VSV (Vesicular Stomatitis) Confirmed in Colorado

VSV Updates for Colorado

Colorado has become the third state in the country to have a confirmed case of vesicular stomatitis (VSV).  Follow the Colorado State Department of Agriculture for updates. We will also be updating this page regularly.

If you suspect your horse has VS or shows any sores similar to VS, call your vet and do not transport your horse anywhere.

For any questions and for full information, you can visit the State Vet Website: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/aganimals/vesicular-stomatitis-virus-vsv

On July 3rd, the National Veterinary Services Laboratory reported positive test results on samples submitted from two horses in Weld County. 

VSV **as of 8/15/2019 per the state vet** has spread to 22 counties (Arapahoe and Mineral have been added) and 252 facilities. 266 facilities quarantine have been lifted as well.

Colorado CountyTotal Current Quarantines Released Quarantines
La Plata1550

What Veterinarians Need to Know

Report any cases that have clinical signs suggestive of VSV to the State Veterinarian’s Office at 303-869-9130.  Reporting cases as quickly as possible will benefit your client and is the best way to reduce the negative implications to other owners. 

NON-EQUINE CASES:  All suspected VSV in non-equine cases (cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, camelids) must be investigated by state or federal animal health officials


  1. Hold Order:  If you suspect VSV, in addition to reporting the case to the State Veterinarian’s Office, inform the owners that they are under a Hold Order which means that livestock cannot leave the premises until testing is done or the State Veterinarian releases the Hold Order.  Once the state vet receives the report, they will mail a hold order to the owner.  Call the state vet’s office if you have any questions on the restriction of livestock movement into and out of that facility. The Hold Order will remain in effect until the results of laboratory testing are reported which takes approximately 3-7 days.
  2. Lab Submission: Now that the index case has been confirmed in Colorado, the Colorado State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (CSU VDL) in Fort Collins has been activated to receive and test samples for equine species only with VSV compatible clinical signs from accredited veterinarians.
    1. When you call to report the case to the State Veterinarian’s Office, you will be given an investigation number that must be included on the lab submission form.
    2. Read the Submission Information Details page on the state vet’s site for more detailed information about submitting samples and the Sample Shipping Information page for specifics on shipping substances.
  3. Sampling: When sampling a horse for vesicular stomatitis, you must obtain a minimum of two samples:
    1. Serum (for complement fixation) – at least 2mL, separated from the clot and submitted in a red-top or other sterile tube
      1. Note: CF test can be negatively impacted if serum is not separated from the clot
    2. Sterile swab (for PCR) – (Dacron/polyester with a plastic shaft) of lesions placed in a screw-cap or other sterile tube with a maximum of 3mL TBTB media. Make sure tube lid is secured so fluid does not leak out of the tube. Do not use wooden shafted swabs as they contain PCR inhibitors and cannot be accepted.
    3. Additional samples to the swab may include:
      1. Vesicular tissue (epithelium) placed in a screw-cap tube with TBTB media
      2. Vesicular fluid (from unruptured vesicles) placed in a screw-cap tube.
  4. Supplies:  TBTB media will be made available to accredited veterinarians for sample collection for VSV cases.  Please contact one of the following:
    1. CDA Animal Health Laboratory
      300 S Technology Ct, Broomfield, CO  80021
    2. Colorado State University, Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory
      Fort Collins:  2450 Gillette Drive, Fort Collins, CO 80526  Ph. (970)297-1281
      Rocky Ford:  27847 Road 21, Rocky Ford, CO 81067
      Grand Junction  425 29 Road, Grand Junction, CO 81504
    3. The State or Federal field veterinarian in your area
  5. Results: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1TTC2uHPTvMx7hDMhnQZxT48OuX8hbfiL/view
    1. If the laboratory results are NEGATIVE: The Hold Order will be removed unless VSV is still highly suspected, in which case additional samples may be collected and tested before the Hold Order is removed.
    2. If the laboratory results are SUSPECT: Suspect results might be reported for the blood tests. The Hold Order will remain in place until further virus isolation test results are completed and reported. Additional blood samples may need to be collected.
    3. If the laboratory results are POSITIVE: A quarantine, a formal written no movement requirement, will be placed on the movement of horses and other susceptible animals from your premises in order to control the disease. The quarantine will remain in effect for 14 days after the start of VSV lesions in the last affected animal.

