In the interest of protecting Ohio’s horses and other livestock, the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) has restricted the import of horses from Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming into Ohio due to confirmed cases of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV).
This restriction includes the All American Quarter Horse Congress, which is scheduled to begin in Columbus Oct. 1.
“VSV has not been detected in Ohio, and we are taking every precaution possible to keep it that way,” Tony Forshey, ODA state veterinarian, states in a press release. “With the All American Quarter Horse Congress coming, we thought it was important to restrict further movement to prevent the disease’s potential spread.”
On Sunday, the annual All Horse Parade trotted through the streets of Delaware. Diane Winters, parade chairwoman, said the parade featured a “various number of horses coming from all over.”
“We didn’t have any of the horses from those states (barred from Ohio) in the parade, but we did have some riders from Texas,” she said. “As for horses, we didn’t have any.”
Winters added the only thing horse owners can do is follow the directions of the ODA.
The Delaware County Fair opens Saturday, Sept. 14, with livestock shows starting in the morning. On Thursday, Sept. 19, the 74th Little Brown Jug, the world-famous pacing classic for 3-year-old horses, will take center stage in the county.
Sandy Kuhn, Delaware County Fair manager, said she spoke with Tom Wright, Little Brown Jug race secretary, who confirmed none of the horses for the Jug are from the seven states confirmed to have VSV.
According to a press release from the ODA, the disease primarily affects horses, but it can also infect cattle, swine, sheep, and goats, inflicting blister-like lesions that burst and leave open wounds. The wounds are extremely painful to animals and can result in the animal’s inability to eat and drink.
According to a fact sheet from the United States Department of Agriculture, the highly contagious vesicular stomatitis virus is most commonly transmitted to other animals through biting insects.
The disease can be contracted by people through contact with lesions, saliva, or nasal secretions from infected animals. The disease causes flu-like symptoms such as fever, muscleache, headache and nausea.
Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.