Vesicular stomatitis outbreak spreads to horses in 32 counties across Colorado

BROOMFIELD, Colo. — Vesicular stomatitis has now been confirmed in animals in more than 30 Colorado counties.

The disease, which primarily affects horses and cattle, according to the Colorado Department of Agriculture, shows up through signs including vesicles, erosions, and sloughing of the skin on the muzzle, tongue, teats, and coronary bands. According to the department, excessive salivation is often the first sign of disease, along with a reluctance to eat or drink. Lameness and weight loss may follow.

The Colorado Department of Agriculture announced Friday multiple horses and two cows have been affected in the following counties:

Adams, Alamosa, Arapahoe, Archuleta, Boulder, Broomfield, Chaffee, Conejos, Delta, Dolores, Douglas, El Paso, Fremont, Garfield, Gilpin, Grand, Gunnison, Jefferson, La Plata, Larimer, Mesa, Mineral, Montezuma, Montrose, Morgan, Ouray, Park, Pueblo, Rio Blanco, San Miguel, Summit, and Weld.

“We are seeing increasing numbers in new counties across the state,” said Dr. Keith Roehr, Colorado State Veterinarian, in a news release.  “It is important to remain diligent in checking horses and livestock for VSV lesions and contacting your veterinarian if symptoms are found.”

July 3, two horses in Weld County tested positive for the disease, before it began spreading throughout the state.

All cases must be reported to the State Veterinarian’s Office at 303-869-9130.

Click here to see how many animals have been affected in your county.

The following are tips for livestock owners from the Colorado Department of Agriculture:

  • Strict fly control is an important factor to inhibit the transmission of the disease.
  • Avoid transferring feeding equipment, cleaning tools or health care equipment from other herds.
  • Colorado veterinarians and livestock owners should contact the state of destination when moving livestock interstate to ensure that all import requirements are met. Contact information for all state veterinarian offices is listed here.
  • Colorado fairs, livestock exhibitions, and rodeos may institute new entry requirements based on the extent and severity of the current VS outbreak.
  • Certificates of veterinary inspection issued within 2-5 days prior to an event can be beneficial in reducing risks. Be sure to stay informed of any new livestock event requirements. See the Vesicular Stomatitis Guidelines for Shows and Fairs.
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