Two N.M. Horses Test Positive for Vesicular Stomatitis

Two N.M. Horses Test Positive for Vesicular Stomatitis

Vesicular stomatitis causes blisters to form in affected horses' mouth, on teats, or along the hooves, resulting in excessive salivation, lameness, or oozing sores.

Photo: Brian McCluskey

Two horses in Otero County, N.M., tested positive for the reportable disease vesicular stomatitis on April 30, according to New Mexico State Veterinarian Dave Fly, DVM. The horses, who are currently under veterinary care, reside on a single premises about a mile outside the town of Tularosa, and the facility is currently under quarantine, he said.

"We are doing a surveillance of all livestock within a one mile (radius)," he said. "It's not a very high-density livestock area. We have no other cases. It's an unusual place for us to find this (disease)."

Vesicular stomatitis (VS) is a viral disease that occurs sporadically in the United States and 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.

Fly said the owners of the affected horses noted lesions on the animals shortly after turning them out into a new pasture.

"(The owners) have a little pasture, and they've been irrigating it," he relayed. "They just turned their horses out in this pasture, and about seven days later they noticed these two horses had lesions. It kind of fits with the disease; we always suspected bugs had something to do with it. There are freshly irrigated pastures, it's been an unusually warm spring so the bugs have come out early, and for some reason this virus has gotten into this valley. We're at a loss to say how it happened, but these are the only cases we have."

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 three-day eventing with her OTTB, Dorado, and enjoys photography in her spare time.

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