Kentucky Horse Council
1500 Bull Lea Rd. Suite 214 C
Lexington, KY 40511
FAX 866.618.3837

Vesicular Stomatitis

The following information on vesicular stomatitis is an excerpt from the 2005 U.S. Animal Health Report, Chapter 7, pages 76-77.

Vesicular stomatitis is a disease that primarily affects cattle, horses, and swine, and occasionally sheep and goats. Humans can be exposed to the virus when handling affected animals but rarely become infected. In affected livestock, vesicular stomatitis causes blisterlike lesions in the mouth and on the dental pad, tongue, lips, nostrils, hooves, and teats. Animals usually recover within 2 weeks. While vesicular stomatitis can cause economic losses to livestock producers, it is a particularly important disease because its outward signs are similar to—although generally less severe than—those of foot and- mouth disease, a foreign animal disease of clovenhoofed animals that was eradicated from the United States in 1929. The clinical signs of vesicular stomatitis are also similar to those of swine vesicular disease, another foreign animal disease. The only way to distinguish among these diseases is through laboratory tests.

The mechanisms by which vesicular stomatitis spreads are not fully known; insect vectors, mechanical transmission, and movement of animals are probably responsible. Once introduced into a herd, the disease apparently moves from animal to animal by contact or exposure to saliva or fluid from ruptured lesions.

Historically, outbreaks of vesicular stomatitis in domestic livestock occur in the southwestern United States during warm months and particularly along riverways. However, outbreaks are sporadic and unpredictable. In 2005, nine States reported quarantined vesicular stomatitis premises (Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming) (table 16). Control of vesicular stomatitis spread occurs via State quarantine of affected premises and control of movement of animals from affected areas. Insect control also helps prevent occurrences of the disease on the premises. Because vesicular stomatitis occurs randomly, accredited and regulatory veterinarians and producers strive to detect the disease quickly, quarantine affected premises and animals, and control future outbreaks.

Current Outbreak Information