Vesicular Stomatitis Confirmed in South Dakota

Vesicular Stomatitis Confirmed in South Dakota

Of the vesicular diseases, VSV is the only one that affects horses and the presence of lesions is suggestive of the disease.

Photo: Courtesy Dr. Josie Traub-Dargatz

Two confirmed cases of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), a reportable animal disease, have been found in western South Dakota.

The USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory reported the disease to South Dakota state veterinarian Dustin Oedekoven, DVM, after testing samples that were submitted on July 28.

Thus far in 2015 VSV-infected horses and cattle have been identified in Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, Wyoming, and Arizona. The virus can also threaten other livestock species, including sheep, goats, and pigs.

The main clinical signs of VSV include slobbering; blisters; sores; and sloughing of skin in the mouth, on the tongue, on the muzzle, inside the ears, and on the coronary band above the hooves. Lameness and weight loss can also occur.

Flies and midges are the insect vectors responsible for transmitting VSV. The virus can also be spread through direct contact with infected livestock and indirectly through contact with contaminated equipment and tack. Fly and insect control is the most important step in preventing the disease. Good sanitation and biosecurity measures can help avoid exposure.

Vesicular stomatitis is particularly significant because it is clinically indistinguishable from foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), swine vesicular disease, and vesicular exanthema of swine, all serious foreign animal diseases. Because of similarities to these diseases, it is essential to quickly determine a diagnosis with laboratory testing if vesicles are observed in non-equines. Of the vesicular diseases, VSV is the only one that affects horses and the presence of lesions is suggestive of the disease.

If you suspect VSV in your animals, contact your veterinarian immediately. Vesicular stomatitis cases in South Dakota should be immediately reported to the state veterinarian at 605/773-3321.

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