Cases of vesicular stomatitis virus confirmed in Larimer County

Laura Studley

Colorado is the most recent state to confirm cases of the vesicular stomatitis virus infection, according to multiple agencies, including the United States Department of Agriculture. 

The USDA has confirmed multiple cases of VSV in three states as of July 8, 2019, including Colorado, New Mexico and Texas. As of June 21, 2019, 31 total areas have been quarantined due to the disease, according to a USDA report.  

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As of now, there are a total of five cases of VSV present in Larimer County as confirmed by the Colorado Department of Agriculture.

VSV is a viral disease that is known to affect horses and cattle but can also spread to swine, sheep, goats, pigs, llamas and alpacas. The federal and state governments require the disease to be reported because it resembles foot and mouth disease and swine vesicular disease, according to SOURCE.  These diseases pose importance to international trade, as they require the animals to be placed under quarantine until the virus passes. 

I think we’ve just had the right conditions for the flies to travel and replicate and transmit the virus toward us,” Allen Landes, Larimer County veterinarian

The main symptoms of VSV are blisters, sores and the shedding of skin in the mouth, on the tongue, on the muzzle and ears and above the hooves. Weight loss and lameness are also possible symptoms. 

Colorado has not seen an outbreak since the summer of 2014, according to the Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Over 200 properties were quarantined due to the infection of hundreds of horses and cattle. The virus can be spread through direct contact between the animals’ noses or indirectly through shedding the virus into a communal trailer or water trough. 

“I think we’ve just had the right conditions for the flies to travel and replicate and transmit the virus toward us,” said Allen Landes, a Larimer County veterinarian who diagnosed a horse with VSV. “It first started out down in Texas just a couple weeks ago, and it’s hopped up to central New Mexico, and we’ve seen it now in Larimer County.”

There is no specific treatment to fight the disease, Landes said. However, anti-inflammatories are prescribed and the use of soft feed is recommended to reduce the pain in the mouth. 

“The virus will run its course,” Landes said. “The mucosa will heal in the mouth, and the horse will develop antibodies to it and hopefully be protected in the future, but we don’t know for sure.” 

Laura Studley can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @laurastudley_.