Health Certificates

Colorado veterinarians and livestock owners should contact the state of destination when moving livestock interstate to ensure that all import requirements are met.  States may impose certain restrictions for horses and livestock coming from VSV affected states. Visit this website for a list of contact information for all state veterinarians’ offices. 

If the destination state requires you to certify that the livestock do not originate within a specified distance of a VSV-quarantined premises (for example a 10 mile circle), call the state vet’s office at 303-869-9130.  One of our staff can map the location of your client and the location of the nearest quarantine so you can ensure they meet the destination state requirements. 

Vesicular Stomatitis Virus Background

Vesicular Stomatitis is a viral disease that primarily affects horses and cattle and occasionally swine, sheep, goats, llamas, and alpacas.  The transmission of VSV is not completely understood, but includes insect vectors such as black flies, sand flies, and biting midges as well as through horse to horse by contact with saliva or fluid from ruptured blisters.  The incubation period ranges from 2-8 days.  Clinical signs include vesicles, erosions, and sloughing of the skin on the muzzle, tongue, teats, and coronary bands.  Often excessive salivation is the first sign of disease, along with a reluctance to eat or drink. Lameness and weight loss may follow. 

Humans may become infected when handling affected animals, but this is a rare event.  To avoid human exposure, individuals should use personal protective measures when handling affected animals.

More information on VSV can be found through these links:

Fort Collins installs a Horseback Rider Height Crosswalk Button

Crosswalk Button for Horseback Riders

Fort Collins city staff partnered with Larimer County Government to install a City & County first at the Poudre Trail crossing at Taft Hill: an equestrian button! Horseback riders can now activate the flashing beacons for crossing without dismounting.

See the post here: https://www.facebook.com/fortcollinsgov/photos/a.306422141663/10157253310821664/?type=3&theater

Plants that Repel Flies and Insects

Are you looking for ways your landscaping can help with your fly or insect problem? Just plant these annuals and perennials to tell those flies they are no longer welcome at your property!

Sweet Basil

Basil is officially considered an annual plant, although it can reseed itself in warmer climates if allowed to bloom. It loves hot weather, so always wait until all danger of frost is past before planting in the garden in the spring. Since this is a plant that thrives in patio pots, adding some to your summer flower arrangements near areas of home or barn entry can help keep the worst of your flies away. Make sure to keep the plant from flowering otherwise it will not be as effective! Simply snip off leaves and branches when it starts to send out flowering stalks to allow for new growth. (It is also great for culinary dishes and beverages as an added bonus!)


Not only is lavender GORGEOUS (and one of our favorite plants), it aids in fly repellant! Both the leaves and flowers are fragrant and ward off many types of insects, flies included. Lavender comes in quite a few different varieties to fit your climate needs and growing spaces. But keep in mind if the roots freeze, the plant will lively not come back the following year.


If you are looking for a plant that takes up a lot of space, Rosemary might be what you are looking for. It grows in heights of 3-4 feet and up to 5 feet wide. Because of it’s heady scent, rosemary is a popular flavor and aromatic herb to use in many culinary dishes and beverages. These properties are also the same that keeps away many flies as it is the leaves that put forth the most scent. Plants can be grown in containers on a patio and shaped into ornamental pyramids, grown in herb gardens or planted in landscaped beds.

Lemon Grass

Citronella is a natural oil found in lemongrass, an ornamental that can grow up to 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide in one season. (It’s worth noting that lemongrass isn’t just the name of one plant; it’s the umbrella name for plants in the Cymbopogon family, which also includes citronella grass.) Lemongrass is especially effective at warding away mosquitos.


Mints are hardy, rapid growers and self-pollinate through runners. For this reason we recommend planting them in pots, otherwise they can take over your yard before you know it. The mint family includes peppermint, spearmint, sweet mints, citrus mints, and even chocolate mints! But what they all have in common is the ingredient mentha, which is what makes it so potent against many insects, flies included.


Sweet woodruff spreads by runners. In moist soil, it can spread very quickly and can become invasive in the right conditions. It is often recommended that you plant sweet woodruff ground cover in an area that you would not mind seeing naturalized by sweet woodruff. This plant will only grow to 10 or 12” in height, but it’s umbrella-like leaves, and white delicate flowers are a favorite in shade gardens because of its sweet, fresh scent.


