Vesicular stomatitis

From Cow
Oral lesions in a cow with vesicular stomatitis
Tongue lesions on a cow affected by VSD

Vesicular stomatitis disease (VSD) is a notifiable viral disease of cattle caused by a vesiculovirus (family Rhabdoviridae).

The disease occurs as sporadic outbreaks affecting a small population of the herd, primarily in North America, although the disease is endemic to South America, Central America, and parts of Mexico but have not been seen naturally outside the Western hemisphere.

Transmission of the virus is by direct contact, flies (Lutzomyia spp and Simulium spp) and aerosol. Livestock have been considered dead-end hosts because detectable viraemia is absent in infected animals[1].

Clinical signs

Outbreaks are usually associated with the spread of the disease from endemic regions to relative naive herds[2].

Fever, anorexia, reduced milk yield, stomatitis (oral lesions) and secondary mastitis are common signs. Foot rot due to coronitis are observed in some cattle[3].


Diagnosis is based on presenting clinical signs and supporting diagnostic laboratory tests. Serology, ELISA[4] and PCR[5] are usually diagnostic.

The disease must be distinguished from other causes of stomatitis including bovine mucosal disease, malignant catarrhal fever, rinderpest, peste des petits ruminants, contagious ecthyma, blue tongue, epizootic haemorrhagic disease and foot and mouth disease.


Supportive treatment may be warranted but no specific treatment is available.

Vaccinations may limit disease outbreak in at-risk cattle[6].


  1. Smith PF et al (2011) Domestic cattle as a non-conventional amplifying host of vesicular stomatitis New Jersey virus. Med Vet Entomol 25(2):184-191
  2. Arroyo M et al (2011) Characterization of the temporal and spatial distribution and reproductive ratio of vesicular stomatitis outbreaks in Mexico in 2008. Am J Vet Res 72(2):233-238
  3. Merck Vet Manual
  4. Ferris NP et al (2012) Development and laboratory evaluation of two lateral flow devices for the detection of vesicular stomatitis virus in clinical samples. J Virol Methods 180(1-2):96-100
  5. Lung O et al (2011) Multiplex RT-PCR detection and microarray typing of vesicular disease viruses. J Virol Methods 175(2):236-245
  6. Capozzo AV et al(2011) Vesicular Stomatitis Virus glycoprotein G carrying a tandem dimer of Foot and Mouth Disease Virus antigenic site A can be used as DNA and peptide vaccine for cattle. Antiviral Res 92(2):219-227