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Horse Infection Spreads, More Animals Under Quarantine

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LONGMONT, Colo. (CBS4)- A virus among animals in Northern Colorado is spreading and more stables are being quarantined.

Horses are getting sick from “Vesicular Stomatisis” and it’s causing financial strain among many ranchers.

It is often referred to as”VS” or “VSV” and can infect insects, cattle, horses and pigs.

At the Boulder County Fair, those who are showing animals are trying to stop the spread of the disease. They’re clearing out horse manure from the stalls because it can attract flies that carry the virus.

The 4-H Cattle Show at the Boulder County Fair was postponed to keep from spreading the virus. But one young rancher came up with a way to keep 4-H members’ hard work from going to waste.

“Me and my dad were kind of talking about how we could still kind of display our animals a little bit and we thought pictures would be good so we just took them out of the record book that I had,” said 4-H member Justin Weber.

They relied on posters instead.

State Veterinarian Dr. Keith Roehr confirms infections are on the rise. He’s quarantined nearly 100 horse farms.

Particularly concerning is the virus is starting to show up in small cattle herds.

“Certainly for this area this outbreak is unique and it’s going to be one of those years when we do see a lot of cases,” said Roehr.

Flies and gnats spread the disease.

For horse owners like Dick Werpy, the outbreak comes at the worst time.

“Summer is our busy time, our time to perform and demonstrate,” said Werpy.

The virus has been known to infect humans but only in rare cases.

LINK: veterinaryextension.colostate.edu

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