While vesicular stomatitis does not generally cause animals to die, it can still cause economic losses to livestock producers. The disease is particularly significant because its outward signs are similar to (although generally less severe than) those of foot-and-mouth

disease, a foreign animal disease of cloven-hoofed animals that was eradicated from the United States in 1929. The clinical signs of VS are also similar to those of swine vesicular disease, another foreign animal disease. The only way to tell these diseases apart is through laboratory tests.

How VS spreads is not fully known; insect vectors, mechanical transmission, and movement of animals are all factors. Once the disease is introduced into a herd, it may move from animal to animal by contact or exposure to saliva or fluid from ruptured vesicles. Humans rarely contract VS, but they can become infected.