Vesicular Stomatitis Confirmed in Texas Cattle

Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) authorities were notified that vesicular stomatitis (VS) had been confirmed in two head of cattle in Starr County, Texas, on June 29. These cases bring the total number of VS-affected premises in Texas and New Mexico to 15. With the exception of two sites in Starr County, all of the cases involve horses.

"The two infected cattle are on separate quarantined premises in Starr County (about 225 miles south of San Antonio) and are the first confirmed cases in cattle in the United States since the l997 VS outbreak involving New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, and Utah. The l998 outbreak involved only horses," said Max Coats, DVM, deputy director for the TAHC’s Animal Health Programs.  
"On one of the premises in Starr County, one cow among a handful of cattle tested positive for VS, and no other susceptible animals are on the site. On the second premise, the owner has an infected cow and horse, and there are about 30 other head of cattle and several horses that, at this point, have no clinical signs of VS and they have tested negative for the disease," he said.
Disease investigations are continuing. The affected sites follow:


  • Uvalde County--one premise
  • Starr County--five premises (two include infected cattle)
  • Dimmit County--one premise
  • Yoakum County--one premise
  • Val Verde County--one premise
  • Reeves County--one premise

New Mexico:

  • Carlsbad area--four premises
  • Belen, Valencia County--one premise

Vesicular stomatitis, a viral infection, occurs sporadically in the southwestern United States and is thought to be transmitted by sand flies and black flies. This painful, but short-term disease can cause blistering and erosions in and around the mouth, and around the muzzle, teats or hooves of horses, cattle, goats, swine, deer and some other livestock. Infected animals with open sores can expose herdmates to the disease through close contact or by the sharing of feed buckets or bits. As a precaution, all infected and susceptible livestock on a premise are quarantined until at least 30 days after all infected animals have healed. 
To report potential signs of VS, owners and practitioners in Texas can call the TAHC at 800/550-8242, anytime, day or night. In New Mexico, reports should be made to the New Mexico Livestock Board at 505/841-6161. The TAHC urges livestock transporters to check with their intended state of destination to obtain the latest information on testing requirements, movement restrictions or other VS-related regulations.

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