Horses from certain areas banned from American Quarter Horse Congress due to viral illness

REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio (WTVG) – The Ohio Department of Agriculture says they are no longer allowing horses from counties in certain states to enter the area due to concerns over a highly contagious viral illness called Vesicular Stomatitis (VSV). The restriction includes the All American Quarter Horse Congress, which is scheduled to begin in Columbus on October 1.

VSV is a viral disease that primarily affects horses, but can also infect cattle, swine, sheep, and goats. The disease causes blister-like lesions, which burst and leave open wounds. It is extremely painful to animals and can result in the inability to eat and drink and even lameness. The Ohio Department of Agriculture says no cases have been detected in Ohio and the restriction is being set as a precaution aimed at keeping it that way.

“With the All American Quarter Horse Congress coming, we thought it was important to restrict further movement to prevent the disease’s potential spread,” says ODA State Veterinarian Dr. Tony Forshey.

VSV is highly contagious, with biting insects being the most common method of transmission. Humans can also contract VSV by coming into contact with lesions, saliva, or nasal secretions from infected animals. In people, the disease causes flu-like symptoms such as fever, muscle ache, headache, and nausea.

Currently, VSV has been detected in Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming with confirmed or suspected cases in specific counties across those states. A current list of suspect and confirmed cases can be found in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s weekly situation report.

For more information on the disease, visit the USDA’s VSV resource page.