The Colorado Department of Agriculture’s State Veterinarian’s Office added another seven quarantines to the locations affected by vesicular stomatitis. The number of current quarantines stands at 51.
The county with the highest number of active quarantines is Pueblo County with 19. To date, 300 quarantines have been released.
Lingering fly populations due to the mild temperatures are to blame, according to officials.
“While we have seen a few lights frosts we have not experienced the hard freeze that would end the fly populations this year. Flies that are capable of continued disease spread may survive in barns and other buildings until we see consistent lower temperatures,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Keith Roehr. “Therefore, livestock owners must still work to prevent flies on their property.”
There is not a vaccine to control the disease.
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. 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.
Properties are released from quarantine 21 days after the lesions from all affected animals are healed.
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 you are shipping horses from Colorado, some states may have additional health requirements for entry into their state due to the cases of VS in the state.
Colorado and Texas are the only two states with cases of VS this year.