2010-08-19 / General Stories

Anthrax is Here; Vaccinate Livestock Now

Late summertime in certain parts of Texas means livestock producers should be on the lookout for the resurfacing of anthrax in their animals. Among the anthrax cases confirmed this summer are one bovine in Crockett County, one whitetail deer in Kinney County and one whitetail deer in Uvalde County. Anthrax which is caused by Bacillus anthracis is a naturally occurring disease with worldwide distribution, including Texas.

“Anthrax cases are not unusual; especially at this time of year. This is peak season for anthrax to resurface and affect livestock and deer, ” • D r. Dee Ellis, Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) Executive Director and State Veterinarian, said. “Ranchers and livestock owners should be aware of recent anthrax confirmations in their area and consider vaccinating their livestock to protect against the disease.”

Anthrax can occur anywhere. If an animal dies from the disease and isn’t properly disposed of by burning, the bacteria can spill out into the soil and remain dormant for long periods of time. The anthrax bacteria resurfaces on grass or forage under ideal weather and soil conditions during spring and summer months. By the time an animal shows signs of staggering, trembling or convulsions after ingesting the anthrax bacteria, death is expected.

Anthrax is a reportable disease in Texas. While laboratory tests, conducted by the Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory in College Station, are needed to confirm infection, suspected cases also are to be reported to the TAHC. For more info, call 1-800-550-8242.

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