Vesicular stomatitis: how to spot and report the disease

How to spot vesicular stomatitis, what to do if you suspect it and measures to prevent its spread.

Vesicular stomatitis affects:

  • cattle
  • pigs
  • horses
  • donkeys

It can also affect sheep and goats, but they are more resistant to it.

It doesn’t affect humans.

It has never been present in Great Britain.

Vesicular stomatitis is a notifiable animal disease. If you suspect it you must report it immediately by calling the Defra Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301. In Wales, contact 0300 303 8268. In Scotland, contact your local Field Services Office. Failure to do so is an offence.

How to spot vesicular stomatitis

The signs of vesicular stomatitis are very similar to foot and mouth disease (FMD). The only way to confirm the disease is by laboratory testing.

The main signs of vesicular stomatitis are:

  • fever
  • blisters on feet, snout, lips, tongue and inside the mouth
  • lameness
  • increased production of spit

How vesicular stomatitis is spread

The disease is spread by certain types of biting flies and by direct contact with infected animals.

Preventing and controlling vesicular stomatitis

You can help prevent the disease by practising strict biosecurity on your premises.

If you report suspicion of vesicular stomatitis, APHA vets will investigate.

If vesicular stomatitis is confirmed, the outbreak will be controlled in line with the contingency plan for exotic notifiable diseases.

Further information on prevention and control

Controls to prevent disease

What happens when a notifiable disease is suspected or confirmed

Legislation relating to vesicular stomatitis

Vesicular stomatitis is covered by the Specified Diseases (Notification and Slaughter) Order 1992 and the Specified Diseases (Notification) Order 1996.

Vesicular stomatitis is also covered by EU Council Directive 92/119.

Published 26 August 2014
Last updated 18 October 2018 + show all updates
  1. Contact details for reporting a notifiable disease updated.
  2. AHVLA documents have been re-assigned to the new Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).
  3. First published.