|All Vesicular Stomatitis (VS) Quarantines
Released in Texas
For the first time since May 19, Texas
has no animals or herds restricted because of Vesicular Stomatitis (VS),
a blistering disease that can temporarily debilitate affected equine animals,
cattle, goats, deer, swine or other susceptible species. VS occurs every
few years in the Southwest, and the virus is thought to be transmitted
by sand flies and black flies. Animals affected by the disease usually
begin to heal several weeks after exhibiting blisters, sloughing of skin
or sores in and around the mouth, above the hooves, or on the muzzle or
"Texas was the first of three states to have VS infection this year.
Throughout the summer, laboratory tests confirmed infection in horses
and cattle on 15 Texas premises in eight counties. On October 18, the
final Texas quarantine was released. This premise, in Kerr County, had
been quarantined in early September, when VS infection was confirmed in
a horse. We currently have no VS cases or quarantines, and no active VS
investigations," explained Dr. Bob Hillman, Texas' state veterinarian
and head of the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC), the state's livestock
and poultry health regulatory agency. Texas counties with confirmed VS
cases this summer were Reeves, Val Verde, Uvalde, Starr, Yoakum, Kerr,
Bandera and Dimmit. Animal health officials lift premise quarantines 30
days after the animals heal from the VS lesions.
Dr. Hillman said that releasing the last VS quarantine in the state will
make it easier to ship Texas livestock to other states. He recommended,
however, that producers and private veterinary practitioners continue
to check with states of destination prior to transporting animals, to
ensure all entry requirements are met.
As of mid-October, 107 premises in 22 Colorado counties, and 39 premises
in eight New Mexico counties remain quarantined, due to VS infection.
VS-infected animals in these states include horses, cattle, an alpaca,
a llama, and several sheep and goats.
"VS rarely causes death in affected animals, but it is painful to
animals, due to blisters and sloughing of skin. When VS strikes cattle
or other cloven-hooved animals, laboratory tests are essential, because
VS lesions mimic those of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), a highly dangerous
foreign animal disease. Even though horses are not susceptible to FMD,
we still recommend testing, to determine whether the lesions were caused
by VS, a toxic plant or poison," said Dr. Bob Hillman.
"As always, we urge producers to call their private veterinary practitioner
and their state animal health officials if livestock or poultry exhibit
unusual signs of disease," said Dr. Hillman. These signs may include
blistering or sores around the animal's mouth, hooves or teats; widespread
illness or unexpected death loss in a herd or flock; unusual ticks or
maggots; or animals that stagger or are unable to rise or walk.
To make a report, owners and private veterinary practitioners should call:
Texas Animal Health Commission -- 1-800-550-8242
New Mexico Livestock Board -- 1-505-841-6161
Colorado Department of Agriculture, State Veterinarians Office 1-303-239-4161