Anthrax

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Beth Thompson, JD, DVM, State Veterinarian

Anthrax has been confirmed in South Dakota for the first time this year in a beef herd located in Ziebach county. According to South Dakota State Veterinarian Dr. Beth Thompson, several animals were found dead in an unvaccinated herd containing approximately 150 pairs. The Animal Disease Research and Diagnostic Laboratory at SDSU confirmed the disease from samples submitted by the herd veterinarian. The Animal Industry Board has quarantined the affected herd and will quarantine any additional affected herds.

If Anthrax is suspected, contact your local veterinarian or the Animal Industry Board at 605-773-3321. DO NOT MOVE THE SUSPECT CARCASSES UNTIL A DIAGNOSIS IS MADE.

Proper handling of carcasses by burning and burying is extremely important.

Anthrax is an economically devastating disease for all livestock, because it can cause rapid loss of many animals in a short time. Affected animals are often found dead. Anthrax spores survive indefinitely in soil and much of South Dakota has the potential of having contaminated soil. Weather events, such as drought, floods and winds can expose the anthrax spores to livestock. Other factors that affect the spores are certain soil types, high humidity and high temperatures, which allow the anthrax spores to become infectious to grazing livestock.

“Preventative actions by herd owners are so important for herd health, especially in the summer months,” according to Thompson. “Establish a working relationship with your local veterinarian, check your cattle frequently, and investigate any suspicious deaths on pasture. Preventative measures such as vaccination are available.”

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