Two confirmed cases of Vesicular Stomatitis Virus (VSV), a reportable animal disease, have been found in western South Dakota. USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory reported the disease to South Dakota state veterinarian, Dustin Oedekoven, after testing samples that were submitted on Tuesday, July 28, 2015.
VSV infected horses and cattle have been found already in 2015 in Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, Wyoming and Arizona. VSV can also threaten other livestock species, including sheep, goats and pigs.
The main symptoms of VSV are slobbering, blisters, sores and sloughing of skin in the mouth, on the tongue, on the muzzle, inside the ears and on the coronary band above the hooves. Lameness and weight loss may also occur. Flies and midges are the insect vectors responsible for transmitting VSV.
The virus can also be spread through direct contact with infected livestock and indirectly through contact with contaminated equipment and tack. Fly and insect control is the most important step in preventing the disease. Good sanitation and bio-security measures can help avoid exposure.
VSV is particularly significant because it is clinically indistinguishable from foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), swine vesicular disease and vesicular exanthema of swine, all serious foreign animal diseases. Because of similarities to these diseases, it is essential to quickly determine a diagnosis with laboratory testing if vesicles are observed in non-equines. Of the vesicular diseases, VSV is the only one that affects horses, and the presence of lesions is suggestive of VSV.