Last week, Colorado joined New Mexico and Texas as states affected by the vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) infection after two horses displaying signs of the virus were tested and confirmed positive by the National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa. Previously, New Mexico had two VSV cases confirmed while Texas also had two cases confirmed. Colorado, New Mexico and Texas are the only states currently affected by the virus. Vesicular stomatitis is a viral disease that primarily affects horses, cattle, and swine, but the agent causing the disease has a wide host range and can occasionally infect sheep and goats.
In affected livestock, VSV causes blister-like lesions to form in the mouth and on the dental pad, tongue, lips, nostrils, hooves, and teats. These blisters swell and break, leaving raw tissue that is so painful that infected animals generally refuse to eat and drink and show signs of lameness. Severe weight loss usually follows, and in dairy cows a severe drop in milk production commonly occurs. Affected dairy cattle can appear to be normal and will continue to eat about half of their feed intake.
All premises confirmed positive are under state quarantines and will remain so until at least 14 days from the onset of lesions in the last affected animal on the premises. But all livestock, including horses imported from Texas, New Mexico and Colorado, must meet additional state import requirements. For more information concerning VSV, click here.