Anthrax kills nine livestock in Sask province, herds stranded

This is Saskatchewan’s first case of anthrax this year. It generally occurs in the form of spores caused by certain bacteria.

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Nine livestock have died and the rest of the herd is being quarantined after the Department of Agriculture reported Wednesday that anthrax was found in pastures in southwestern Saskatchewan.

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In a statement, the ministry said the deaths occurred during farming activities in Pierpot Municipality near Maple Creek.

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It did not specify the type of animal exposed to respect producer privacy, but confirmed it was not cattle. Livestock such as bison, cattle, sheep and goats are highly susceptible.

“I can only imagine it would be very traumatic,” said Wendy Wilkins, the department’s disease surveillance veterinarian, in an interview. “For example, when you walk outside to check on an animal, you find a dead animal, or worse, multiple dead animals, and you know it’s anthrax. I’m scared.”

Wilkins said this was the state’s first case of anthrax this year. It generally occurs in the form of spores caused by certain bacteria and is usually sporadic.

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There has been one case in 2021, one in 2019 and three or four cases in 2016, she said. She added that one of her worst years was 2006, when dozens of farms were affected and hundreds of animals died.

She explained that anthrax can be more of a problem in drier years because the spores are more accessible.

In Pierpot’s case, Wilkins said the animals were moved to new pasture with dried-up potholes.

She said producers noticed animals in the burrows, eating grass and digging. She suspects that anthrax has gathered in this lowland.

“When it dries out and animals get into it, they can be exposed to these high concentrations of spores,” Wilkins said. “It’s definitely the smoking gun here.”

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Nine animals died, but the total number of potentially exposed animals was 100.

Producers have removed the animals from the anthrax area and are now administering antibiotics.

Anthrax animals are usually found dead without any signs of illness, Wilkins said.

She said vaccination can prevent death from anthrax. She encourages producers who have experienced epidemics before to vaccinate their animals annually. Vaccination should also be considered if animals in nearby fields are infected with anthrax, she added.

She said Pierpot’s animals had not been vaccinated at the time of infection.

“Anthrax can appear anywhere in the state, even if it’s never been reported or confirmed before. “We have a vaccine that works. If people use it, it will prevent anthrax. I know it will cost more, but it will be less than losing an animal.”

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Wilkins said carcasses of suspected anthrax animals should not be moved or moved. It also needs to be protected from scavengers to prevent the spread of spores.

In a news release, the ministry said anyone suspected of having anthrax should immediately contact a local veterinarian for a diagnosis. Positive test results must be reported to the state Chief Veterinary Officer.

Producers are advised to exercise caution when handling potentially infected animals and carcasses.

“Animal cases pose minimal risk to humans, but can be transmitted through direct contact with sick animals or carcasses,” he said. should contact your local health authority or doctor for advice.”

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Anthrax kills nine livestock in Sask province, herds stranded

Source link Anthrax kills nine livestock in Sask province, herds stranded

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