Livestock Disease Spreads In Southern Utah

By Casey Kuhn
Published: Monday, October 26, 2015 - 5:05am
Updated: Monday, October 26, 2015 - 8:15am

A livestock virus that closely resembles foot-and-mouth disease has spread to nine counties in Southern Utah. 

The animals first found with Vesicular Stomatitis, or VS, were a mule and several horses that had traveled from Arizona back in May.

Bas Aja, executive vice president of the Arizona Cattle Feeders Association, says while it’s not a deadly virus, livestock with VS produce 30 percent less than healthy animals.

“It doesn’t feel good to eat feed when your mouth's got sores in it so it has a real economic impact. But it’s not a mortal situation,” he said.

Aja said Arizona has diligent practices for quarantining the disease once it’s found and would only pose a major problem on large livestock operations.

“The cattle business in Arizona is pretty big, it’s a $3.2 billion business," Aja said. "There’s nearly a million head of cattle in Arizona so we take great measures to make sure the animals and the food we produce is safe.”

Aja said it’s usually horses that catch the disease, especially in the traveling rodeo circuit.

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