Canadian Food Inspection Agency Animal Products
Animal Health and Production Division
What is it?
Vesicular stomatitis (VS) is a viral disease affecting horses, ruminants such as cattle, sheep and members of the deer and llama families, and swine. While VS 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). Foot and mouth disease affects ruminants and swine, and is a devastating disease for producers.
How is it transmitted?
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. In some regions insects play a significant role in the spread of the disease.
The disease may also be transmitted to humans who come into contact with infected animals. It causes influenza-like symptoms.
What are the signs of VS?
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. The incubation period (the time between infection with the virus and clinical signs) may range from two to eight days, and animals generally recover completely in three to four days.