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Vesicular Stomatitis, RT-qPCR - Equigerminal

VE Vesicular Stomatitis RT-qPCR

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Pathogen test 

  • The RT-qPCR test detects the genome (RNA) of Indiana and Jersey virus strains responsible for Vesicular Stomatitis.


  • 5 mL - blood - K3 EDTA tube

Turnaround time

  • 2 to 5 working days


What is Vesicular Stomatitis?

  • Vesicular Stomatitis (VS) is a contagious disease that afflicts horses, livestock, wildlife and even humans.
  • The disease is caused by a virus, which although rarely life threatening, can have significant financial impact on the horse industry.
  • Vesicular Stomatitis is a reportable disease.
  • Equestrian event organisers may also choose to cancel horse shows, and other equestrian activities in the surrounding area. Interstate and international movement of horses may also be restricted. 

Clinical signs

  • When vesicular stomatitis occurs in horses, blister-like lesions usually develop on the tongue, mouth lining, nose or lips.
  • In some cases, lesions can develop on the coronary bands, or on the udder or sheath.
  • When VS is suspected, an exact diagnosis should be obtained by testing the blood for virus-specific antibodies or by testing swabs from the lesions to identify the presence of the virus.
  • Testing is necessary to rule out the possibility that the lesions are caused by photosensitivity (sunburn), irritating feeds or weeds, or toxicity from non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications like phenylbutazone. 
  • The disease generally runs its course within two weeks, although it may take as long as two months for the sores to entirely heal. Live virus can often be isolated from the lesions for up to a week after the lesions appear.  During this time, the horse remains infective and the potential remains for the disease to spread to other animals.


  • There are still some questions regarding how vesicular stomatitis is transmitted and why it only occurs sporadically in the U.S.
  • The disease is distributed only in North, Central, and South America, with a greater incidence in warmer regions. Due to the seasonal occurrence of VS during summer through early fall, it is believed that insects such as biting flies and midges contribute to maintaining the lifecycle of the virus.  Black flies, sand flies, and midges are known to transmit the virus, but there may be other insect vectors that have not yet been identified.
  • VS also can be passed from horse to horse by contact with saliva or fluid from ruptured blisters.
  • Physical contact between animals, or contact with buckets, equipment, housing, trailers, feed, bedding, shared water troughs or other items used by an infected horse can provide a ready means of spread. 


By observing the following guidelines you can help prevent the occurrence of VS: 

  • Healthy horses are more disease resistant so provide good nutrition, regular exercise, deworming and routine vaccinations. 
  • Isolate new horses for at least 21 days before introducing them into the herd or stable.
  • Observe your horse closely. Immediately isolate any horse that shows signs of infection and contact your veterinarian.
  • Implement an effective insect control program. Keep stabling areas clean and dry. Remove manure and eliminate potential breeding grounds (standing water, muddy areas) for insect vectors.
  • Use individual rather than communal feeders, waterers, and equipment.
  • Clean and disinfect feed bunks, waterers, horse trailers and other equipment regularly.
  • Be sure that your farrier and other equine professionals who come into direct contact with your animals exercise due care so as not to spread the disease from one horse or facility to the next.
  • On farms where VS has been confirmed, isolate any animals with lesions away from others and handle healthy animals first, ill animals last. Handlers should then shower, change clothing and disinfect equipment to prevent exposing others.
  • Anyone handling infected horses should implement proper biosafety methods, including wearing latex gloves and washing hands after handling animals with lesions.
  • If you are sponsoring an event during an outbreak, require a more recent health certificate on every horse entering the venue and consider having a veterinarian visually inspect all horses at check-in.  Work with your event veterinarian to establish isolation and response procedures that can be implemented quickly if a suspect case is identified at the venue.