'There's only one effect: they die': Producers warned about anthrax in the RM of Chester
Producers are reminded to be on the lookout for anthrax in their animals after a case was confirmed in the RM of Chester.
The case was confirmed on Thursday by lab results following the sudden death of seven animals.
“If [anthrax] gets into livestock,there's only one effect: they die,” said Chris Clark, an associate professor at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine. “They die suddenly and there’s no other signs of illness, so that’s the most important thing to look out for.”
Anthrax is caused by the bacteria Bacillus anthracis, which can survive for decades in soil. Flooding and drying can cause changes to the soil moisture and lead to a build-up of these spores on pastures.
“Ruminants such as bison, cattle, sheep and goats are highly susceptible, and horses can also be infected a press release from the province says. “Swine, birds and carnivores are more resistant to infection, but farm dogs and cats should be kept away from carcasses.”
The province says the carcass of an animal suspected of having anthrax should not be moved, and should be protected from scavenger animals to prevent spreading.
“Once an animal is dead, the tissues are contaminated with the anthrax bacteria,” said Chris Clark, an associate professor at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine. “If the carcass is opened and exposed to oxygen by coyotes or birds the bacteria turn into spores, and the spores get into the soil and the cycle starts again.”
Anyone who suspects anthrax in their animals should contact their veterinarian immediately.
Any positive cases of anthrax also need to be reported to Saskatchewan’s Chief Veterinarian Officer.