New Mexico State Veterinarian Ralph Zimmerman, DVM, urges horse owners to be diligent.
“While we are not ordering the cancelation of any events at this point, we recommend several advisable steps to keep animals safe,” he said. “I encourage common sense decision-making and overall awareness of the situation.”
Following is a list of recommendations for fair or rodeo organizers, as well as individuals bringing animals to events:
- Have an extension agent, local veterinarian, or knowledgeable livestock person present at entry gates to check animals’ mouths for lesions (using fresh gloves for each animal).
- Send questionable animals home before they enter the grounds.
- Use fly spray.
- Do not handle other people’s animals.
- Avoid sharing grooming equipment.
- Use your own water buckets.
- If an animal breaks with VS on the grounds, send it home immediately.
At this point, state officials are not requiring a certificate of veterinary inspection for intrastate travel.
New Mexico has confirmed VSV cases in Los Alamos, Sandoval, Santa Fe, and Valencia counties so far this year.
The virus can affect horses, cattle, sheep, goats, swine, camelids (alpacas and llamas), and cervids (deer species). Symptoms might include oral lesions, oral blistering, and drooling. Refer to the New Mexico Livestock Board website for more detailed information.
New Mexico officials ask that individuals planning to travel outside the state with horses or other livestock contact their veterinarians first. VS is a reportable disease in New Mexico. If you live in the state and suspect a horse has VS, please contact Zimmerman at 505/841-6161 or USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service/USDA-Veterinary Services at 505/313-8050.