Second horse contracts vesicular stomatitis |

Second horse contracts vesicular stomatitis

Michelle Balleck

A second case of vesicular stomatitis is suspected in a Craig horse.

Local veterinarian Wayne Davis said he examined the horse Aug. 13 and is waiting for test results.

“When I first saw the horse, it had all these lesions,” he said. “Frankly, I can almost guarantee it’s going to be positive.”

Vesicular stomatitis is a viral illness that gives livestock lesions on the mouth, hooves, nipples and teats.

This horse marks the second known case in Moffat County, but the animals live many miles apart. He saw another horse Friday with one lesion he suspects to be the beginning stages of the disease.

He said the disease subsides quickly. Three or four days after Davis saw the horse waiting on test results, a representative from the state veterinarian’s office looked at it.

“All the lesions were already starting to heal,” Davis said.

Although the disease is not serious in horses, he said other animals can be severely affected.

“You get lesions around a milking cow’s nipples, you can imagine what kind of a problem that can be,” he said.

Once an animal shows symptoms, the ranch is quarantined for a few weeks to avoid spreading the disease. The quarantine used to include a 10-mile radius until experts realized flies were the biggest transmitters of the disease. They can be picked up by the wind and infect a horse 100 miles away from the one with vesicular stomatitis.

“It’s very unlikely that your horse is going to get it through contact with an infected horse,” Davis said.

Quarantining is a political issue because of the economic effects. In fact, no one in the state of Kentucky will accept horses from states with reported cases of the disease because owners ship racehorses to Europe.

“It is extremely important because if we weren’t (quarantining) it’d be impacting a lot of people’s pocketbooks,” he said.

One way to prevent horses from contracting the disease is through fly control. But after an animal contracts vesicular stomatitis, the best medicine is rest.

“Lay off of them for a while,” Davis said. “The best thing you can do with a horse that has this is just leave it alone.”

Antibiotics can protect from second bacterial infections, and pain relievers are good to give animals if the lesions are severe.

Davis stressed that human contraction is rare and owners of horses with the disease should not be stigmatized.

“They didn’t do anything wrong,” he said.

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