I’ve been waiting to post this until it was official, but I’m experiencing something brand new in my equestrian adventure… quarantine! For those of you who haven’t heard, equine Vesicular Stomatitis is spreading through central Texas right now. Here’s a little about the disease (from The University of Vermont):
Vesicular Stomatitis is classified as a rhabdovirus since it has a bullet-like shape when examined under a microscope. Signs and symptoms very closely resemble those of Hoof and Mouth disease, which was eradicated from the United States in the late 1920′s. Cattle tend to suffer the greatest economic losses from these diseases since they develop lesions on their teats. This can result in decreased milk production, painful milking, depression, loss of appetite and potentially serious cases of mastitis. The similarities in outward appearance between the two diseases resulted in vesicular stomatitis becoming a “reportable” disease. This means that any veterinarian or livestock owner that suspects an animal may have vesicular stomatitis must immediately contact his/her state or federal authorities that deal with animal health.
With horses, the disease shows up as sores on the horse’s lips, in their mouth or around their coronary bands. It’s spread through flies, mosquitos and nose to nose contact.
The good news is that it’s not a very major disease. The worst your horse is likely to face is a low fever and annoyance from the sores. Sometimes they go off their feed, but only because their mouth hurts.
With Texas being such a huge cattle state, the state vets treat these cases like a big deal. We have a few cases at my barn, including one of the most heavily fly sprayed and most impeccably cared for horses I know. Basically, if it’s near you… you’re probably going to get exposure. I can’t think of much of anything my barn owner could have done to prevent it.
So now we’re on quarantine until 21 days past the last sore fully heals. The state vet will come back out to check everyone, and we can leave the property again. It’s definitely a bummer for those who were planning on showing a lot this summer, because we will have to miss the next two shows in our summer circuit series.
Besides the showing aspect, it could be a lot worse. Hopefully all the quarantined barns in our area will stop the spread of VS and we won’t be worrying about such things come this fall. Simon himself hasn’t showed any lesions, and I keep him heavily fly sprayed and check his mouth each time I’m out. That’s about the best I can do for now!