The Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) announced May 19 that vesicular stomatitis (VS) has been detected in three horses at a Pecos County premises located approximately 30 miles north of Fort Stockton.

The horses were tested after the owner observed blistering and swelling on the animals’ tongues and lips, and contacted their veterinary practitioner. Testing at the USDA National Veterinary Services lab in Ames, Iowa, confirmed the New Jersey serotype of virus in the affected horses.

Vesicular stomatitis primarily affects horses and cattle causing blisters or sores on the tongue, lips, muzzle, nose, hooves, and/or teats. Because of the contagious nature of VS and its resemblance to other diseases such as foot and mouth disease, the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) urges livestock owners and caretakers to report these signs to their veterinarian or the TAHC immediately. Although the lesions can be painful, most animals recover well with supportive care.

The disease can be transmitted by direct contact with infected animals, contaminated objects (fomites), or by insect vectors such as sand flies and black flies. The disease usually occurs in warm months of the year when insect vectors are active. The condition can also affect people, causing a mild flu-like illness with symptoms of fever, weakness, and muscle aches.

The TAHC has placed the newly identified infected horses are under quarantine, and affected and exposed horses will be monitored by TAHC or USDA personnel until all lesions have healed and a decision is made to release the quarantine (a minimum of 14 days).

"If you suspect your animal(s) have VS, you sh