Horses from counties with positive cases of Vesicular Stomatitis (VSV) — including several with a large number of Western performance horses — will not be allowed to compete at next month’s All American Quarter Horse Congress in Ohio, officials say.
Animal health officials from the Buckeye State say this includes horses from counties with active cases of VSV, as well as those from counties that reported cases earlier in the year but no longer have facilities under quarantine.
The announcement not only prohibits horses from affected counties from entering the prestigious All American Quarter Horse Congress, which runs Oct. 1-27, but it bars horses from those areas from entering Ohio.
“With the Quarter Horse Congress, I’m not going to take any chances,” said Ohio State Veterinarian Dr. Tony Forshey. “So, we’re not going to let any horses into the Quarter Horse Congress or to the state of Ohio as an import that are coming from those counties that are infected from those infected states.”
A list of counties from which horses are currently prohibited from entering Ohio is available through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The federal agency has published weekly updates, called Situation Reports, to track incidents of VSV.
Forshey said the import ban also applies to counties on the USDA list without current quarantines because of the nature of the insect-borne virus, which can infect the same horse multiple times. Because horses that recover from VSV can get sick again, Forshey said the risk of reinfection remains even after a quarantine is lifted if there are still infected mosquitoes or other vectors in an area.
“It’s a little different from other viruses in that horses can get infected and show clinical signs, recover and then they can become re-infected,” he said. “So, it’s one of the few viruses where they can get infected over and over and over again.”
The move is designed to keep the viral disease out of Ohio.
VSV is a viral disease that primarily affects horses but can also infect cattle, swine, sheep and goats. The disease causes blister-like lesions, which burst and leave open wounds. It is extremely painful to animals and can result in the inability to eat and drink, as well as lameness.
It is highly contagious and is transmitted most commonly by insects. Humans can also contract VSV after coming into contact with lesions, saliva or nasal secretions from infected animals. In people, the disease causes flu-like symptoms such as fever, muscle ache, headache and nausea.
The latest VSV Situation Report from the USDA, dated Sept. 5, listed 37 Texas counties with reported cases -— including Parker County, the epicenter of the cutting industry. Cases were also reported in Oklahoma, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico and Nebraska.
Forshey’s office will continue to monitor the VSV situation. He said more information may be published later this week.
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