Ky. State Veterinarian Bans Texas Animals After VS Finding

State Veterinarian Robert Stout, DVM, has banned all livestock and wild or exotic animals from Texas from entering Kentucky due to reports of vesicular stomatitis (VS) in horses in west Texas.

The order also prohibits the entry into Kentucky of any such animals that have been in Texas in the previous 30 days. It requires equids coming into Kentucky from states that border Texas to have a negative VS test within the 30-day period preceding their entry into the Commonwealth.

"State regulations prohibit the entry into Kentucky of livestock, wild, or exotic animals from a state where vesicular stomatitis has been diagnosed," Stout said. "VS does not pose a danger to the food supply, but it can cause animals to suffer temporary lameness or stop eating because of sores on the mouth, and it is believed to cause flu-like symptoms in humans."

The disease was diagnosed in three horses on a ranch in Reeves County, Texas, about 300 miles southeast of El Paso. The National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, confirmed the diagnosis on Wednesday.

All livestock on the affected ranch will be quarantined for several weeks until they are found to be free of the disease, according to the Texas Animal Health Commission.

Approximately 2,099 head of livestock from Texas entered Kentucky in 2003, according to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture's Division of Animal Health. Most of the livestock were cattle, equids, and goats.

Vesicular stomatitis is a viral disease that occurs sporadically in the U.S., usually in southwestern states. Before Wednesday, it was last diagnosed in the U.S. in 1998 in Texas and New Mexico.

The disease can affect horses, cattle, and swine, and occasionally sheep, goats, and deer. It causes blisters to form in the animal's mouth, on teats, or along the hooves, resulting in excessive salivation, lameness, or oozing sores.

The virus is spread by arthropods such as ticks, mosquitoes, or house flies. Infected animals may spread the disease through their saliva or fluid from ruptured blisters. Vesicular stomatitis may incubate for two to eight days before clinical signs appear. It is rarely fatal and usually lasts about two weeks.

The clinical signs of VS closely resemble those of foot and mouth disease (FMD). VS affects equine whereas FMD disease does not. Foot and mouth has been eradicated from the U.S. since 1929.


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