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Colorado confirms vesicular stomatitis in horses

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Two horses on separate premises in Colorado confirmed with VSV; state follows cases in Texas and New Mexico.

Colorado has become the third state in the country to have a confirmed case of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), according to an announcement from the Colorado Department of Agriculture.

The announcement said the National Veterinary Services Laboratory reported July 3 positive test results on samples submitted from two horses in Weld County, Colo. The two horses reside on separate locations in Weld County and have been placed under quarantine. The initial Colorado disease investigation was completed by a field veterinarian from the state veterinarian’s office at the Colorado Department of Agriculture.

Both premises in Colorado are private residences with horses as the only livestock species present, the department said. According to the announcement, the index premises has one of two horses presenting with lesions and no history of recent movements on or off the premises. The subsequent positive premises has one of three horses presenting with lip and tongue lesions with a history of only pleasure riding nearby the premises in the previous two weeks and no other recent movements. There are no additional animals at either location currently showing clinical signs of VSV.

Previous positive cases of vesicular stomatitis in 2019 have been diagnosed in Kinney and Tom Green counties in Texas and in Sandoval County in New Mexico.

The Colorado Department of Agriculture lists additional information residents and veterinarians need to know about finding VSV.

VSV is a viral disease that primarily affects horses and cattle and occasionally swine, sheep, goats, llamas and alpacas. The transmission of VSV is not completely understood, but includes insect vectors such as black flies, sand flies and biting midges, the announcement said. The incubation period ranges from two to eight days. Clinical signs include vesicles, erosions and sloughing of the skin on the muzzle, tongue, 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.

Subsequently, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) is encouraging horse and cattle owners to be aware and take precautions, particularly with animals that may be comingling with other animals at events over the next several months.

NDA said it has importation orders in place to help prevent the spread of VSV into Nebraska.

“Protecting the health and safety of Nebraska’s animals is of the utmost importance in the state,” said Nebraska state veterinarian Dr. Dennis Hughes. “Vesicular stomatitis resembles foot and mouth disease in the early stages, and I ask that all producers continue to be vigilant in importing animals into Nebraska.”

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