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Colorado State
Veterinarian's Office 
Positive Diagnosis in Ten Colorado Counties

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 14, 2015


Contact: Veterinarians and Livestock
Owners: State Veterinarian's Office, (303) 869-9130
Media: Christi Lightcap, (303) 869-9005, Christi.Lightcap@state.co.us
Vesicular Stomatitis (VS) Update - Positive Diagnosis in Ten Colorado Counties
Tips for Shows & Fairs, Livestock Owners and Veterinarians


BROOMFIELD, Colo. - As of 8/12/2015, the Colorado Department of Agriculture's State Veterinarian's Office has 70 locations in 10 counties under quarantine after horses, mules, and cattle herds tested positive for Vesicular Stomatitis (VS).

Colorado County
Total
Current Premises
Released
Quarantines
Archuleta County
4
2
Chaffee County
1
0
Conejos County
1
0
Delta County
15
2
La Plata County
5
1
Larimer County
18
3
Mesa County
3
1
Montezuma County
2
2
Montrose County
19
2
Weld County
2
0
Totals
70
13


"This outbreak is not contained to one specific area of the state. I encourage all livestock owners to be aware of their county status and take the proper precautions to prevent insect populations on their property," said State Veterinarian, Dr. Keith Roehr. Livestock owners who suspect an animal may have VS or any other vesicular disease should immediately contact their local veterinarian. Livestock with clinical signs of VS are isolated until they are determined to be of no further threat for disease spread. There are no USDA approved vaccines for VS. While rare, human cases of VS can occur, usually among those who handle infected animals. VS in humans can cause flu-like symptoms and only rarely includes lesions or blisters.

As VS reappears in Colorado, concerned livestock-owners want to know what they can do to protect their herds. The State Veterinarian's office receives many calls requesting the location of livestock and premises affected by VS. Colorado has a state statute called the "Confidentiality of Livestock Information" which protects livestock producers' operational information and animal disease information. (C.R.S. 35-57.9-103). For more information, visit https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/aganimals/vesicular-stomatitis-virus-vsv. "While we cannot disclose the exact location of the infected livestock, it is not very contagious from animal to animal. The primary method of spread is through insect vectors, primarily biting flies. The key to remember is to take steps to reduce the fly populations near livestock," continued Dr. Roehr.

Fairs and Shows

"The virus typically causes oral blisters and sores that can be painful causing difficulty in eating and drinking," continued Roehr. "We are closing in on the fair and show season and we want to remind livestock owners to practice vigilant disease mitigation practices to protect their animals." Guidelines for show and fair organizers can be found at https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/aganimals/vesicular-stomatitis-virus-vsv .

New for 2015 VS Investigations:

A notable change in the 2015 State response to VS has come from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) delisting of VS as a foreign animal disease in horses; VS continues to be listed as a foreign animal disease for cattle and other livestock. This USDA procedural change will allow greater flexibility in how VS is managed in respect to equine cases. The primary change will now be that quarantines may be released as soon as 14 days after the onset of clinical signs of the last affected horse on a premises. "The new protocols allow our office to release quarantines more quickly which ensures appropriate disease safeguards and promotes business continuity," continued Roehr. With the delisting of VS as a foreign animal disease, Colorado veterinarians may now take a lead role in the management of the disease in equine cases. In earlier cases, CDA or USDA field vets were required to perform the disease investigations on horses; the delisting now allows local veterinarians to perform the initial investigations, collect samples, and collaborate with animal health officials regarding movement restrictions and quarantines. The Colorado State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory has been approved to perform VS tests on horses in Colorado. This will provide a more timely response on test results.

Vesicular Stomatitis (VS) Signs and Transmission:

VS susceptible species include horses, mules, cattle, bison, sheep, goats, pigs, and camelids. The clinical signs of the disease include vesicles, erosions and sloughing of the skin on the muzzle, tongue, teats and above the hooves of susceptible livestock. Vesicles are usually only seen early in the course of the disease. The transmission of vesicular stomatitis is not completely understood but components include insect vectors, mechanical transmission, and livestock movement.

Tips for Livestock Owners:

Strict fly control is an important factor to inhibit the transmission of the disease. Avoid transferring feeding equipment, cleaning tools or health care equipment from other herds. Colorado veterinarians and livestock owners should contact the state of destination when moving livestock interstate to ensure that all import requirements are met. A list of contact information for all state veterinarians' offices is available at: http://www.colorado.gov/aganimals . Colorado fairs, livestock exhibitions, and rodeos may institute new entry requirements based on the extent and severity of the current VS outbreak. Certificates of Veterinary Inspection issued within 2-5 days prior to an event can beneficial to reduce risks. Be sure to stay informed of any new livestock event requirements.

Important Points for Veterinarians:

Any vesicular disease of livestock is reportable to the State Veterinarian's Office in Colorado - to report call 303-869-9130. If after-hours, call the same number to obtain the phone number of the staff veterinarian on call. With the delisting of VS as a foreign animal disease, Colorado veterinarians may now take a lead role in the management of the disease in equine cases. In earlier cases, CDA or USDA field vets were required to perform the disease investigations on horses; the delisting now allows local veterinarians to perform the initial investigations, collect samples, and collaborate with animal health officials regarding movement restrictions and quarantines. In livestock other than equine VS is still considered a foreign animal disease, any case with clinical signs consistent with VS will warrant an investigation by a state or federal foreign animal disease diagnostician (FADD). When VS is suspected in livestock other than equine the FADD will gather the epidemiological information, take the necessary blood samples, collect the necessary fluid or tissue from the lesions, and inform the owners and the referring veterinarian as to necessary bio-security and movement restrictions.

During the event, important VS disease prevention procedures include minimizing the sharing of water and feed/equipment, applying insect repellent daily (especially to the animal's ears), and closely observing animals for signs of vesicular stomatitis.

For additional information, contact the Colorado State Veterinarian's Office at 303-869-9130 or to view the current location of cases and other important updates and information you can visit: USDA vesicular stomatitis reference page.

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