Second case of anthrax reported in livestock this year

Michelle Mielke
Devils Lake Daily Journal

BISMARCK – A second case of anthrax has been reported in beef cattle in Kidder County this year. The case was confirmed by the North Dakota State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. The first case, also in cattle in Kidder County, was reported in August.

This animal is infected with anthrax.

“The recent cases are a reminder to take action to protect your animals from disease, especially in areas with a past history,” Dr. Ethan Andress said. “Producers in past known affected areas and counties should consult with their veterinarians to make sure the vaccination schedule for their animals is current. Producers in Kidder County and surrounding areas should confer with their veterinarians to determine if initiating first-time vaccinations against anthrax is warranted for their cattle at this time.”

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Effective anthrax vaccines are readily available, but it takes about a week for immunity to be established, and it must be administered annually for continued protection. Producers should monitor their herds for unexplained deaths and work with their veterinarian to ensure appropriate samples are collected and submitted to a diagnostic lab to give the best chance of obtaining a diagnosis.

Owners of livestock and animals displaying symptoms consistent with anthrax or experiencing death of animals should contact a private veterinary practitioner or an Animal Health Commission official.

“Anthrax has been most frequently reported in northeast, southeast and south-central North Dakota, but it has been found in almost every part of the state,” Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said. “A few anthrax cases are reported in North Dakota almost every year. The animals impacted included cattle, bison, horses, sheep, llamas and farmed deer and elk.”

Paper with definition of anthrax with a needle and vial nearby.

Two cases of anthrax were reported in North Dakota in 2020. In 2005, however, more than 500 confirmed deaths from anthrax were reported with total losses estimated at more than 1,000 head.