More Vesicular Stomatitis in Colorado

Another Colorado horse has tested positive for vesicular stomatitis (VS) virus, according to an article in the Cortez Journal online. The 10-year-old Quarter Horse in Montezuma County was diagnosed with the illness July 14. An equine case was reported earlier this month in Delta County.

County Commissioner Gerald Koppenhafer, DVM, said in the article, "It comes through here about every 10 years," referring to Montezuma, which is in the southwest corner of the state. "Our last cases were in the mid-1990s, and there were a few hundred."

Vesicular stomatitis virus primarily affects cattle, horses, and swine. The infected animals get blisters on their lips, tongues, and coronary bands. Those blisters enlarge and break, leaving raw tissue that is so painful the animals generally refuse to eat or drink and they show signs of lameness. Severe weight loss usually follows.

Veterinarians watch vesicular stomatitis cases in cattle closely because the clinical signs resemble foot and mouth disease, which would be extremely devastating to the U.S. economy.

Veterinary officials keep VS-affected farms under a strict quarantine until 30 days after the final lesion is healed on the premises' last affected animal.

Koppenhafer mentioned to the Journal that other cases of the illness have been reported in the Durango and Bayfield areas (in La Plata County, which is adjacent to Montezuma).

"Since the disease is believed to be spread by insects, preventative measures include keeping susceptible animals in dry corrals and stables, using insecticides and insect repellents daily, providing good nutrition, and practicing best management techniques," noted the article.

About the Author

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief, received a B.A. in Journalism and Equestrian Studies from Averett College in Danville, Virginia. A Pony Club and 4-H graduate, her background is in eventing, and she is schooling her recently retired Thoroughbred racehorse, Happy, toward a career in that discipline. She also enjoys traveling, photography, cycling, and cooking in her free time.

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