Update July 31, 2014
The Colorado Department of Agriculture’s State veterinarian confirms 21 locations are now under quarantine for Vesicular Stomatitis.
Horses have tested positive in the following five counties: Boulder, Broomfield, El Paso, Larimer, and Weld counties. State health officials say they are waiting on additional test results from other counties.
There is no vaccine to control the disease. Strict fly control is an important factor to inhibit the transmission of the disease, according to veterinarians. Researchers believe outbreaks are sparked by a virus transmitted by black flies and sand flies.
Colorado is the second state to have confirmed cases of VS.
The first cases were seen in Texas in late May. The Texas Animal Health Commission confirmed on July 30th that there are 14 new cases of the disease in both horses and cows. The 12 new premises under quarantine are located in Bastrop County, Travis County, and Val Verde County.
Two cases of VS have been detected in bovine in Bastrop County.
Thirty-five locations in nine 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, and Val Verde counties. Six locations have been released from quarantine including the original premises in Kinney County, two locations in Nueces County, two cases in San Patricio County, and one in Hidalgo 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.
Before traveling with horses from either state, check with your horse’s destination state to see if there are any special requirements due to VS.