Kentucky Imposes Ban on Horses From Texas After Disease Detected

Kentucky state veterinarian Dr. Robert Stout Thursday issued a ban on all livestock, wild or exotic animals -- including horses--from Texas from entering Kentucky due to reports of vesicular stomatitis in horses in west Texas.

According to the order, also prohibited from entry into Kentucky are any such animals that have been in Texas in the previous 30 days. It requires equine coming into Kentucky from states that border Texas to have a negative vesicular stomatitis test within the 30-day period preceding its entry into the state.

"State regulations prohibit the entry into Kentucky of livestock, wild or exotic animals from a state where vesicular stomatitis has been diagnosed," Stout said. "VS does not pose a danger to the food supply, but it can cause animals to suffer temporary lameness or stop eating because of sores on the mouth, and it is believed to cause flu-like symptoms in humans."

According to the state veterinarian, the disease was diagnosed in three horses on a ranch in Reeves County, Texas, about 300 miles southeast of El Paso. The National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, confirmed the diagnosis on Wednesday.

According to the Texas Animal Health Commission, all livestock on the affected ranch will be quarantined for several weeks until they are found to be free of the disease, according to the Texas Animal Health Commission.

Approximately 2,099 head of livestock, most of which were equine, cattle, and goats, entered Kentucky from Texas in 2003, according to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture's Division of Animal Health.

Vesicular stomatitis is a viral disease that occurs sporadically in the U.S., usually in southwestern states. The last VS diagnosis before Wednesday was in Texas and New Mexico in 1998.

The disease can affect horses, cattle and swine, and occasionally sheep, goats and deer. It causes blisters to form in the animal's mouth, on teats or along the hooves, resulting in excessive salivation, lameness or oozing sores. The virus is spread by arthropods such as ticks, mosquitoes or house flies. Infected animals may spread the disease through their saliva or fluid from ruptured blisters. VS may incubate for two to eight days before clinical signs appear. It is rarely fatal and usually lasts about two weeks.

The clinical signs of vesicular stomatitis closely resemble those of foot-and-mouth disease. VS affects equine whereas foot-and-mouth disease does not. Foot-and-mounth disease has been eradicated from the U.S. since 1929.