Vesicular stomatitis in Animals

Vesicular stomatitis is a viral disease of livestock transmitted primarily by biting flies and midges. The disease results in characteristic vesicular lesions that can occur on the muzzle, lips, tongue, ears, sheath, udder, and ventral abdomen.

Vesicular stomatitis 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 (FMD). Outbreaks usually occur during the warm summer months, particularly in animals pastured along waterways.

Etiology of Vesicular stomatitis:

Vesicular stomatitis is caused by the vesicular stomatitis virus, a member of the family Rhabdoviridae. There are two serotypes of Vesicular stomatitis, Indiana and New Jersey. They do not cross-immunize. The disease is rare in sheep.

Epidemiology of Vesicular stomatitis:

The complete epidemiology of VESICULAR STOMATITIS  is not known. There may be unknown reservoirs and vectors of the virus, including insects. The disease remains endemic in certain river basins and coastal areas. In temperate zones, the appearance of VESICULAR STOMATITIS  usually coincides with the appearance of warm weather and ceases with the first frosts. This suggests virus is transmitted by insects, especially to horses and cattle, which frequently are infected while on pasture. Insect transmission is not essential; contact transmission has been observed. VESICULAR STOMATITIS  virus has been isolated from both biting and non-biting insects. Biting insects probably become infected by feeding on lesion areas although the viremic period is short. Non-biting insects may transmit the virus mechanically. VESICULAR STOMATITIS  virus persists in feral swine and may provide virus for vectors

Pathogenesis of Vesicular stomatitis:

Local infection of the mucous membrane of the mouth and the skin around the mouth. The reservoir host is unknown. However biological transmission by blood-feeding insects.

Vesicular stomatitis is a viral disease that primarily affects horses and cattle and occasionally swine, sheep, goats, llamas, and alpacas.  Humans can also become infected with the disease when handling affected animals, but this is a rare event.  Vesicular stomatitis has been confirmed only in the Western Hemisphere.

Pathogenesis of Vesicular stomatitis

Diagnosis for Stomatitis:


Vesicular stomatitis is diagnosed by laboratory testing on samples of fluid from the vesicles of affected animals, or by testing a blood sample taken from the animal. Vesicular stomatitis is clinically indistinguishable from other cattle and pig vesicular diseases, including foot-and-mouth disease. However, vesicular lesions in horses are characteristic only of vesicular stomatitis. Viruses can be recovered from vesicular fluids and tissue scrapings by standard virus isolation techniques in cell culture, or identified by RT-PCR assays. These procedures should be carried out in an authorized laboratory, because of the critical need to rapidly and accurately distinguish vesicular stomatitis from foot-and-mouth disease.


Clinical Findings in stomatitis:

If you look inside the mouth, you will see raised vesicles or blister-like lesions on the inner surfaces of the lips, gums, tongue, and/or dental pad. These blister-like lesions can also form on the lips, nostrils, coronary band, vulva, and teats. Vesicular stomatitis causes a mild fever, and the formation of blister-like lesions on the inside of the mouth, and on the lips, nose, hooves, and udder. 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

Prevention :

  • Insect control programs.
  • Avoid grazing at peak insect feeding hours.

Segregation and isolation are necessary for controlling spread. Animals are infected with the virus by eating or coming into contact with substances contaminated with saliva or fluid from the lesions of infected animals. Spread in dairy herds may also occur as a result of milking procedures.


  • Maintain an insect control program. Removing stagnant water sources, muddy areas, and manure can reduce the breeding areas of the insects that transmit VESICULAR STOMATITIS V. Routine use of a pyrethrin-based insect repellent or insecticide on your horse, especially inside the ears where black flies tend to feed, can also reduce the risks from insects. Fly sheets, screens, and masks (with ears) may also help.


  • Stabling horses rather than leaving them on pasture during an outbreak has been shown to reduce the risk of VESICULAR STOMATITIS. This is likely due to the larger population of insect vectors that reside on pastures, especially near water sources (streams, dirt tanks or ponds, irrigation canals, etc.).


  • Routinely inspect your horses for signs of VESICULAR STOMATITIS and isolate suspect animals from the rest of the herd. Once the symptoms develop in a herd, the infected animals quickly pass it to others through direct contact with each other as well as vesicular fluid that contaminates equipment (feed troughs, water troughs and buckets, hay feeders, bits, halters, other tack, etc.) and other surfaces (trailer managers, tie rails, etc.).


  • Biosecurity is about being aware of the ways the disease can spread and taking every practical measure to minimize the risk of disease spreading. The advice details practical things you can do on your farm to help prevent the introduction and spread of vesicular stomatitis to and from your animals.
  • visit our website for more details about different diseases.

Treatment of Vesicular stomatitis:

  • There is no specific treatment.
  • If your horse has lesions, cleaning them with a mild antiseptic will prevent a secondary infection. If he is experiencing lameness, stall rest for a short period should help. If he is not eating much, softening his food should make it more palatable for him and easier to eat with mouth ulcers present.
  • Virus-transmitting insects like to live around moving bodies of water so keeping your horse away from streams or rivers can help. When it is insect season for your region, keep them in a sheltered area as much as possible during the insect’s feeding time. You can also apply insecticides to the inner pinna of your horse’s ear to discourage black flies from taking a blood meal from there. Keeping fans in your sheltered area will also discourage blood-sucking insects from landing on your horse and taking a meal since it will be too windy for them to land comfortably.
  • Read more about vascular stomatitis in large animals .
  • Anti-inflammatory medications may also be prescribed to minimize discomfort, swelling, lameness, and pain in severe cases.
  • Vesicular stomatitis is usually self-limiting and will resolve itself somewhere between 10 to 14 days.


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