The number of infected horses is at 277 between the states with confirmed cases of Vesicular Stomatitis (VS), according to health officials. Texas saw the first cases in late May and Colorado followed in mid-July.
The Texas Animal Health Commissions office is reporting 12 new cases of the disease in the central part of the state. Eleven of the affected animals are horses and one is a cow. Ten new premises are quarantined in Bastrop County and two are in Williamson County. This is the first time it has been reported there.
Quarantines have been established at 54 locations in 11 counties including: Bastrop, Falls, Guadalupe, Travis, Val Verde, and Williamson counties. Eight premises in five counties have been released from quarantine including: Jim Wells, Kinney, Nueces, San Patricio and Hidalgo counties.
While Texas was the first state to see the contagious disease, Colorado is experiencing its own outbreak. The state vet’s office confirms 201 horses and 3 cows have tested positive for VS.
Colorado officials have placed 133 locations under quarantine in eight counties. Included are Adams, Boulder, Broomfield, Douglas, El Paso, Jefferson, Larimer, and Weld counties; results on additional tests are pending. Weld, Boulder, and Larimer are have the highest number of locations under quarantine.
State Veterinarian Dr. Keith Roehr says, “… 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.”
There is no 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. 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 not only contagious but also resembles other diseases, such as foot and mouth disease.