Update May 25, 2015
Horses in a second Texas county have been confirmed positive for vesicular stomatitis (VS). A property located in Reeves County, near Orla, in West Texas is also under quarantine.
Texas health officials announced the first confirmed cases in Texas on May 19th. Three horses located in Pecos County tested positive for vesicular stomatitis, according to state health officials.
The horses are located at a facility about 30 miles north of Fort Stockton. The horses’ owner sought veterinary care for the animals after observing blistering and swelling on the animals’ tongues and lips. Testing at the USDA National Veterinary Services lab in Iowa confirmed the diagnosis. The horses are under quarantine by the state.
The disease causes blister-like sores on the mouths, noses and sometimes feet of infected animals. The blisters are most likely to affect the the tongue and around the nose and muzzle. They 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, officials say 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.
VS is highly contagious and resembles other diseases, such as foot and mouth disease.
The disease can move from animal to animal by contact or exposure to saliva or fluid from ruptured lesions. Insects, including sand and black flies, are also suspected as an important vector in the transmission of the disease.
Arizona was the first state to report cases of VS in 2015.