Saskatchewan Agriculture is reminding producers to be aware of the risk of anthrax after confirmation of a positive case in a cow in the Rural Municipality of Hazel Dell No. 335, on December 5. Anthrax is the suspected cause of death in two other cattle from the same herd.
The suspected source of anthrax is believed to be soil-contaminated slough hay. As feed is the source, there is not a widespread geographical risk. However, producers are reminded to be vigilant. Anthrax is caused by the bacteria Bacillus anthracis, which can survive in spore form for decades in soil. Livestock are affected when they eat forage contaminated with the spores.
Affected animals are usually found dead without any signs of the illness.
Anthrax can be prevented by vaccination. Producers in regions that have experienced previous outbreaks are strongly encouraged to vaccinate their animals each year.
Anyone who suspects anthrax should contact their local veterinarian. All positive test results are required to be reported to the provincial Chief Veterinary Officer.