Wyoming state vet advises Teton County producers to test fall herds

Wyoming Livestock Board (WLSB) veterinary staff is advising Teton County producers to have their herds tested this fall before calving to minimize the spread of brucellosis if infection has been contracted from area wildlife. According to Wyoming State Veterinarian, Dr. Jim Logan, if infection is found before calving and infected animals are removed, spread within a herd is greatly minimized and quarantine might be significantly shortened.

At this time, Wyoming has no herds under quarantine for brucellosis. However, WLSB veterinary staff has recently completed investigating a trace on a brucellosis reactor animal from Teton County. The heifer was slaughtered at a Wyoming custom slaughter plant and sampled as per Section 13 of the WLSB’s Chapter 2: Brucellosis Prevention & Surveillance Rules that dictate brucellosis testing requirements for slaughter plants.

The reactor animal was a spayed heifer from a group of spayed heifers and steers. Epidemiologic information verified that there are no contact herds, and cohorts of the affected animal have been sent to terminal feeding, so Dr. Logan is calling this is a “dead-end case.” He added that WLSB veterinary staff has worked closely with USDA APHIS and other states on the disposition of this situation, and the producer who owned the animal immediately prior to its slaughter has been cooperative. The Wyoming Department of Health has contacted the custom slaughter plant owner and the Wyoming Department of Agriculture slaughter inspector to follow up on any human exposure risks. Brucellosis is not a food safety risk.

Teton County is located south of Yellowstone National Park and within Wyoming’s Brucellosis Designated Surveillance Area (DSA). Logan points out that this recent finding and previous slaughter suspect traces back to this same general vicinity are evidence that brucellosis is circulating in the area and poses potential risk to local producers’ herds.

Fall herd tests for brucellosis are advised, but not required. However, the WLSB’s Chapter 2 Rules do require sexually intact female cattle 12 months of age and older from the DSA to be tested prior a change in ownership and prior to movement out of the DSA. The WLSB pays veterinarians for collecting and submitting samples to the Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory.

For more information on brucellosis and state brucellosis requirements, please contact the Wyoming Livestock Board at 307-777-7515 or 307-857-4140.

–Wyoming Livestock Board