A new strain of an ungulate disease is approaching Wyoming, and officials are implementing measures in hopes of keeping it from crossing the state line.

According to a recent press release from the Wyoming Livestock Board, vesicular stomatitis has been reported in horses in Texas, New Mexico and Colorado.

Animals from the affected states must now come with a certificate from a veterinarian that says they have not shown signs of the virus or been on a property where it has occurred.

The recent strain hasn’t been seen in the United States since 1998. Most animals diagnosed with the virus were pastured in low-lying or riparian areas, so the livestock board suggests moving animals to higher, drier terrain.

Flies and midges are the main way the virus spreads, though animals can also catch it through contact with infected animals or equipment. The main symptoms are “slobbering, blisters and sores, and sloughing of skin in the mouth, on the tongue, lips and muzzle, inside the ears, on the coronary band above the hooves, and the sheath and udder,” the board said.

Though the disease is painful for the animals that catch it — which can include goats, pigs, sheep, cows and horses — it isn’t usually fatal, State Veterinarian Jim Logan said. Fatal or not, Logan said, ranchers should be on the lookout.

“I’m expecting it to find its way to Wyoming,” he said.

Contact Tom Hallberg at 732-5902 or thallberg@jhnewsandguide.com.

Tom Hallberg covers a little bit of everything, from skiing to long-form feature stories. A Teton Valley, Idaho, transplant by way of Portland and Bend, Oregon, he spends his time outside work writing fiction, splitboarding and climbing.

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