Pasture flooding may increase anthrax risk

Pasture flooding may increase anthrax risk Wet conditions in many areas of the state this spring may indirectly create ideal conditions for cases of anthrax to show up on certain pastures as the summer progresses, a South Dakota State University specialist said.

SDSU Extension Veterinarian Russ Daly said anthrax is caused by Bacillus anthracis, bacteria that can form spores that can survive for many years in the soil. Certain locations in South Dakota are problem, or endemic, areas.

�In these areas, under flooding conditions, the soil may be disturbed, allowing spores to be exposed. Close grazing later in the season then may result in cattle ingesting anthrax spores, resulting in disease,� Daly said.

Clinical signs of anthrax in cattle are not usually seen due to the rapid progression of the disease. Cattle are frequently found dead in the pasture, often with bloody fluid from the nose or rectum.

Especially those in areas that have been problems in the past, producers should closely observe their pastures and promptly call their veterinarian when dead cattle are found.

�South Dakota�s veterinarians have extensive awareness of the disease and are producers� best resource for questions dealing with anthrax in their areas,� Daly said.

Other resources that are available are SDSU Extension Extra 11010, �Frequently Asked Questions: ANTHRAX,� available at http://agbiopubs.sdstate.edu/pub_description.cfm?Item=ExEx11010. The South Dakota Animal Industry Board also has information at http://www.state.sd.us/aib/disease%20control.htm#DISEASES%20OF%20CATTLE.

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