Eucalyptus is a genus of over seven hundred species of flowering trees, shrubs or mallees in the myrtle family, Myrtaceae. It can produce a strong scent that can deter flies and other insects and interestingly enough it was registered in the U.S as an insecticide and miticide in 1948, which is why it can be so handy to have around.


This one might be surprising. Catnip is a favorite of cats, but the smell that draws cats in, also repels insects! Catnip contains citronella oil as well as other insect deterrents so it will repel insects and mice when planted in conjunction with areas that open into your house. Keep in mind Catnip is a fast grower and can take over areas if you don’t manage it well.

Homemade Fly Spray

Homemade Flyspray Recipe

Are you looking for a good DIY flyspray that you can make at home? One that actually works? Look no further. This is made with mostly natural ingredients and is much less harsh on your skin/lungs/everything else it gets on.

Homemade Fly Spray Recipe:

4 cups apple cider vinegar (raw with the mother works best)
20 drops rosemary oil 
20 drops basil oil
20 drops peppermint oil
2 tablespoons liquid oil (olive oil, canola oil, or mineral oil will work)
1 tablespoon dawn dish soap

Mix all of these ingredients in a spray bottle. And be sure to shake it well before each application to ensure the ingredients are fully mixed to be most effective.

There are lots of other essential oils that help ward away flies, so feel free to add those in and play around with the recipe to your liking. (lavender, tea tree, pine, citronella, lemon grass, etc.)

Something to keep in mind, is since this doesn’t contain all of those harsh ingredients, you will need to apply it more frequently. But it does work well if applied regularly.

Evacuation Training for Colorado Horse Owners & Volunteers

On Tuesday, April 23rd, Douglas Elbert County Horse Council will be hosting a Barn Manager and Volunteer refresher training for all who have volunteered to help during an evacuation.  In order to have things run smoothly during a very high-stress situation, it is important to attend.  This meeting should not take very long.

Date:  Tuesday April 23rd

Place:  Franktown Fire Protection District          
1959 N State HWY 83          
Franktown, CO 80116

Time:  7:00 P.M.

For more information or contact details go here: http://www.dechc.org/

Are You Ready for Tomorrow’s Snow Storm?

March Snowstorm in Colorado

In case you haven’t heard yet, there is a big snow storm coming tomorrow. All the news channels are covering it. If you want to see your weather forecast, check it out here. In many areas, the rain will start tonight and will slowly turn into snow with snow continuing into Thursday. This storm will also be accompanied by very strong winds.

For more storm details, click here.

Now, what we care about? How to take care of our horse and livestock!

  • Be sure to provide clean, unfrozen water. Many animals prefer water that has a tank heater because the slightly warmer temperature goes down easier for them.
  • If you can, provide 3 sided shelter with a roof. This way the animals can get out of the elements if they choose to. If you cannot provide that sort of shelter, provide as much shelter as you can; ESPECIALLY a windbreak since these could be up to Category 2 hurricane winds alongside the snow.
  • The more hay, the better. Much of the horse’s body heat is produced by the fermentation of fiber in the hindgut.
  • If your horses (or livestock) do not have an adequate winter coat, be sure to provide them with an insulated blanket.
  • Extremely young and older animals have a harder time with extreme weather, so be sure to provide them with extra support in this weather.

Good luck and stay safe in this storm (and be sure to tag us in fun snowy animal pictures on social media!).

The Colorado Animal Health Laboratory is Moving

The Colorado State Animal Health Laboratory is moving April 1. They will not be shutting down during their move. But please keep in mind this move when you are sending samples, to ensure they get to the correct address. If you are worried about a delay in processing due to delivery to the wrong address or anything else for your coggins test, clients are welcome to drop off samples at the new lab starting April 1st.

The new address is:

300 S. Technology Ct.
Broomfield CO 80021

All About Foaling with Dr. Pat McCue of CSU


We are lucky to have Colorado State University here, they offer an exceptional team of equine vets to the community. Dr. Pat McCue has done a series on the Colorado State University Equine Reproduction Laboratory Facebook Page regarding foaling. If you plan on breeding, we highly recommend watching this to further your education!

