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Horses in Colorado test positive for VS, cattle owners to be aware

Christian Fernsby |
With the recent announcement in Colorado of two horses on two separate premises testing positive for vesicular stomatitis (VS), NDA is encouraging horse and cattle owners to be aware and take precautions, particularly with animals that may be commingling with other animals at events over the next several months.

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VS is a viral disease which primarily affects horses and cattle, but can also affect sheep, goats, swine, llamas and alpacas.

The disease is characterized by fever and the formation of blister-like lesions in the mouth and on the dental pad, tongue, lips, nostrils, hooves and teats.

When the blisters break, there is usually salivation and nasal discharge. And, as a result of these painful lesions, infected animals may refuse to eat and drink, which can lead to weight loss. There are no USDA-approved vaccines for VS.

The primary way the virus is transmitted is from biting insects like black flies, sand flies and midges, so animal owners should consider treatments to reduce insects where animals are housed.

VS can also be spread by nose-to-nose contact between animals. The virus itself usually runs its course in five to seven days, and it can take up to an additional seven days for the infected animal to recover from the symptoms. Colorado, New Mexico and Texas all have confirmed VS cases at this time.

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