Vesicular Stomatitis is an infectious disease that appears every few years in the arid Southwestern states. Although Colorado has seen a fairly high number of cases this year, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has stated that it is not necessary to cancel livestock and equestrian events, providing they follow key protocols recommended by the Colorado State Veterinarian: aggressive fly control, regular and prompt manure removal, physical inspections by qualified personnel of horses prior to unloading from trailers, and all horses must have health certificates issued between two and five days prior to arrival on the show grounds. Affected animals are only considered to be infectious if they have lesions present.
Colorado State University produced a webinar featuring Dr. Paul Morley, Director of Infection Control at James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital at the Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biological Sciences and Dr. Angela Pelzel-McCluskey, National Equine Epidemiologist, USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. The webinar, located at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnC7VwKcdMI, gives valuable information about V.S. as well as the movement of animals into and out of affected states. The webinar also addressed the cancellation of livestock and equestrian events. “In speaking with State Veterinarian, Dr. Keith Roehr, The intention is that there will not be any restrictions or cancellation of shows at this point,” Dr. Morley states. “But they are recommending the protocols we have listed be in place. The best source of information for horse health or cattle health is your veterinarian. They’re the experts regarding the medical treatment of animals.”
Updates on the status of the outbreak can be found by googling “vesicular stomatitis USDA” or “Colorado Department of Agriculture vesicular stomatitis” or by visiting the Colorado Department of Agriculture Facebook page.