Vesicular Stomatitis Confirmed in Arizona, Utah Equids
By The Horse Staff • May 06, 2015 • Article #35753
Animal health officials have confirmed that two Arizona horses and a Utah mule have tested positive for vesicular stomatitis (VS).
The Arizona Department of Agriculture reported May 1 that two horses residing in Maricopa County, in the East Valley, had tested positive for the virus. Additional testing is underway on animals residing at eight Maricopa County facilities, a department statement said.
In Utah, that state’s Department of Agriculture and Food reported May 5 that a mule residing in Kane County has tested positive for VS. Four horses are showing signs of VS and are undergoing tests. An additional nine horses could have had contact with the mule and four horses. All of the suspect animals are in isolation and under quarantine.
The infected Utah animals traveled from Arizona and arrived in Utah with some of the animals showing signs of disease, a Utah Department of Agriculture and Food statement said.
The confirmation of the disease has prompted a mandatory quarantine of all 14 animals by Acting Utah State Veterinarian Warren Hess, DVM.
The Utah VS discovery comes during the Mt. Carmel XP horse endurance/trail event held April 29 to May 3. All participants in the event are encouraged to examine their animals for signs of vesicular stomatitis and report any signs of disease to your local veterinarian or the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food at 801/538-4910.
New Mexico has also recently confirmed VS in horses in that state.
Vesicular stomatitis is a livestock disease that primarily affects cattle and horses. It occasionally affects swine, sheep, and goats. In rare cases, humans can also become infected when handling affected animals if proper biosecurity steps are not followed.
Many states have applied interstate movement restrictions of various types to livestock from states where the disease has been diagnosed. Care should be taken to comply with regulations in the state of destination regarding interstate livestock movement.
It is essential that veterinarians and livestock owners be on the alert for animals displaying clinical signs characteristic of the disease such as lesions in the mouth and on tongue, lips, nostrils, hooves, and teats. These blisters leave raw tissue that is so painful that infected animals generally refuse to eat or drink and may show signs of lameness. Weight loss sometimes follows.
While vesicular stomatitis can cause economic losses to livestock producers, it is a particularly significant disease because its outward signs are similar to those of foot-and-mouth disease, a foreign animal disease of cloven-hoofed animals that was eradicated from the United States in 1929.
There is no specific treatment or cure for vesicular stomatitis in livestock. Livestock owners can protect their animals by avoiding congregation of animals in the vicinity where vesicular stomatitis has occurred. Good sanitation and quarantine practices on affected farms usually contain the infection until it dies out of its own accord. Owners are encouraged to control biting insects such as black flies and other flying and/or biting insects.