(Photo: Courtesy of Billy Hathorn)Colorado’s Department of Agriculture has expanded its quarantine of horse and cattle operations to eight counties in the state.
Currently, 184 facilities are restricted from transferring their animals. Officials are trying to stem the spread of a highly contagious virus called Vesicular Stomatitis.
The outbreak started earlier this summer. It doesn’t affect people, but can cause pain for livestock when they eat and drink.
The virus causes sores to form in and around an animals mouth and nose. Flies get into the sores and then transfer the virus to other animals.
Colorado State Veterinarian Keith Roehr says the disease is rarely fatal to the animal and can take anywhere from a week to two months to disappear.
The best way to treat for the disease is to get rid of the carriers, flies and gnats.
In the meantime, any facility with an infected animal is restricted from transferring it.
The virus has shown up in this magnitude before, but Roehr says this may end up being one of the greater outbreaks the state has seen.