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ARS Home » Plains Area » Fort Collins, Colorado » Center for Agricultural Resources Research » Rangeland Resources & Systems Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #371908

Research Project: Adaptive Grazing Management and Decision Support to Enhance Ecosystem Services in the Western Great Plains

Location: Rangeland Resources & Systems Research

Title: Management strategies for reducing the risk of equines contracting Vesicular Stomatitis Virus (VSV) in the Western United States

item Peck, Dannele
item Reeves, Will
item PELZEL-MCCLUSKEY, ANGELA - Animal And Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
item Derner, Justin
item Drolet, Barbara
item Cohnstaedt, Lee
item Swanson, Dustin
item McVey, David
item Rodriguez, Luis
item Peters, Debra

Submitted to: Journal of Equine Veterinary Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/12/2020
Publication Date: 5/6/2020
Citation: Peck, D.E., Reeves, W.K., Pelzel-McCluskey, A.M., Derner, J.D., Drolet, B.S., Cohnstaedt, L.W., Swanson, D.A., McVey, D.S., Rodriguez, L.L., Peters, D.C. 2020. Management strategies for reducing the risk of equines contracting Vesicular Stomatitis Virus (VSV) in the Western United States. Journal of Equine Veterinary Science. 90:103026.

Interpretive Summary: Vesicular stomatitis (VS) causes painful lesions in horses and other animal species. It also causes flu-like symptoms in humans. When horses are affected by VS, the property where they are located (i.e., the premises) is quarantined. This prevents movement of animals to or from that premises. Animal transportation, trade, and events may also be banned between premises, counties, states, and even nations. Therefore, VS can cause economic losses to the horse industry. Horse owners, barn managers, and veterinarians can help reduce the risk of horses contracting VS. The first step is to understand the biting insects that are known to transmit vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) to animals: black flies, biting midges, and sand flies. By understanding the habitats and behaviors of these three types of biting insects, horse owners can more effectively target their management practices to reduce the risk of their animals getting VS. This paper: (1) makes the relevant scientific literature about black flies, biting midges, and sand flies easier to understand; and (2) describes practical management strategies that can reduce the risk of horses getting VSV. But these risk management practices likely need to be done at multiple levels, including the neighborhood, premises, shelter, and animal. Because the insects that transmit VSV can fly and be transported by the wind, cooperation may be needed between horse premises within the same neighborhood and even across neighborhoods to effectively reduce the risk of VS to horses.

Technical Abstract: Vesicular stomatitis viruses (VSV) cause a condition known as vesicular stomatitis (VS), which results in painful lesions in equines, cattle, swine, and camelids, and when transmitted to humans can cause flu-like symptoms. When animal premises are affected by VS, they are subject to a quarantine. The equine industry more broadly may incur economic losses due to interruptions of animal trade and transportation to shows, competitions, and other events. Equine owners, barn managers, and veterinarians can take proactive measures to reduce the risk of horses contracting VS. To identify appropriate risk management strategies, it helps to understand which biting insects are capable of transmitting the virus to animals, and to identify these insect vectors’ preferred habitats and behaviors. We make this area of science more accessible to equine owners, barn managers, and veterinarians, by: (1) translating the most relevant scientific information about biting insect vectors of VSV, and (2) identifying practical management strategies that might reduce the risk of equines contracting VSV from infectious biting insects or from other equines already infected with VSV. We address transmission risk at four different spatial scales—the animal, the barn/shelter, the barnyard/premises, and the surrounding environment/neighborhood—noting that a multi-scale and spatially collaborative strategy may be needed to reduce the risk of VS.