Livestock producers reminded of anthrax danger
BISMARCK – North Dakota’s state veterinarian says the state’s second reported case of anthrax this year is a reminder to livestock producers to take action to protect their animals from the disease, especially in areas with a past history of the disease. The case was confirmed late last Friday afternoon by the North Dakota State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and a local veterinary clinic.
“Anthrax has been confirmed in a Kidder County steer,” said Dr. Susan Keller. “Producers should consult with their veterinarians to make sure the vaccination schedule for their animals is up to date.”
The state’s first case of anthrax this year was confirmed in June in a Grand Forks County cow.
Effective anthrax vaccines are readily available, but it takes about a week for immunity to be established, and it must be administered annually for continued protection. Producers should monitor their herds for unexplained deaths and report them to their veterinarians.
Anthrax has been most frequently reported in northeast, southeast and south central North Dakota, but it has been found in almost every part of the state.”
“With the excessive precipitation we have had in some areas and drought-like conditions in others, the environment is right for the disease to occur,” Keller said.
A few anthrax cases are reported in North Dakota almost every year. In 2005, however, more than 500 confirmed deaths from anthrax were reported with total losses estimated at more than 1,000 head. The animals impacted included cattle, bison, horses, sheep, llamas and farmed deer and elk.
An anthrax factsheet is available on the North Dakota Department of Agriculture website at http://www.nd.gov/ndda/disease/anthrax.
Anthrax is caused by the bacteria Bacillus anthracis. The bacterial spores can lie dormant in the ground for decades and become active under ideal conditions, such as heavy rainfall, flooding and drought. Animals are exposed to the disease when they graze or consume forage or water contaminated with the spores.
–North Dakota Department of Agriculture
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Outtagrass Cattle Co. cartoon by Jan Swan Wood for the June 19, 2021, edition of Tri-State Livestock News