Articles: Press Release
Hauling Livestock from Wyoming to Texas?
Vesicular Stomatitis (VS) Regulations Apply!
Texas Animal Health Commission
Austin, Texas 78711
(800) 550-8242 FAX (512) 719-071
Bob Hillman, DVM • Executive Director
For info, contact Carla Everett, information officer, at 1-800-550-8242,
ext. 710, or email@example.com
Texas hunters or ranchers hauling horses or other livestock from Wyoming
this fall should be aware of regulations affecting the animals' entry or
re-entry into Texas, says Dr. Bob Hillman, head of the Texas Animal Health
Commission (TAHC), the state's livestock and poultry health regulatory
agency. Vesicular stomatitis (VS), a viral disease that can affect horses,
cattle, swine, deer, sheep or goats, has been confirmed in 12 horses and 10
cattle on a total of nine premises in Natrona and Converse counties in
southeast Wyoming. As of late September, these are the only cases confirmed
in the U.S. in 2006.
To help prevent the spread of VS, Texas livestock health regulations
prohibit the entry of horses, cattle, swine, (live) deer, sheep or goats
from VS-quarantined premises or areas. Animals may enter Texas from
non-quarantined areas of an affected state, provided an accredited
veterinarian in that state examines the animals and determines that they
are not exhibiting evidence of vesicular stomatitis and writes the
following statement on a current or new certificate of veterinary
inspection: "the animals represented on this health certificate have not
originated from a premise or area under quarantine for vesicular stomatitis."
"VS can cause susceptible livestock to develop blisters and lesions in the
mouth, on the muzzle or teats, or above the hooves," said Dr.
Hillman. "When the disease affects cattle or other cloven-hoofed animals,
animal health officials and producers are immediately concerned, as these
clinical signs mimic those of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), the world's
costliest, highly contagious disease. Horses, though not susceptible to
FMD, certainly can become infected with VS, and it can take several weeks
for animals to heal. During this time, the painful sores may cause
affected animals to become lame, or refuse to eat, drink or allow their
offspring to nurse."
"There is no vaccine for VS, so prevention is the key, and that includes
controlling insects such as culicoides gnats and black flies, which are the
primary vectors for the disease, and keeping infected animals away from
'clean' stock, as infection also can be spread from animal to animal,"
explained Dr. Hillman.
"If blisters or lesions appear in livestock of any species, the owner or
manager should contact their accredited veterinarian or the Texas Animal
Health Commission as soon as possible, so a disease investigation can be
launched," he said. "Laboratory testing to confirm the diagnosis can be
run at no charge to the livestock owner." Treatment of VS-infected animals
consists of supportive care, and in some cases, antibiotics to prevent
secondary infections in the open sores. Although VS is rarely fatal,
production losses can be substantial, particularly in dairies. In nearly
all states, VS-infected animals and their herd mates are quarantined until
at least 30 days after all lesions have healed.
In addition to causing animals to suffer, VS can result in trade embargoes
with Canada and European countries, where VS is not seen. Animal health
authorities want to prevent introduction of a new disease that may impact
the health of their livestock. Dr. Hillman said VS outbreaks in the U.S.
occur randomly, mostly in the Southwest. In 2005, VS-infected livestock
were confirmed on 445 premises in nine states, including one in Texas. In
2004, Texas had 15 of the 294 premises with VS-infected animals. Other
affected premises were in New Mexico and Colorado. The cases in 2004 were
the first confirmed since 1998.
Dr. Hillman said more information about VS is available on the TAHC web
site at: http://www.tahc.state.tx.us.
The TAHC headquarters may be reached at 1-800-550-8242.