The stables at Chatfield State Park are temporarily closed due to a possible outbreak of vesicular stomatitis in the horses. Colorado Parks and Wildlife closed the stables while it waits for test results from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
During the closure, horses can’t be taken out of the stables, but owners can enter the stables to care for their animals, said Matt Robbins, a Parks and Wildlife spokesman. Owners who wish to bring their horses to Chatfield to ride may still do so, but Robbins said they will be cautioned about the possible outbreak.
Test results should be available by Monday, Robbins said.
Vesicular stomatitis is a viral disease that causes lesions and sores inside a horse’s mouth and on its lips and tongue. The virus also affects cattle, sheep, pigs, goats. llamas and alpacas.
“This was something first noticed by the stable manager in an animal that seemed to be showing some signs,” Robbins said. “It’s our protocol that when there’s even a possibility like this, we do this temporary closure. It’s standard practice; it isn’t meant to alarm anyone.”
Colorado has had 186 confirmed cases of vesicular stomatitis at farms and stables in 2014, with Jeffco accounting for seven of those so far. While the virus can cause extreme discomfort and possible complications from the open sores, Robbins said it isn’t fatal.
“The good news is, this isn't life threatening for the animal in most cases, and it can be treated. That’s important to know,” Robbins said.