Additional Vesicular Stomatitis Cases Detected in New Mexico

New Mexico animal health officials have identified several more cases of the viral disease vesicular stomatitis (VS) and have placed at least nine premises under quarantine, according to a June 18 notice to horse owners from the New Mexico Livestock Board.

The additional disease confirmations come after two Otero County, N.M., horses tested positive for the disease on April 30.

The notice indicates that the disease has been either identified or suspected in horses in Valencia, southwest San Miguel, and northern Socorro Counties.

"Because the disease has a tendency to appear along the path of waterways such as rivers and streams, we consider the counties along the Rio Grande to have elevated risk of the development of positive cases, based on the historical patterns of disease movement in prior year outbreaks," the notice read.

In a June 20 statement, State Veterinarian Dave E. Fly, DVM, announced that the state's Livestock Board had implemented movement restrictions in response to the numerous confirmed or suspected VS cases. The full list of restrictions is available online. In the statement Fly said the restrictions "will remain in effect until New Mexico is declared free of vesicular stomatitis."

In the June 18 notice, the Livestock Board gave the following recommendations to horse owners:

  • Use insect repellant products (sprays, eartags, etc.), fly sheets, and other measures to keep biting insects off your stock.
  • Take steps to control or eliminate sites where biting insects, such as flies or mosquitoes, might multiply.
  • Check your animals daily for signs and lesions suggesting the presence of VS, and report any suspicious lesions to your veterinarian or to the state veterinarian's office immediately.
  • Avoid travel to areas of the state where active cases are documented or to areas considered higher risk for the emergence of cases.

A viral, foreign animal disease that occurs sporadically in the United States, VS usually appears in southwestern states. The disease, thought to be transmitted by sand flies and black flies, 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.

VS can incubate for two to eight days before clinical signs appear. It is rarely fatal and usually lasts about two weeks before clearing up.

About the Author

Erica Larson, News Editor

Erica Larson, news editor, holds a degree in journalism with an external specialty in equine science from Michigan State University in East Lansing. A Massachusetts native, she grew up in the saddle and has dabbled in a variety of disciplines including foxhunting, saddle seat, and mounted games. Currently, Erica competes in eventing with her OTTB, Dorado.

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