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Vesicular Stomatitis – Fact Sheet

What is vesicular stomatitis

Vesicular stomatitis (VS) is a viral disease affecting horses; ruminants such as cattle, sheep, members of the deer and llama families; and swine. While VS causes discomfort to affected animals and may result in loss of markets for live animals, meat and animal genetics, it is most significant because it closely resembles foot and mouth disease, which affects ruminants and swine and is a devastating disease for producers.

How is VS transmitted

The virus is spread by blood feeding insects such as midges and black flies, and by direct or indirect contact with saliva or fluid from lesions of clinically affected animals.

Spread of the disease in dairy herds may also occur as a result of milking procedures.

The disease may be transmitted to humans who come into contact with infected animals.

What are the signs of VS

Vesicular stomatitis causes a mild fever and the formation of blister like or crusting lesions on the inside of the mouth, the ears, on the lips, the nose, above the hooves and on the udder or sheath. The blisters break, leaving raw, sore areas. Affected animals often salivate profusely and are unwilling to eat or drink. Some animals, particularly swine, may become lame. Milking cows show a marked decrease in milk production. The incubation period (the time between infection with the virus and clinical signs) may range from 2 to 8 days, and animals generally recover completely in 3 to 4 days.

In humans, the virus generally causes influenza like symptoms, though oral lesions are possible and meningitis can occur in rare cases.

How is VS diagnosed

Vesicular stomatitis is diagnosed by laboratory testing on samples of fluid or swabs from the vesicles (blister like lesions) of affected animals, or by a blood sample.

What should I do if I think my animal might have VS

Do we have VS in Canada

Vesicular stomatitis was last diagnosed in Canada in 1949.

What does the CFIA do to prevent VS from entering Canada

The CFIA has taken the following measures to prevent the entry of this disease into Canada:

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