||Hauling Livestock from Wyoming to Texas?
Vesicular Stomatitis (VS) Regulations Apply
or ranchers hauling horses or other livestock from Wyoming this fall should
be aware of regulations affecting the animals' entry or re-entry into
Texas, says Dr. Bob Hillman, head of the Texas Animal Health Commission
(TAHC), the state's livestock and poultry health regulatory agency. Vesicular
stomatitis (VS), a viral disease that can affect horses, cattle, swine,
deer, sheep or goats, has been confirmed in 12 horses and 10 cattle on
a total of nine premises in Natrona and Converse counties in southeast
Wyoming. As of late September, these are the only cases confirmed in the
U.S. in 2006.
To help prevent the spread of VS, Texas livestock health regulations prohibit
the entry of horses, cattle, swine, (live) deer, sheep or goats from VS-quarantined
premises or areas. Animals may enter Texas from non-quarantined areas
of an affected state, provided an accredited veterinarian in that state
examines the animals and determines that they are not exhibiting evidence
of vesicular stomatitis and writes the following statement on a current
or new certificate of veterinary inspection: "the animals represented
on this health certificate have not originated from a premise or area
under quarantine for vesicular stomatitis."
" VS can cause susceptible livestock to develop blisters and lesions
in the mouth, on the muzzle or teats, or above the hooves," said
Dr. Hillman. "When the disease affects cattle or other cloven-hoofed
animals, animal health officials and producers are immediately concerned,
as these clinical signs mimic those of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), the
world's costliest, highly contagious disease. Horses, though not susceptible
to FMD, certainly can become infected with VS, and it can take several
weeks for animals to heal. During this time, the painful sores may cause
affected animals to become lame, or refuse to eat, drink or allow their
offspring to nurse."
" There is no vaccine for VS, so prevention is the key, and that
includes controlling insects such as culicoides gnats and black flies,
which are the primary vectors for the disease, and keeping infected animals
away from 'clean' stock, as infection also can be spread from animal to
animal," explained Dr. Hillman.
"If blisters or lesions appear in livestock of any species, the owner
or manager should contact their accredited veterinarian or the Texas Animal
Health Commission as soon as possible, so a disease investigation can
be launched," he said. "Laboratory testing to confirm the diagnosis
can be run at no charge to the livestock owner."
Treatment of VS-infected animals consists of supportive care, and in
some cases, antibiotics to prevent secondary infections in the open sores.
Although VS is rarely fatal, production losses can be substantial, particularly
in dairies. In nearly all states, VS-infected animals and their herd mates
are quarantined until at least 30 days after all lesions have healed.
In addition to causing animals to suffer, VS can result in trade embargoes
with Canada and European countries, where VS is not seen. Animal health
authorities want to prevent introduction of a new disease that may impact
the health of their livestock.
Dr. Hillman said VS outbreaks in the U.S. occur randomly, mostly in the
Southwest. In 2005, VS-infected livestock were confirmed on 445 premises
in nine states, including one in Texas. In 2004, Texas had 15 of the 294
premises with VS-infected animals. Other affected premises were in New
Mexico and Colorado. The cases in 2004 were the first confirmed since
Dr. Hillman said more information about VS is available on the TAHC web
site at: http://www.tahc.state.tx.us.
The TAHC headquarters may be reached at 1-800-550-8242.