N.M. Livestock Board

The New Mexico Livestock Board 

NMLB Using Facebook, Email to Spread the Word

The New Mexico Livestock Board (NMLB) is using new online information tools to help producers, and anyone else who needs to move livestock into, out of, or around New Mexico to stay current on animal health issues. “We are continuing our efforts to make the agency more user-friendly, and hope these tools will be convenient for livestock owners,” said Myles Culbertson, Director of the New Mexico Livestock Board (NMLB).

New Mexico’s current outbreak of vesicular stomatitis (VS), highlights the need to distribute information as quickly as possible, Culbertson said. “Restrictions on and requirements for moving livestock have been changing quickly as new cases of VS are found in different parts of the state. Using the internet to get information out immediately allows people to act quickly to protect their animals’ health.”

Cattle, horses and pigs can be affected by the disease, which causes painful lesions on animals’ mouth, nose and lips. “Livestock owners need to watch their animals closely, and contact their veterinarian immediately if they suspect their livestock may be infected,” said Dave Fly, New Mexico State Veterinarian. “New Mexico’s last significant outbreak of VS was in 2005, so we have a large animal population that is susceptible to the disease.”

VS is a contagious disease, spread mainly by biting insects. “One of the best things people can do to protect their livestock is to be diligent with fly spray, especially in the afternoon and evening when biting insects are more active,” Fly continued.

This summer, VS cases have been identified in Otero, Valencia, Socorro and San Miguel Counties, and other areas in the state are likely to experience the disease over the next several months. The NMLB is recommending extreme caution in the movement of livestock into any affected county, unless they are going directly to the auction market. Event organizers are asked to work with a veterinarian to ensure all livestock entering the event are free of the disease. This is a disease that creates very fluid control and management systems, so stay in touch with your veterinarian and watch the NMLB website for up-to-date information, Culbertson said.

Vesicular Stomatitis is considered mildly zoonotic and in rare cases can be transmitted to humans, according to Dr. Paul Ettestad, New Mexico Department of Health. In people, it can cause an acute illness that resembles influenza. The incubation period is usually three to four days, but can be as short as 24 hours or as long as six days. The symptoms may include fever, muscle aches, headache and malaise. Vesicles are rare, but can occasionally be found on the mouth, lips or hands. Most people recover without complications in four to seven days.

Precautions are recommended when handling suspect livestock, Ettestad continued.

Humans can become infected when handling affected animals, contaminated fomites, tissues, blood or virus cultures. To prevent infection, protective clothing and gloves should be used when handling infected animals.

To sign up for online updates from the NMLB, people can “like” the agency’s Facebook page, or visit www.nmlbonline.org, and click on the red “Sign up for email notices from the NMLB” button. “We believe these will be excellent tool for notifying the livestock industry on news items, alerts, emergencies, new rules, and other timely notices,” Culbertson explained.

“Facebook is becoming a popular way to get information out to the public, but we realize that it’s not the best way to reach everyone,” he continued. “With two options – Facebook and direct emails – we hope to reach a majority of the people we serve. Of course, we are always available to answer people’s questions over the telephone and in person.”