vesicular stomatitis
Under new rules announced Sept. 16, horses from counties where vesicular stomatitis has been found may be able to enter the state of Ohio. Photo by Texas Animal Health Commision.

Ohio Officials Relax Ban on Vesicular Stomatitis

Horses from counties where vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) has been found may now be able to enter the state of Ohio for next month’s All American Quarter Horse Congress. The change comes from new rules announced this week.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture announced in recent days that horses from counties where the infectious disease has been reported can now enter Ohio as long as they have a seven-day health certificate stating they are free from symptoms of the disease.

Horses from facilities that were quarantined for VSV — but where the quarantine has been lifted — also may enter the state. Those from a premises under an active quarantine are still barred from entry into the Buckeye State.

The new rules are a change from a previous decree, which banned all horses from counties where the infectious disease was found from entering Ohio, regardless of whether the county the horses lived in had any facilities under quarantine for VSV or not.

In a statement announcing the changes, Ohio State Veterinarian Dr. Tony Forshey outlined the new guidelines:

“All equine entering Ohio from a state where VSV has been diagnosed within the last seven days, or a state that contains a premises quarantined for VSV, shall be accompanied by a certificate of veterinary inspection [health certificate] dated within seven days of entry, containing the following statement, ‘All animals identified on the certificate of veterinary inspection have been inspected and found to be free from clinical signs of vesicular stomatitis.’”

Prior to Wednesday’s announcement relaxing the ban, the old rules would potentially have prevented horses from a number of counties with many reining horse or cutting horse farms — including Parker County, Texas — from attending the month-long Congress show.

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.

VSV is highly contagious, with biting insects being the most common method of transmission. Humans can also contract VSV by 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.

In addition to Texas, the disease has been reported in Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming, with confirmed or suspected cases in specific counties across those states. A current list of suspect and confirmed cases can be found in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s weekly situation report.

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