Officials with the Tulsa Reining Classic have placed additional health certification requirements on equine competitors in the wake of recent outbreaks of vesicular stomatitis in central and southwest regions of the United States.
Livestock or horses traveling from a state and county that have had vesicular stomatitis diagnosed within the past 30 days, or a county with premises quarantined for vesicular stomatitis must be cleared through a veterinary inspection and certified within five days of entry.
A veterinary certificate must contain the following statement: “All animals identified on this certificate of veterinary inspection have been examined and found to be free from signs of vesicular stomatitis and have not originated from a premise which is under quarantine for vesicular stomatitis.”
The show runs from Aug. 25 to Sept. 1 at the Expo Square.
Vesicular stomatitis cases have been reported in Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Wyoming. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has an updated link – “Situation Reports” — detailing counties that have been affected.
Vesicular stomatitis is a viral disease that is believed to be transmitted through insect vectors, such as flies, mosquitos and midges. It also can be transmitted by direct contact with infected animals. Generally, the disease shows itself during warm months, when insect vectors are active.
The virus’ incubation period for a horse is two to 21 days, according to the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP).
A horse can be diagnosed though blood draw and oral swab. The affliction shows similar symptoms to foot-and-mouth disease. Horses infected with vesicular stomatitis will salivate excessively and show a reluctance to eat or drink. Clinical signs include a fever and blisters on the tongue, lips, ears, teats and coronary bands. Sloughing of the skin is possible and lameness and weight loss are common because of a reluctance to eat and sensitive coronary bands.
As an aside, some states and other countries may restrict movement of or impose additional requirements for susceptible species moving from states with active cases. Shippers or haulers of livestock are advised to contact states to determine entry requirements. For international export information, the USDA Veterinary Services office in Austin, Texas, should be contacted.
Humans are also at risk for contracting the virus. The symptoms are similar to influenza for humans.
Measures recommended to control outbreaks include isolating infected horses and sterilizing surfaces exposed to fluids from blisters or lesions. According to AAEP, though morbidity is high, the mortality rate in vesicular stomatitis is low in horses. There is no cure for the disease, but horses generally recover in seven to 14 days.