Colorado is the second state with confirmed cases of vesicular stomatitis (VS), according to the state’s department of agriculture.
Four horses tested positive on two Weld County premises and are under quarantine. The horses have no history of travel.
“Vesicular stomatitis can be painful for animals and costly to their owners,” said State Veterinarian, Dr. Keith 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, 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.
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.
Experts believe insects, including black and sand flies, play an important role in the transmission of the virus, so insect prevention is recommended. There is no vaccine for the disease.
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.
Texas was the first state to see cases of VS in 2014. The most recent cases were confirmed last week.