Officials warning livestock owners after virus confirmed in Oklahoma

TILLMAN COUNTY, Okla. – State officials are warning horse owners about a virus that has resurfaced in Oklahoma.

On Monday, the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry confirmed that a horse in Tillman County had been diagnosed with vesicular stomatitis virus.

Vesicular stomatitis virus is a viral disease that affects horses, donkeys, mules, cattle and swine. Animals that are suffering from the virus tend to have excessive salivation and are reluctant to eat or drink anything.

Experts warn that the animals may also have erosions and sloughing of the skin on the muzzle, tongue, ears, teats and coronary bands of their hooves.

When lesions first appear, body temperature may rise. Officials say lameness or weight loss may also follow.

So far this year, the virus has been reported in Texas, Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming.

This is the first case in Oklahoma since the 1990s.

Officials say the virus normally has an incubation period of two to eight days before the infected animal develops blisters that swell and burst, leaving painful sores. The virus can be transmitted through direct contact with infected animals or by blood-feeding insects.

Once an animal is confirmed to be infected with the virus, they should be quarantined for 14 days to prevent the virus from spreading.

Officials have released the following tips to help protect your animals from the virus:

  • Control biting flies
  • Keep equine stalled or under a roof at night to reduce exposure to flies
  • Keep stalls clean
  • Feed and water stock in individual buckets
  • Don’t visit any premise that is under quarantine

Veterinarians and livestock owners who suspect VSV in their animals should immediately contact the OK State Veterinarians office at (405) 522-6141.

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