South Dakota Implements Equine Requirements for State Fair

To help keep vesicular stomatitis (VS) from spreading further in South Dakota, animal health officials in that state will require all horses attending the South Daoka State Fair, taking place today through Sept. 7 in Huron, to have health papers issued within 48 hours of arrival.

Vesicular stomatitis has been found at 29 locations in five counties in western South Dakota since July 28. To date, 27 of the premises have affected horses, while two cattle herds have also been infected.

The viral disease can cause blisters and sores in the mouth and on the tongue, muzzle, teats, or hooves of horses, cattle, swine, sheep, goats, llamas, and a number of other animals. Lesions usually will heal in two or three weeks. Because of the contagious nature of VS and its resemblance to other diseases such as foot and mouth disease, animal health officials urge livestock owners and caretakers to report these symptoms to their veterinarian immediately. Most animals recover well with supportive care by a veterinarian, but some lesions can be painful.

State Veterinarian Dustin Oedekoven, DVM, is recommending owners monitor their livestock, especially horses, closely. Animals traveling for shows, exhibitions, or events need especially diligent observation. Horses traveling to Huron for events associated with the state fair are required to have a CVI (certificate of veterinary inspection) issued by their veterinarian within 48 hours of arrival.

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. Isolation of affected and exposed animals, as well as fly and insect control are the most important steps in preventing the disease. Good sanitation and biosecurity measures can help avoid exposure.

If you suspect VSV in your animals, contact your veterinarian immediately. Vesicular stomatitis should be immediately reported to the South Dakota state veterinarian at 605/773-3321. Affected premises are quarantined to prevent the spread of this disease. People who are in close contact with affected animals sometimes develop an influenza-like illness with symptoms including fever, muscle aches, and headache.

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