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Confirmed Case Of A Horse/Cattle Disease In Mother Lode

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Sonora, CA – Local shelter officials are warning of a viral disease that primarily impacts horses and cattle, and there is now a confirmed case in the Mother Lode.

Tuolumne County Animal Control (TCAC) reports that one case of vesicular stomatitis (VS), a viral disease that can also occasionally affect swine, sheep, goats, llamas, and alpacas, has been confirmed. Although it is rare, humans can also become infected with the disease when handling affected animals.

As the picture in the image box shows, infected animals shed the virus from blisters they develop, allowing for transmission due to direct contact with infected animals. Water, feed, buckets, and other materials contaminated with saliva from infected animals can also transmit the disease. The virus can also be spread on shoes, clothing, hands, and contaminated equipment.

“Practice good biosecurity and isolate new horses when introduced to the herd. Keeping the insect population down may also help in the prevention of VS,” shelter officials advise animal owners.

Experimental vaccines have been developed, but none have been approved for use in horses. The main spreader of the disease is insect bites from mostly black flies, sand flies, and midges, but other insects may also be capable of transmission, say TCAC officials.

TCAC provided these symptoms to watch out for in your animals:

  • Blister-like lesions in/around mouth, nose, coronary band, and/or sheath/udders
  • Fever
  • Drooling/frothing at mouth
  • Reluctance to eat
  • Lameness or laminitis if lesions develop around coronary band

Any owner seeing signs of the disease should contact a veterinarian. Shelter officials added that the VS has a low mortality rate.


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