The Colorado Department of Agriculture has additional confirmed cases of vesicular stomatitis (VSV) in La Plata, Larimer and Weld counties. The Colorado State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Fort Collins, Colorado, has been activated through the National Animal Health Laboratory Network to receive and test samples for VSV suspect horses.

“Horse and livestock owners should check with their veterinarian prior to traveling to another state,” said Colorado State Veterinarian Dr. Keith Roehr. “Many states have imposed import requirements for animals coming from VSV-affected states.”

The first case of VSV in Colorado was reported in Weld County by a field veterinarian from the State Veterinarian’s Office at the Colorado Department of Agriculture. An incursion of VSV-infected insect vectors is the likely source of infection. There are no USDA approved vaccines for VSV.

Vesicular stomatitis background

Vesicular stomatitis is a viral disease that primarily affects horses and cattle, and occasionally swine, sheep, goats, llamas, and alpacas. The transmission process of VSV is not completely understood, but includes insect vectors such as black flies, sand flies, and biting midges.

The incubation period ranges from 2-8 days. Clinical signs include vesicles, erosions, and sloughing of the skin on the muzzle, tongue, ears, teats, and coronary bands. Often excessive salivation is the first sign of disease, along with a reluctance to eat or drink. Lameness and weight loss may follow.

Humans may become infected when handling affected animals, but this is a rare event. To avoid human exposure, individuals should use personal protective measures when handling affected animals.

Tips for livestock owners

Strict fly control is an important factor to inhibit the transmission of the disease.

Avoid transferring feeding equipment, cleaning tools or health care equipment from other herds.

Colorado veterinarians and livestock owners should contact the state of destination when moving livestock interstate to ensure that all import requirements are met. Contact information for all state veterinarian offices is listed here.

Colorado fairs, livestock exhibitions, and rodeos may institute new entry requirements based on the extent and severity of the current VS outbreak. Certificates of veterinary inspection issued within 2 to 5 days prior to an event can be beneficial in reducing risks. Be sure to stay informed of any new livestock event requirements. See the Vesicular Stomatitis Guidelines for Shows and Fairs at https://drive.google.com/file/d/1fNo_6gdfTWb26O_BFK0pSL_YaNttLTf6/view.

Important points for veterinarians

Any vesicular disease of livestock is reportable to the State Veterinarian’s Office in Colorado by calling 303-869-9130. If after hours, the voice message will indicate which staff veterinarian is on call.

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