Last Updated on March 29, 2022 by Allison Price
Vesicular Stomatitis, which affects horses, cattle, and pork, is caused by a virus. It rarely affects sheep and goats. It can also be transmitted to humans, and can cause flu-like diseases. Vesicular Stomatitis is rare in the United States. Although outbreaks have occurred in every region of the country over the years, they have been rarer than in the southwest states since the 1980s. Infection is usually seasonal and occurs between May and October. Although vesicular stamatitis viruses can be found in South America, Central America and some parts of Mexico, they are not common outside the Western Hemisphere.
Direct contact with infected animals with signs of disease (those who have sores) and blood-feeding insects can transmit the virus. Black flies are the most common carrier in the Southwest United States. Sand flies can also transmit the disease in areas where it is more common.
Horses with vesicular stamatitis may have crusts and blisters on the lips or sores in the mouth.
Excessive salivation is often the first sign that there’s a problem. They rupture quickly after they form. Common signs include ulcers, erosions and shedding of the skin of the tongue and ulcers at junctions of lips. Sometimes, lameness can be seen as a result of inflammation and erosions around the coronary band. During outbreaks in the southwest US, horses can develop crusting lesions on their muzzles, lower abdomens, penis coverings, and udders. Usually, the disease is short-lived and causes no loss of appetite or lameness. Reinfection may occur after a second exposure. As well as non-infectious, infectious causes of mouth sores, there are other possible diagnoses.
There is no specific treatment. Infected animals should be isolated until they are cured. To reduce the risk of the disease spreading, other animals should be kept off the property. Softened feeds can help to avoid general ill-health and malnutrition. Mild antiseptics can be used to clean ulcers and prevent bacterial infections.
Owners can reduce the likelihood of their animals being exposed to the virus by limiting pasture time and providing shelters or barns for insects feeding times. Ask your veterinarian for advice on insecticides suitable for horses. Vaccines are not readily available in the United States, but they are available in certain Latin American countries.
Vesicular Stomatitis can be reported in all areas including the USA. Veterinary professionals must notify animal health officials if they suspect vesicular stomatitis. The signs of the disease are similar to foot-and-mouth disease in cattle or swine, swine vasicular disease and vesicular exanthema. Horses are not at risk for foot-and-mouth.
I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!