New Mexico Equine Vesicular Stomatitis Case Count Rises

More than 20 vesicular stomatitis (VS) cases have now been confirmed in New Mexico horses, according to a July 25 update from the New Mexico Livestock Board. The current outbreak began in late April when two horses in Otero County tested positive for the disease.

"At present, there are in excess of 20 confirmed cases in New Mexico," the statement read. "Counties with (currently) confirmed cases include Rio Arriba, San Miguel, Sandoval, Socorro, Valencia, and Lincoln."

In June State Veterinarian Dave Fly, DVM, announced in a statement 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."

Additionally, "Be sure to check with the state of destination for livestock shipped out of state, because their requirements for New Mexico exports may have changed in response to the VS outbreak," the Livestock Board cautioned.

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

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