Saskatchewan producers are reminded to be vigilant for anthrax, after one confirmed case was recorded in the R.M. of Cote #271.
Saskatchewan Agriculture says it was the cause of death in one cow and suspected in two additional deaths in the same herd.
Anthrax is caused by a bacteria, called Bacillus anthracis, that can survive in spore form in the soil for decades. It can build up on pastures from changes in soil moisture caused by flooding and drying. Spores can concentrate in sloughs and potholes.
The risk of exposure can increase in drier years, and it can also surface when the ground is excavated or when there is excessive run-off. Saskatchewan Agriculture says affected animals are usually found dead without any signs of illness.
Livestock can get infected when eating forage contaminated with spores. Bison, cattle, sheep and goats, are highly susceptible to anthrax, and horses can also be infected. Sask Ag says swine, birds, and carnivores have more resistant to infection, but dogs and cats should be kept away from carcasses.
Producers are also reminded to be careful around carcasses. If you’ve been exposed to an infected animal, contact your local health authority or physician.
Anyone who suspects their livestock may have anthrax should contact their local veterinarian immediately for diagnosis.
Anthrax can be prevented by vaccination, and producers are encouraged, especially in regions where there have been previous outbreaks, to vaccinate their animals every year.
More information can be found on the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture website.