Anthrax Linked To Sudden Death On Pastures

CANADA - The Office of the Chief Veterinary Officer is alerting livestock owners that anthrax can be responsible for sudden death on summer pastures.
calendar icon 5 August 2010
clock icon 2 minute read

Anthrax is a preventable disease when appropriate vaccination programs are used. Producers who will graze their livestock in areas of the province that have had previous anthrax cases, or in areas with alkaline-to-neutral soils that were flooded this year, are strongly encouraged to vaccinate their livestock for this disease.

In 2006, Manitoba and Saskatchewan experienced an unusually high number of anthrax cases with Manitoba reporting 148 dead animals from 22 locations and Saskatchewan reporting 806 dead animals from 153 locations. Cattle and bison accounted for the majority of the deaths. Losses were also reported in horses, pigs, sheep, goats and white-tailed deer. Some outbreaks occurred in areas of both provinces that had no history of anthrax.

In Manitoba, during the summer of 2009, anthrax was confirmed on three cattle premises in the RM of Franklin and one bison premise in the RM of Stuartburn. No cases of anthrax have been reported to date in Manitoba in 2010.

It is important any sudden deaths in susceptible livestock or wildlife be checked by a veterinarian. If possible, the carcass should not be moved and should be protected from scavengers.  If anthrax is suspected, a blood sample will be taken by the veterinarian and sent into the provincial lab in Winnipeg. Results are often available within 24 hours.

Manitoba's chief veterinary officer is encouraging livestock owners to vaccinate their animals before turning them out to pasture to prevent or reduce the potential for anthrax.

Anthrax is a federally reportable disease in Canada and, when suspected, must be reported to a local veterinarian or the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). CFIA district offices are listed in the government blue pages of the telephone directory.

To promote reporting and help cover the costs of proper disposal, CFIA will pay up to $500 per head for cattle confirmed dead from anthrax. Indemnity is also available for horses, bison, sheep, swine, goats and farmed elk and deer.

TheCattleSite News Desk

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