A horse suffering from vesicular stomatitis.
The Colorado Department of Agriculture confirms there are 19 locations across four counties that have tested positive for vesicular stomatitis and are under quarantine.
Delta County has eight quarantined premises, Montrose has five, Montezuma has four, and La Plata County has two.
The state veterinarian has a message for horse owners. “Controlling flies can go a long way in preventing the spread of this virus,” said Dr. Keith Roehr. Sand and black flies are believed to play a role in the transmission of the virus.
“Vesicular stomatitis can be painful for animals and costly to their owners,” continued Dr. Roehr. “The virus typically causes oral blisters and sores that can be painful causing difficulty in eating and drinking.”
Many animals recover after a couple of weeks from the disease, but if the vesicles become infected the recovery process, which includes treatment of the horse’s symptoms, may take longer. Other animals, including sheep, cows, goats, and llamas, can also be affected.
“Science has shown that the transmission of the virus is for a brief period of time after the initial clinical signs of VS,” Dr. Roehr added. The disease can move from animal to animal by contact or exposure to saliva or fluid from ruptured lesions.
Colorado is the fourth state to have cases of VS in 2015. Previous cases have been diagnosed in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.