Eight cattle are dead in North Dakota’s first confirmed case of anthrax
It was found in a group of 200 cattle in a pasture in Sioux County that were unvaccinated.
According to the State Veterinarian this serves as a good 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 State Vet says producers in past known affected areas should consult with their veterinarians to make sure their vaccine schedule is current. They also say producers in Sioux County and the surrounding areas should talk to their veterinarians to determine if their cattle need the anthrax vaccine.
Producers should monitor their herds for unexplained deaths and report them to your veterinarian.
The State Ag Department says outbreaks typically occur when livestock are grazing on neutral or slightly alkaline soil. It’s caused by the anthrax bacteria, Bacillus anthracis.
What happens is the bacterial spores can lie dormant in the ground for decades and become active under ideal conditions. Those ideal conditions could be heavy rainfall, flooding and drought. Animals are exposed to the disease when they graze or consume forage or water contaminated with the spores.
The organisms mainly enter through the mouth, and occasionally enter via nose or skin injury. Following ingestion or inhalation, the organisms spread rapidly throughout the entire body.
Anthrax has been found in almost every part of the state and in most cases it means death for the animal. The manner in which the animal dies can mean a large risk of exposure for other animals in the herd.