Emerging disease endangering cattle in Sanborn County

Close to 65 people gathered at the Woonsocket Community and Events Center on Monday, Sept. 25, to become informed about a dangerous disease that has entered Sanborn County and is affecting cattle herds in the area and could continue to affect more. Dr. David Schultz, DVM, owner of Sand Creek Animal Clinic of Woonsocket, and his staff organized the important meeting to inform cattle owners about the findings of a disease called anaplasmosis in three herds in Sanborn County as of the date of the meeting. Dr. Schultz informed the crowd that if the animals who show symptoms of the disease go untreated, they will die. Without taking action, this could be a costly disaster for cattle producers in this area.

Two weeks prior to the meeting, Dr. Schultz was called to a cattle herd because of signs of something terribly wrong with some of the cows. When he first examined the animals, he didn’t expect anaplasmosis to be the problem because it has not been an issue in Sanborn County or even the state prior to this fall. But, when the owner of the herd lost his second animal, Schultz figured out what was the cause and knew that it was a serious issue that needed to be brought to all cattle owners’ attention.

Anaplasmosis is a tick-born disease and can affect sheep, goats and ruminants like deer. It can affect all types of cattle and all ages of the herd, but death usually only occurs in cows that are two years old or older. It is spread by anything that can transmit blood from one animal to another, such as ticks or biting insects (horse or deer flies), blood-contamination of tools such as dehorners, ear taggers, castration tools, needles or implant guns, and through cow to calf during gestation. 

The used needle transmission was a hot topic amongst the cattle owners at the meeting because when a person is inoculating their calves or their whole herd, they tend to use the same needle many times because it makes the job easier and quicker, and the needles can get expensive. However, that wasn’t the biggest expense of this finding that was discussed at the meeting. Dr. Schultz stated that the vaccine can cost about seven to nine dollars a head, and if a cattle owner wants to test their animals first, the testing can also cost about that much per head. 

…Read on in this week’s issue of the Sanborn Weekly Journal!

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