MEAD, Colo. (CBS4)– Dozens of stables in Northern Colorado are under quarantine to protect horses from a disease that’s spreading across the state.
Two horses at the Kiowa Creek Ranch in Mead have gotten sick. The Colorado Veterinarian’s Office confirmed the animals have the the infection known as “Vesicular Stomatisis.”
It is often referred to as VSV and can infect insects, cattle, horses and pigs.
The animals at that ranch in Mead, and at least 26 other locations around Northern Colorado, must not leave. They’ve been placed on quarantine.
The state is also investigating 40 other reported cases.
“We could stand to lose $1,000, $2,000 in the next few weeks,” said Kiowa Creek Ranch owner RJ Steele.
Steele had planned to take his prize show horses to the Boulder County Fair this weekend.
He boards horses and runs the Kiowa Creek Carriage Company in Mead. For Steele, not being able to go anywhere means his business comes to a stop.
“There is a risk they could be carriers and if we take a horse to a show and it’s a carrier and any type of bug bites my horse and goes and bites somebody else’s horse, it’s transmittable that way,” said Steele.
The infection spreads most commonly through insects.
Dr. Paul Morley specializes in infectious diseases in animals at Colorado State University. He said it’s important to raise awareness of Vesicular Stomatisis because the blisters associated with the infection resemble foot and mouth disease.
“Because foot and mouth disease is one of the most contagious diseases of all that we know in animals and even more contagious than most diseases in humans, then we want to make sure that it’s not foot and mouth disease,” said Morley.
Steele is keeping his sheep and lambs home from the fair, hoping to keep the disease from spreading.
“If you’re working with animals you’ve got to be flexible,” said Steele.
The virus has been known to infect humans but only in rare cases.