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A note from Dr. Strubberg

Vesicular stomatitis (VS)

Vesicular stomatitis (VS) is a viral disease that primarily affects horses and cattle and occasionally swine, sheep, goats, llamas, and alpacas.  Humans can also become infected with the disease when handling affected animals, but this is a rare event.  Vesicular stomatitis has been confirmed only in the Western Hemisphere.  It is known to be an endemic disease in the warmer regions of North, Central, and South America, and outbreaks of the disease in other temperate geographic parts of the hemisphere occur sporadically. The Southwestern and Western United States have experienced a number of vesicular stomatitis outbreaks, the most recent and largest VS outbreak occurred in 2015.  Outbreaks usually occur during the warmer months, often along waterways.  The time from exposure to the onset of clinical signs is 2-8 days. VS is a state reportable disease.

How vesicular stomatitis spreads is not fully understood – insects, animal movements, and moving the virus on objects are all factors. The most common method of transmission is through biting insects. Black flies, sand flies, and biting midges have all been shown capable of transmitting the virus, but other insects may also be involved. Once the disease is introduced into a herd, it may move from animal to animal by contact or exposure to saliva or fluid from ruptured vesicles.

There is no specific treatment or cure for vesicular stomatitis. Good sanitation and quarantine practices on affected farms usually contain the infection. When a diagnosis is confirmed on a farm, work with the State Veterinarian’s office to determine necessary quarantine procedures.

The following procedures are also recommended:

  • Separate animals with lesions from healthy animals, preferably by stabling. Animals on pastures tend to be affected more frequently with this disease.
  • Implement on-farm insect control programs that include: elimination or reduction of insect breeding areas, manure management practices, and use of insecticides or other insect prevention strategies on animals and around facilities.
  • Use personal protective measures when handling affected animals to avoid human exposure to this disease

Clinical signs include:

  • Blister-like lesions in/around mouth, nose, coronary band, and/or sheath/udders
  • Fever
  • Drooling/frothing at mouth
  • Reluctance to eat
  • Lameness or laminitis if lesions develop around coronary band

Vesicular stomatitis is a reportable disease. If suspected, this disease should be immediately reported to the Missouri State Veterinarian’s office at (573) 751-3377, or the USDA Area Veterinarian in Charge (AVIC) at (573) 658-9850.
Livestock owners who have questions about this disease should contact their veterinarian.
More information can be found at: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/publications/animal_health/fs-vesicular-stomatitis.pdf

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Emerging Issues

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Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus 2 (RHDV2)

Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus Seroptype 2 (RDHV2) is a highly contagious and potentially fatal disease that affects both domestic and wild rabbits of all ages. This is a foreign animal disease (FAD) as recognized by the OIE (World Organization for Animal Health) and is of high concern in the United States. RHDV2 has been confirmed in several states so far and continues to spread to new states. RHDV2 has not been found in Missouri at this time, but we ask that you remain vigilant and communicate early with rabbit owners.

Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease - Owner Handout

For a full list of reportable diseases, visit our webpage.