Vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) has been detected in cattle on a Zapata County premises and two Starr County premises. Testing at the USDA Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory confirmed the virus as the New Jersey serotype, which is the same serotype found in previously reported VSV positive horses in Starr County.
The cattle were tested on the individual premises after the owners observed lesions and contacted their veterinary practitioners. The cattle have been isolated and are being monitored. The three premises will remain under Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) quarantine until 14 days from the onset of lesions in the last affected animal on each premises.
Vesicular stomatitis is a viral disease that primarily affects horses and cattle and occasionally swine, sheep, goats, llamas and alpacas. VSV can cause blisters and sores in the mouth and on the tongue, muzzle, teats or hooves of susceptible animals. Additional signs of infection include fever, drooling or frothing at the mouth, reluctance to eat, and lameness or laminitis if lesions develop around the coronary band. Lesions usually will heal in two or three weeks, and most animals recover with supportive care by a veterinarian.
VSV is spread by direct contact with infected animals or spread by insect vectors like black flies, sand flies and biting midges. Since the VSV-infected cattle have not recently traveled, this could indicate that VSV-infected insects are the likely source of infection on these premises.
“If you suspect your animals have VSV, contact your private veterinarian immediately,” said Dr. Andy Schwartz, state veterinarian and TAHC executive director. “VSV outbreaks cause concern because signs can mimic those of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), a highly contagious and dangerous foreign animal disease. A quick laboratory test can confirm it is VSV and help your veterinarian treat your livestock appropriately.”
The United States 2020 VSV outbreak began on April 13, 2020, when NVSL confirmed the first VSV-positive premises in New Mexico. Since that time, VSV has been confirmed in Arizona and Texas. The first case of VSV in Texas was confirmed in an El Paso County horse. Since that time, the virus has been confirmed in both equine and cattle in Starr County, and cattle in Zapata County. For VSV history and past TAHC updates click here.
Even with the best defensive measures, VSV could infect a herd. However, these tips may help protect livestock:
- Control biting flies (fly spray, fly traps, maintaining clean pens, etc.).
- Keep equine animals stalled or under a roof to reduce exposure to flies.
- Feed and water stock from their individual buckets.
- Don’t visit a ranch that’s under quarantine for VSV. Wait until the animals have healed.
- Restrict nose-to-nose contact between horses from other premises.
- Clean and disinfect tack and equipment between uses.
If You Suspect Infection
- Call your private veterinarian immediately.
- Separate affected horse(s) from all healthy horses on the property.
- Handle all healthy animals before sick animals. After handling sick animals make sure to wash and disinfect your hands and boots, if possible, change and wash your clothes as well.
Some states and other countries may restrict movement of, or impose additional requirements for Texas equine, cattle, or other susceptible animals entering their state because of the confirmed cases of VSV. Before moving livestock, contact the state of destination for entry requirements. For international export information, contact the USDA, Veterinary Services Austin office at (301) 851-3300 option 2.
The TAHC will send out updates upon receiving new VSV confirmations. Click here to sign up for the equine email list to receive the VSV updates to your inbox. All cases will be reported to the Equine Disease Communication Center. For VSV history and past TAHC updates click here. To view the USDA 2020 VSV situation reports click here.
If you suspect a client’s animal is infected with VSV, contact your TAHC Region Office for procedures, required paperwork, and important sample submission information.
For more information about VSV and preventative measures, visit the links below: