With Texas, Colorado and New Mexico reporting multiple confirmed cases of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), the Kansas Department of Agriculture is encouraging livestock owners to be aware and take precautions, particularly with animals that may be comingling with other animals at competitions and similar events. At this time, there have been no cases of VSV reported in Kansas.
VSV is a viral disease which primarily affects horses, but can also affect cattle, sheep, goats, swine, llamas and alpacas. The disease is characterized by fever and the formation of blister-like lesions in the mouth and on the dental pad, tongue, lips, nostrils, ears, hooves and teats. Infected animals may refuse to eat and drink, which can lead to weight loss. There are no USDA-approved vaccines for VSV.
The primary way the virus is transmitted is from biting insects like black flies, sand flies and midges. Owners should consider treatments to reduce insects where animals are housed. VSV can also be spread by nose-to-nose contact between animals. The virus itself usually runs its course in five to seven days, and it can take up to an additional seven days for the infected animal to recover from the symptoms. Premises with animals diagnosed with VSV are quarantined until at least 14 days after the last affected animal is diagnosed.
VSV is considered a reportable disease in Kansas. Any person who suspects their animals may have VSV should contact their local veterinarian or state animal health official.