Colorado Confirms More Than 2 Dozen Cases Of Animal Virus

Colorado officials are asking ranchers to report sick animals after a disease that primarily affects horses and cattle has been confirmed in the state. 

The state Department of Agriculture has confirmed more than two dozen cases of the vesicular stomatitis virus as of last week.

Department officials say a veterinarian confirmed the state's first case this year in Weld County on July 3. Cases have also been confirmed in La Plata and Larimer counties. The virus has also been confirmed in horses in New Mexico and Texas.

The animals in Colorado affected have been quarantined. Vesicular stomatitis spread by direct contact or flies. 

Andy Hawkins, with the Kansas Department of Agriculture, says horse owners should take precautions to limit contact between animals. And, be careful not to spread the disease from animals that may be sick.

“If somebody was to touch that and then touch another horse, or even through clothing or equipment or tack...that’s kind of how we can see it spreading,” he said.

The disease has not spread to Kansas, but officials there are cautioning residents as it has been reported in surrounding states.

Vesicular stomatitis typically isn’t fatal, but lesions around the nose and mouth can make it difficult for an animal to eat and drink. The department says the virus can occasionally affect other animals like pigs, sheep, goats and llamas. The virus can also spread to humans but the department says it rarely does. Symptoms include excessive salivation, lesions, lack of appetite and lameness. 

Updated July 19, 10:00 a.m. — The Colorado Department of Agriculture has confirmed cases of vesicular stomatitis (VSV) in Adams, Boulder, Broomfield, La Plata, Larimer, and Weld counties in Colorado. At this time, all confirmed cases in Colorado have been in horses.