Kansas Department of Agriculture News Releases

Help Prevent Equine Disease This Summer

As summer approaches, the Kansas Department of Agriculture Division of Animal Health encourages horse owners to take proactive steps to prevent the transmission of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), an equine disease that is common in the summer months. VSV is transmitted by insect vectors, and recent years have seen an increase in cases of VSV in Kansas.

If you own horses or take care of horses, this is the time of year to be vigilant in changes to your animal care routine to prevent introduction of VSV. Consider these best practices in your horse care this summer:

  • Strict fly control. VSV is primarily spread by black flies and midges. Keep pens clean, remove manure, and use appropriate fly sprays and traps. Minimize bright lights that attract insects at night.
  • Regularly inspect horses for symptoms that might indicate VSV, such as blister-like lesions, fever, excessive salivation, reluctance to eat, or lameness.
  • If you travel to events with horses from other properties, keep your horses separated. Don’t tie up your horse with other horses, and don’t share equipment, tools, tack or water buckets.

Kansas experienced a significant outbreak of VSV in 2020, with positive cases on over 100 premises in 26 counties. Other species including cattle can be susceptible to VSV, although it is primarily an equine disease. VSV is a reportable disease by state law; if there is a concern of a possible VSV infection or another reportable disease, call the Kansas Animal Health Commissioner at the KDA Division of Animal Health.

Putting these best practices into action now can protect horses across the state and assist the Kansas equine industry in disease prevention to help avoid an outbreak this summer. Go to www.agriculture.ks.gov/VSV for more information about VSV symptoms and prevention.