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Vesicular stomatitis infects three more Texas horses

A horse with vesicular stomatitis shows blisters in the mouth area.

A horse with vesicular stomatitis shows blisters in the mouth area.

Update/clarification: The number of cases of vesicular stomatitis reported in horses in Texas officially stands at 11, according to the July 8 situation report released by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). This number is lower than some earlier reports, which included Texas Animal Health Commission reporting on one or two cases that did not meet the offical case definition. The 11 horses were located across seven premises, one of which, in Kinney County, was released from quarantine on July 8. APHIS reported two additional cases in its latest update, in two head of cattle in Jim Wells County. Counties currently with positive premises are Hidalgo, Jim Wells, Nueces and San Patricio. In all, seven premises remain under quarantine.

Three more horses in Texas have been confirmed with vesicular stomatitis, a disease with symptoms similar to those of foot and mouth disease.

The latest cases were confirmed by the Texas Animal Health Commission.

On May 28, the commission announced the first cases of vesicular stomatitis in the US this year, involving five horses in Kinney County. Three additional infected horses, in Hidalgo County in southern Texas, were confirmed last week. Two of the horses were 24 miles northwest of Edinburg, the other three miles northwest of Edinburg.

On Tuesday, cases were confirmed in three horses in San Patricio County in southern Texas. Two of the horses were seven and a half miles southeast of Mathis. The other was about seven miles southeast of Mathis.

The latest horses tested positive for the New Jersey serotype.

The commission has imposed quarantines on the properties and the infected horses are being monitored by veterinarians while under quarantine.

The quarantines can be released 21 days after all lesions have healed.

Several states have tightened entry requirements on Texas livestock, including horses, due to the cases.

Vesicular stomatitis can cause blisters and sores in the mouth and on the tongue, muzzle, teats or hooves of horses, cattle, swine, sheep, goats, llamas and a number of other animals.

Lesions usually heal in two or three weeks.

Because of the contagious nature of the disease, which has symptoms similar to foot and mouth disease, animal health officials urge livestock owners and caretakers to report these symptoms to their veterinarian immediately.

Most animals recover well with supportive care by a veterinarian, but some lesions can be painful.

It is thought that insects are an important vector in the transmission of the disease.

The last confirmed cases in Texas were in 2009.

State epidemiologist Dr Andy Schwartz says those who suspect any animal had the disease should contact their veterinarian immediately.

“VS is not highly contagious to people but it can cause flu-like illness if infected saliva gets into an open wound, eyes or mouth.

“People handling potentially infected animals should wear gloves for protection, and talk with their physician if they have questions.”

Horsetalk.co.nz

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