Vesicular Stomatitis (VS)
Confirmed in Texas Cattle
Texas Animal Health Commission
Wednesday, June 30, 2004 10:53 (Vesicular stomatitis updates
are posted on the TAHC web site at
For release---June 30, 2004
Texas Animal Health Commission
Box l2966 * Austin, Texas 78711
(800) 550-8242 * FAX (512) 719-0719
Bob Hillman, DVM * Executive Director
For info, contact Carla Everett, information officer
1-800-550-8242, ext. 710,
New Mexico Livestock Board
Vesicular Stomatitis (VS) Confirmed in Texas Cattle
This year’s outbreak of vesicular stomatitis (VS) now has been confirmed, not only in horses in Texas and New Mexico, but also in two head of cattle in Starr County, about 225 miles south of San Antonio. The Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC), the state’s livestock and poultry health regulatory agency, received notification of the positive laboratory results late Tuesday, June 29.
"The two infected cattle are on separate quarantined premises in Starr County and are the first confirmed cases in cattle in the U.S. since the l997 VS outbreak involving New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona and Utah. The l998 outbreak involved only horses," said Dr. Max Coats, deputy director for the TAHC’s Animal Health Programs.
"On one of the premises in Starr County, one cow among a handful of cattle tested positive for VS, and no other susceptible animals are on the site. On the second premise, the owner has an infected cow and horse, and there are about 30 other head of cattle and several horses that, at this point, have no clinical signs of VS and they have tested negative for the disease," he said.
As of June 30, VS infection in 2004 has been detected on a total of 15 premises in Texas and New Mexico. Disease investigations also are continuing. With the exception of two sites in Starr County, all cases involve horses.
Starr County -- five premises (two include infected cattle)
Dimmit County -- one premise
Yoakum County -- one premise
Val Verde County -- one premise
Reeves County -- one premise
Carlsbad area -- four premises
Belen, Valencia County-- one premise
VS, a viral infection, occurs sporadically in the southwestern U.S. and is thought to be transmitted by sand flies and black flies. This painful, but short-term disease can cause blistering and erosions in and around the mouth, and around the muzzle, teats or hooves of horses, cattle, goats, swine, deer and some other livestock. Infected animals with open sores can expose herd mates to the disease through close contact or by the sharing of feed buckets or bits. As a precaution, all infected and susceptible livestock on a premise are quarantined until at least 30 days after all infected animals have healed.
"The signs of VS mimic those of foot-and-mouth disease, a dangerous and highly contagious foreign animal disease that can strike cattle, swine, sheep, deer and other cloven-hooved animals, but not affect horses," he said. "When livestock develop blistering or erosions, it is imperative that the animals be evaluated and laboratory tests be conducted to differentiate between the two diseases or to determine if there is a caustic substance, toxic weed or poison that is causing the irritation. A regulatory veterinarian from the TAHC or U.S. Department of Agriculture should be notified by the owner or private veterinary practitioner, so small snippets of tissue can be collected from the sores laboratory submission."
Samples from horses are tested at the National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) at Ames, Iowa. As a safety measure, samples from cloven-hooved animals are shipped to Foreign Animal Disease Laboratory (FADDL) on Plum Island, New York, where they are subjected to testing for both vesicular stomatitis and foot-and-mouth disease.
To report potential signs of VS, owners and practitioners in Texas can call the TAHC at 1-800-550-8242, anytime, day or night. In New Mexico, reports should be made to the New Mexico Livestock Board at 1-505-841-6161. The TAHC urges livestock transporters to check with their intended state of destination to obtain the latest information on testing requirements, movement restrictions or other VS-related regulations.