We highly recommend following their Facebook page too, so you don’t miss out on any educational videos and articles!

Prediction of Foaling with Dr. Pat McCue

Normal Foaling and Dystocia with Dr. Pat McCue

Care of the Newborn Foal with Dr. Pat McCue

Information on the Mountain Lion Attack at Horsetooth Mountain Open Space

Mountain Lion Attack in Colorado

You may have heard about the mountain lion attack here in Colorado recently. We wanted to share the information with you so you can be informed.

On Monday, Feb. 4 at Horsetooth Mountain Open Space a trail runner was attacked by a juvenile mountain lion. The victim was able to defend himself from the attack, resulting in the death of the mountain lion (by suffocation). The runner was then able to leave the open space property and get himself to a local hospital.

These attacks are not common in Colorado. But if you ride or hike, remember that Colorado has wildlife and to always stay attentive and vigilent.

This serves as a reminder that living in Colorado means living among our wildlife. Here’s what to do if you encounter a mountain lion: https://cpw.state.co.us/learn/Pages/LivingwithWildlifeLion1.aspx

The Truth About Boarding Facilities


Let’s face it, as a horse owner, we have all relied on a boarding facility at some point to be able to enjoy our equine friends. And unless you are really blessed, most of us will always require a boarding facility to be able to enjoy horses.

Boarding facilities offer us so many amenities, they really are a blessing to us; a blessing that a lot of blood, sweat, tears, and money go into so we have great facilities available to us for the riding and care of our horses.

We know owning a horse is not cheap, but you would be surprised the favors that boarding facilities are actually doing for us, based on the actual cost to operate one VS the cost they charge us.

Here are just some of the costs that go into boarding horses:

  • Here in Colorado, lately anyways, small bales of grass hay (65-70lb bales) are about $12. Let’s say your horse gets 1/3 bale per day, or 21lbs per day. That equals out to $108 per month per horse (feeding 1/2 bale, or 32lbs, per day equals $180/month).
  • If your barn uses bedding, they likely go through 5-10 bags per week per horse. Assuming they have found a great deal on bulk shavings, we will figure $5/bag and 5 bags per week (a single bag at Murdoch’s is $7.99). 15 bags equals $75 per month.

So in hard costs per horse, that is already $183/month (or $255/month for a little more hay).

  • Most facilities have a mortgage, and the equine portion of that mortgage in Colorado is most likely at VERY minimum $200,000 which equals out to $1,073 per month with a 5% APR on a 30 year mortgage. Assuming the facility holds 12 horses, your horse’s share of that is $90 per month. (But if we are being honest, the mortgage on most boarding facilities is closer to $700,000 or $3,443 per month at 4.5% APR on 30 years, and that would equal $286 per horse if 12 horses were boarded).

Now we are up to $273/month (or $345/month with a little more hay).

  • Labor: between the amount of time it takes to feed your horse (2-3 feedings per day), cleaning their stall, cleaning their pen, moving them from stall to pen and back again, getting them water, cleaning waterers, blanketing, grooming arena(s), mowing pens, cleaning the barn, night checks, and other miscellaneous duties, let’s average 1 hour of labor per horse per day, which at only $10/hr works out to $300/month (but being realistic, you cannot find good reliable help for $10/hour here in Colorado, so at $15/hour it would be $450/month).

We are up to $573/month with these additional costs (or $795/month with a 1/2 bale instead of 1/3 bale, and $15/hr labor instead of $10/hr labor).

This does not take into consideration the specialty insurance the facility needs to have to be able to board your horse and have you ride there, the cost of the tractor and attachments (mowers, drags, plows, etc.), maintenance for facility and facility equipment, water and electricity, facility repairs due to horses damaging items, etc.

So if you have a facility you enjoy boarding at, and the cost is under what we outlined above… your facility owner is probably not making any money (and actually your horse being there is costing them money in the bigger picture). So before you complain about how much your board is, keep that in mind!

Having a great boarding facility also gives us the option to go on vacation for a week, or not see our horse for a day as needed. Providing us with a LOT of flexibility to enjoy our lives outside of horses.

And remember to support your facility owner by taking lessons when offered, participating in clinics and events, and just being sure to thank them once in a while for the wonderful facility they make available to you.