As of Nov. 12, the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s State Veterinarian’s Office has 43 locations under quarantine after horses and cows tested positive for vesicular stomatitis (VS); 312 of the 355 quarantines have now been released.
“As colder weather and snow has moved into the area, the fly population should be reduced and decrease the transmission of VS. Hopefully the incidence of this disease will trend downward with the temperatures, but continue to be vigilant for the clinical signs of the disease and report any suspicious cases to the State Veterinarian’s Office,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Keith Roehr.
For a map of Colorado counties with confirmed cases, visit our website.
VS can be painful for animals and costly to their owners. The virus typically causes oral blisters and sores that can be painful causing difficulty in eating and drinking. Positive premises are eligible for quarantine release 21 days after lesions have healed in all affected animals.
If you plan to transport your horse to another state, be sure to check with the State Veterinarian’s office in the state of destination as to any special new restrictions for movement of your horse into their state. Some states have instituted new requirements for the import of Colorado horses due to the VS outbreak.
Veterinarians and livestock owners who suspect an animal may have VS or any other vesicular disease should immediately contact State or federal animal health authorities. Livestock with clinical signs of VS are isolated until they are healed and determined to be of no further threat for disease spread. There are no USDA approved vaccines for VS.
While rare, human cases of VS can occur, usually among those who handle infected animals. VS in humans can cause flu-like symptoms and only rarely includes lesions or blisters.
Vesicular Stomatitis (VS) Signs and Transmission
VS susceptible species include horses, mules, cattle, bison, sheep, goats, pigs and camelids. The clinical signs of the disease include vesicles, erosions and sloughing of the skin on the muzzle, tongue, ears, teats, groin area, and above the hooves of susceptible livestock. Vesicles are usually only seen early in the course of the disease. The transmission of vesicular stomatitis is not completely understood but components include insect vectors, mechanical transmission and livestock movement.
“The State Veterinarian’s office is not recommending that livestock shows be cancelled. Instead, it is more important to consider certificates of veterinary inspection prior to or on site observations at entry into events and then insect control measures during before during and after events occur,” said Roehr. “If event organizers have questions, they can contact our office.”
Tips for Event Organizers and Livestock Owners:
- Strict fly control is an important factor to inhibit the transmission of the disease.
- Avoid transferring feeding equipment, cleaning tools or health care equipment from other herds.
- Colorado veterinarians and livestock owners should contact the state of destination when moving livestock interstate to ensure that all import requirements are met. A list of contact information for all state veterinarians’ offices is available at www.colorado.gov/ag/animals and click on “Import Requirements.”
- Colorado fairs, livestock exhibitions, and rodeos may institute new entry requirements based on the extent and severity of the current VS outbreak. Certificates of Veterinary Inspection issued within 2-5 days prior to an event can beneficial to reduce risks. Be sure to stay informed of any new livestock event requirements.
- The CDA website has a document that has guidelines to help equine shows, fairs, and competitions reduce their risk to VS, see them at our website.
- During an event, important VS disease prevention procedures include minimizing the sharing of water and feed/equipment, applying insect repellent daily (especially to the animals ears), and closely observing animals for signs of VS.
- If moving livestock internationally please contact the USDA APHIS VS Colorado office at 303-231-5385 to determine if there are any movement restrictions or testing requirements for VSV.
For additional information, contact the Colorado State Veterinarian’s Office at 303-869-9130 or visit www.colorado.gov/ag/animals.