. For example, an outbreak of Foot-and-Mouth Disease is projected to cost the livestock industry $14-20 million if it occurred in the U.S. today. 

Wild hogs also reduce water quality by increasing turbidity, which can change the composition of native plant and animal species. They also introduce large amounts of coliform bacteria (E. coli), which can be spread to other wildlife, livestock, and humans. 

How to Minimize Disease Risk

  • Always wear rubber gloves when handling any part of a wild hog
  • Never eat, drink, or use tobacco products while handling any part of a wild hog
  • Always cook wild hog meat thoroughly (at least 165º F)
  • Keep pets and livestock away from any bodily fluids or body parts while butchering or preparing wild hog 
  • Dispose of the carcass properly (burial or incineration)
  • Spray all cleaning utensils and surfaces used during butchering with some type of disinfectant
  • Wash hands thoroughly after handling any parts of fluids from wild hogs 
  • Help reduce introduction of new wild hog populations


Additional Resources

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