By Christi Lightcap
Special to The SUN
As of July 8, the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s State Veterinarian’s Office has nine locations in three counties under quarantine after horses tested positive for vesicular stomatitis (VS): Delta County, 3 cases; Montezuma County, 1; and Montrose County, 5.
“I encourage horse and other livestock owners, including dairies, to monitor which counties are affected and be vigilant about fly control. Controlling flies can go a long way in preventing the spread of this virus,” said State Veterinarian Keith Roehr. “Vesicular stomatitis can be painful for animals and costly to their owners. The virus typically causes oral blisters and sores that can be painful, causing difficulty in eating and drinking.”
A 2014 outbreak of VS created 556 livestock investigations in Colorado resulting in 370 quarantines, with the final quarantines released in January 2015.
Livestock owners who suspect an animal may have VS or any other vesicular disease should immediately contact their local veterinarian. Livestock with clinical signs of VS are isolated until they are determined to be of no further threat for disease spread. There are no USDA-approved vaccines for VS.
While rare, human cases of VS can occur, usually among those who handle infected animals. VS in humans can cause flu-like symptoms and only rarely includes lesions or blisters.