Articles: Press Release
All Vesicular Stomatitis (VS) Quarantines Released in Texas
Texas Animal Health Commission
Box l2966 * Austin, Texas 78711 * (800) 550-8242 * FAX (512) 719-0719
Bob Hillman, DVM * Executive Director
For info, contact Carla Everett, information officer, at 1-800-550-8242,
For release---October 19, 2004
For the first time since May 19, Texas has no animals or herds restricted
because of Vesicular Stomatitis (VS), a blistering disease that can
temporarily debilitate affected equine animals, cattle, goats, deer, swine
or other susceptible species. VS occurs every few years in the Southwest,
and the virus is thought to be transmitted by sand flies and black
flies. Animals affected by the disease usually begin to heal several weeks
after exhibiting blisters, sloughing of skin or sores in and around the
mouth, above the hooves, or on the muzzle or teats.
"Texas was the first of three states to have VS infection this
year. Throughout the summer, laboratory tests confirmed infection in
horses and cattle on 15 Texas premises in eight counties. On October 18,
the final Texas quarantine was released. This premise, in Kerr County, had
been quarantined in early September, when VS infection was confirmed in a
horse. We currently have no VS cases or quarantines, and no active VS
investigations," explained Dr. Bob Hillman, Texas' state veterinarian and
head of the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC), the state's livestock
and poultry health regulatory agency. Texas counties with confirmed VS
cases this summer were Reeves, Val Verde, Uvalde, Starr, Yoakum, Kerr,
Bandera and Dimmit. Animal health officials lift premise quarantines 30
days after the animals heal from the VS lesions.
Dr. Hillman said that releasing the last VS quarantine in the state will
make it easier to ship Texas livestock to other states. He recommended,
however, that producers and private veterinary practitioners continue to
check with states of destination prior to transporting animals, to ensure
all entry requirements are met.
As of mid-October, 107 premises in 22 Colorado counties, and 39 premises in
eight New Mexico counties remain quarantined, due to VS infection.
VS-infected animals in these states include horses, cattle, an alpaca, a
llama, and several sheep and goats.
"VS rarely causes death in affected animals, but it is painful to animals,
due to blisters and sloughing of skin. When VS strikes cattle or other
cloven-hooved animals, laboratory tests are essential, because VS lesions
mimic those of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), a highly dangerous foreign
animal disease. Even though horses are not susceptible to FMD, we still
recommend testing, to determine whether the lesions were caused by VS, a
toxic plant or poison," said Dr. Bob Hillman.
"As always, we urge producers to call their private veterinary practitioner
and their state animal health officials if livestock or poultry exhibit
unusual signs of disease," said Dr. Hillman. These signs may include
blistering or sores around the animal's mouth, hooves or teats; widespread
illness or unexpected death loss in a herd or flock; unusual ticks or
maggots; or animals that stagger or are unable to rise or walk.
To make a report, owners and private veterinary practitioners should call:
Texas Animal Health Commission -- 1-800-550-8242
New Mexico Livestock Board -- 1-505-841-6161
Colorado Department of Agriculture, State Veterinarians Office 1-303-239-4161