Adams County – 3 horses on 2 premises
Vesicular Stomatitis can make a horse drool, but a blood test is needed to confirm the diagnosis.
The outbreak of Vesicular Stomatitis continues to spread in Colorado making our horses vulnerable. The Colorado Department of Agriculture’s State Veterinarian has placed 69 locations under quarantine after horses and one cow tested positive for the contagious disease.
Quarantines have been established in Adams, Boulder, Douglas, El Paso, Larimer, and Weld Counties. Additional tests are pending for horses in these and other counties, according to health officials. The breakdown looks like this:
Boulder County – 26 horses on 15 premises
Douglas County – 2 horses on 1 premises
El Paso County – 1 horse on 1 premises
Larimer County – 9 horses on 4 premises
Weld County – 25 horses and 1 cow on 19 premises
“Over the past two weeks, our office has been receiving approximately ten reports daily of animals demonstrating clinical signs that are consistent with VS. Veterinarians have been very observant and diligent to report horses and other livestock that are suspicious of being infected,” said State Veterinarian, Dr. Keith Roehr. “… insect control is an important tool in the prevention of VS. Most of the cases we have investigated involve horses that have had no history of movement; therefore, controlling black flies and midges are very important in the prevention of the spread of disease.”
The Mid America Classic reined cow horse show, scheduled to run through August 10th in Pueblo was cancelled due to outbreak concerns, according to Quarter Horse News.
Dr. Roehr says his office doesn’t recommend events be cancelled. “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 before, during, and after events occur,” said Dr. Roehr.
There is no vaccine to control the disease.
Colorado is the second state to have confirmed cases of VS. The first cases were seen in Texas in late May.
Texas is also reporting six new cases of VS in horses. Forty-two locations in ten Texas counties have been confirmed with the highly contagious disease to date. Affected counties include Kinney, Hidalgo, San Patricio, Nueces, Jim Wells, Bastrop, Travis, Guadalupe, Val Verde, and Falls counties. Eight locations have been released from quarantine including the original premises in Kinney County, two locations in Nueces County, two cases in San Patricio County, two in Hidalgo County, and one in Jim Wells County.
Many animals recover after a couple of weeks from the disease, 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, teats, sheath, or hooves. A horse will show signs of fever and may show other symptoms within two to eight days. Other animals, including cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, and llamas, can also be infected.
The disease can move from animal to animal by contact or exposure to saliva or fluid from ruptured lesions.
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, human cases of VS can occur, usually among those who handle infected animals. In humans, the disease can cause flu-like symptoms and only rarely includes lesions or blisters.
If shipping your horse nationally or internationally contact the USDA APHIS Colorado office at 303-231-5385 to determine if there are any movement restrictions or testing requirements for where your horse is traveling.