Important Announcement from GIRCom
Vesicular Stomatitis Outbreak Information
Vesicular Stomatitis (VS) is a contagious disease caused by a virus that affects horses, livestock — including alpacas and llamas, and several other animals. The disease can cause blisters and sores in the mouth and on the tongue, muzzle, teats, or hooves. Lesions usually will heal in two or three weeks. Because of the contagious nature of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) and its resemblance to other diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), animal health officials urge livestock owners and caretakers to report these symptoms to their veterinarian immediately. Most animals will recover with supportive care by a veterinarian.
Vesicular Stomatitis is a reportable disease. In a suspect case, state and federal animal health authorities will be contacted by your veterinarian. When a case of vesicular stomatitis is confirmed, your state veterinarian’s office will quarantine the affected farm or ranch. In an effort to minimize risk of spread of the disease, susceptible species will be confined to that location for at least 14 days from the onset of the last case on that property. How VS spreads is not fully understood but it is believed to be transmitted by arthropods such as flies, mosquitoes, and midges.
This year, a VSV outbreak began on June 21, 2019, when the first cases were confirmed in Kinney County, Texas. According to the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, since then, VSV-positive premises have been confirmed to date in 3 states: Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas. Since the start of the outbreak, Colorado has identified 56 affected premises (31 confirmed positive, 25 suspect) in 6 counties (Adams, Boulder, Broomfield, La Plata, Larimer, and Weld Counties). New Mexico has identified 30 affected premises (27 confirmed positive, 3 suspect) in 6 counties (Los Alamos, Rio Arriba, Sandoval, Santa Fe, Taos, and Valencia Counties). Texas has identified 22 affected premises (20 confirmed positive, 2 suspect) located in 12 counties (Bastrop, Coleman, Hays, Hood, Johnson, Kerr, Kinney, Shackelford, Taylor, Tom Green, Val Verde, and Wichita Counties).
Because Vesicular Stomatitis is contagious, many states have imposed import requirements for animals coming from VSV-affected states. Therefore, alpaca owners should check with their veterinarian prior to traveling to another state.