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AGRICULTURE

Livestock Disease Affects Western Slope Animals

cows, dairy farm
U.S. Department of Agriculture
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Across the state 70 facilities are under quarantine for a viral disease that affects livestock.

Vesicular stomatitis, VS, causes oral blisters and sores making it difficult or painful for animals to eat and drink. Biting insects such as flies and ants primarily spread it. 

Last month, 29 sites in six counties were under quarantine for the disease. 

Since then, the number of facilities affected by it has more than doubled and it’s now reported in 10 counties.

Dr. Keith Roehr is the assistant state veterinarian for the Colorado Department of Agriculture.

He says the levels of VS are in highest Montrose, Laramier and Delta counties.

"The disease likes river valleys and areas that flies tend to migrate," Roehr says.

He says dairies affected by VS can see decreased milk production, which is an economic burden for farmers.

"It also causes movement restrictions," Roehr says. "So this time of year when we have county fairs, shows and events, it can reduce participation at those events."

However, Roehr says the disease has low-mortality rates and animals can be removed from quarantine when their symptoms clear. 

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