Tulsa Area Horses In Danger Of Disease

Friday, August 9th 2019, 9:20 pm
By: Kristen Weaver

Local vets are warning about a contagious disease that can affect horses and other livestock. It can even be spread to humans.

In just last the past week a case of Vesicular Stomatitis Virus was reported in Oklahoma.

With horse shows underway in Tulsa, a local equine surgeon is urging people around livestock to watch out.

Dr. Garrett Metcalf deals with sick horses all day long, some getting eye implants for blindness, some injured, others battling diseases. 

He's very concerned about Vesicular Stomatitis.

"It's very important to monitor it and make sure we're tracking it if there is a case of it," Metcalf said. 

OSU Vet Health Sciences said the first Oklahoma case since the 1990s was confirmed in late July in Tillman County.

Metcalf, an equine surgeon and owner at Pine Ridge Equine Hospital Glenpool, said the disease hasn't been confirmed near Tulsa yet.

"It's more common in the late summer and late fall, until the first freeze when all the insects die," Metcalf said. 

The disease can give horses, pigs, and cattle painful sores near the mouth which makes them refuse to eat and drink.

It can also be spread to humans who see flu-like symptoms.

"That can affect events, rodeos, shows, things like that can really have an impact," he said. 

Carol Stewart drove 7 hours to the Glenpool hospital for her horses Bandit and Rebel, for eye surgery.

"There's not any equine hospitals where we live," Stewart said. 

She said she's extra diligent knowing diseases like Vesicular Stomatitis are being reported.

"Praise God for places like this," she said. 

Metcalf said if they suspect a horse has the disease, they would report it to the state right away.

"We have to be diligent because it can impact the horse industry," Metcalf said. 

Although Oklahoma has only one county affected so far, 27 counties in Texas have reported the disease this year. 

For all cases click here.

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