Canadian ministry warns cattle producers to watch for anthrax

Anthrax confirmed in ruminant species in Saskatchewan
calendar icon 29 August 2022
clock icon 1 minute read

Saskatchewan Agriculture is reminding producers to be on the lookout for anthrax in their animals after confirmation that anthrax has been found in the RM of Piapot #110. Anthrax was confirmed by laboratory results on 22 August 2022 as the cause of death in nine animals.

Anthrax is caused by the bacteria Bacillus anthracis, which can survive in spore form for decades in soil. Changes in soil moisture, from flooding and drying, can lead to a build-up of the spores on pastures. Spores can concentrate in sloughs and potholes, and there is increased risk of animal exposure to anthrax in drier years when these areas dry up and become accessible. Spores can also surface when the ground is excavated or when there is excessive run-off.

Livestock are infected when they eat forage contaminated with spores. Ruminants such as bison, cattle, sheep and goats, are highly susceptible, and horses can also be infected. Swine, birds and carnivores are more resistant to infection, but farm dogs and cats should be kept away from carcasses.

Affected animals are usually found dead without any signs of illness. Anthrax can be prevented by vaccination.

 

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