Slobbering is one symptom of vesicular stomatitis. A blood test is needed to confirm a diagnosis.
Five horses in Southwest Texas have been placed under quarantine after being diagnosed with vesicular stomatitis (VS), a contagious viral disease. The National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) confirmed the virus as the New Jersey serotype.
Located in Kinney County, the equines were tested after blistering and swelling appeared around the horses’ muzzles. The quarantine will remain in place for 21 days after all lesions are healed to help prevent the spread of the disease. These are the first cases of the disease in the nation this year. The last time it was seen in Texas was in 2009, according to Texas Animal Health Commission officials.
Most animals recover after a couple of weeks, but if the vesicles become infected, officials say the recovery process, which includes treatment of the horse’s symptoms, may take longer. Symptoms include blisters and sores in the mouth, tongue, muzzle (right), teats, sheath, or hooves. Other animals, including cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, and llamas, can also be infected. Owners are urged to report symptoms to their vets immediately since VS is highly contagious and resembles other diseases such as foot and mouth disease.
While rare, humans can also be infected with the disease when handling affected animals. Symptoms are flu-like, with fever, muscle-aches and headaches.
“Livestock owners should use the best means possible to limit exposure of their livestock to insect bites,” said state veterinarian Dee Ellis, DVM. It is thought that insects are an important vector in the transmission of VS. Sand flies and black flies may play a role in the virus transmission.
Vesicular stomatitis has been confirmed only in the Western Hemisphere.