Socorro County Extension Service

Federal officials report that two horses in New Mexico have tested positive for Vesicular Stomatitis Virus. U.S. Department of Agriculture officials said the Sandoval County property where the horses were located has been placed under quarantine.

According to a USDA report released last week, the infected horses were in a boarding facility with 17 horses, seven llamas, and two goats.

“The two horses confirmed as VSV-infected reside in a pasture together and have no recent history of movements from the premises,” the report states. “There are no other animals at the facility currently showing clinical signs of VSV. The facility is under state quarantine and will remain so until at least 14 days from the onset of lesions in the last affected animal on the premises.”

John Allen, Socorro County Extension Agent, said the virus mainly affects horses, but cattle, sheep, goats, swine, alpacas and llamas can also be infected.

“This disease isn’t highly fatal but can be a big nuisance, such as tightened restrictions on movements of the animal,” Allen said. “Animals on the premises will be under quarantine until specific regulatory criteria are met. Isolate animals with lesions from animals without lesions.”

He said the quarantine is normally two weeks after the last lesion heals.

The New Mexico Livestock Board recommends any symptoms, including the appearance of lesions or blistering around the mouth of the animal, to be reported to the State Veterinarian

Initial signs of infection include excess saliva and blister type lesions around the moth and muzzle area.

“An animal that is infected may not want to eat or drink. Make sure the animal is hydrated,” Allen said. “This is fairly contagious and is spread by animal contact and insect vectors. Controlling flies can be a big preventative.”

The disease occurs seasonally in the southwestern United States, Central America, and South America. Outbreaks usually occur along waterways during the warmer months of the year. The extent of an outbreak may vary from a few premises in one state to many premises in multiple states.

There is no specific treatment for VSV and there are no licensed vaccines to prevent the disease.

New Mexico is the second state to report VSV this year.

Authorities say two Texas counties - Kinney and Tom Green - each have a quarantine premise.