Anthrax reported in South Dakota livestock
Anthrax has again appeared in South Dakota livestock. Dr. Sam Holland, State Veterinarian, reports the disease has struck a cattle herd in Hutchinson County.
Specimens were collected July 18 and taken to the state veterinary diagnostic lab, which confirmed the diagnosis on July 21.
Dr. Holland reports the case involves a pasture containing a small group of unvaccinated cattle. Three deaths were reported on July 19 and Anthrax was confirmed on July 21.
The herd was scheduled to be immediately treated with antibiotics, vaccinated and carcasses properly disposed of under the supervision of the Animal Industry Board.
Anthrax is a very serious quarantinable disease because it can cause the rapid loss of a large number of animals in a very short time. Often times animals are found dead with no illness detected. Anthrax is also communicable to humans, as well as other animals, through carcasses so that strict enforcement of quarantine and proper burning and burying of carcasses suspected to have died from Anthrax is important. Anthrax is not usually spread from animal to animal and quarantines are imposed to prevent further soil contamination by movement of affected livestock.
Producers are alerted to outbreaks so they can consult their veterinarians and vaccinate their livestock if deemed appropriate.
Dr. Holland reports that Anthrax spores survive in contaminated soil indefinitely and that much of South Dakota has the potential of experiencing an outbreak.
Significant climate changes such as drought, floods, and winds can expose Anthrax spores to grazing livestock. Alkaline soils, high humidity and high temperatures present conditions for the Anthrax spores to vegetate and become infectious to grazing livestock.
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Outtagrass Cattle Co. cartoon by Jan Swan Wood for the June 19, 2021, edition of Tri-State Livestock News