VSV confirmed in Grand County horse | SkyHiNews.com

VSV confirmed in Grand County horse

A horse infected with the vesicular stomatitis virus is shown in this photo.
Colorado Department of Agriculture

Grand County has its first case of the vesicular stomatitis virus, a viral disease that has affected numerous horses along the Front Range and in other states.

The Grand County CSU extension office warned of a suspected case of the virus in a horse last week when it sent an email blast to its members asking them to take precautions against the spread of the virus. The email detailed how the horse, which had recently attended an equine event in Fraser, showed signs of the virus and a veterinarian had sent off blood samples to be tested.

Now, Colorado Department of Agriculture has Grand County listed on its website naming the affected counties with one active quarantine related to the virus, commonly known as VSV.

As of 4 p.m. Thursday, there were 254 active quarantines across Colorado due to the virus. With 61, Larimer County had by far the most. It was followed by Boulder (28), Jefferson (25), Weld (25), Montezuma (23), La Platta (22) and Mesa (21) counties. 

Boulder County had one confirmed bovine case; all others in Colorado were equine, though VSV can affect sheep, goats, llamas and alpacas.

The virus causes blisters in an infected animal’s mouth and on its lips, nostrils, tongue, hooves and teats. The blisters are painful enough the infected animals often lose weight and show signs of lameness.

The virus can be transmitted through direct contact and indirect contact, including flies and other insects. For preventative measures, the extension office recommended horse and livestock owners use their fly spray liberally and refrain from sharing equipment like water buckets, hay bags or bits.

While The American Association of Equine Practitioners says there are ways to reduce an infected animal’s discomfort — like soft feeds or anti-inflammatories to minimize swelling — owners and vets can do little more than wait for healing and take appropriate precautions to minimize spreading the disease to other horses and livestock. 

A 2006 study found VSV has been reported in the southeastern and southwestern U.S. periodically since the early 1900s. It typically occurs over the summer months, and the study followed a series of outbreaks in the 2000s after the last significant outbreak had occurred in the 1990s. 

Colorado was hit hard by the virus again in 2014, when VSV forced the quarantine of more than 200 properties, most in northern Colorado.

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