The Office of the Chief Veterinary Officer is alerting livestock owners that anthrax can be responsible for sudden death on summer pastures.
Anthrax is a preventable disease when appropriate vaccination programs are used. Producers who will graze their livestock in areas of the province that have had previous anthrax cases, or in areas with alkaline to neutral soils that were flooded this year, are strongly encouraged to vaccinate their livestock for this disease.
In 2006, Manitoba and Saskatchewan experienced an unusually high number of anthrax cases with Manitoba reporting 148 dead animals from 22 locations and Saskatchewan reporting 806 dead animals from 153 locations. Some outbreaks occurred in areas that had no history of anthrax.
In Manitoba, during the summer of 2009, anthrax was conf irmed on three cattle premises in the R. M. of Franklin and one bison premise in the R. M. of Stuartburn. No cases of anthrax have been reported to date in Manitoba in 2010.
Any sudden deaths in susceptible livestock or wildlife should be checked by a veterinarian. The carcass should not be moved and should be protected from scavengers. If anthrax is suspected, a blood sample will be taken by the veterinarian and sent into the provincial lab in Winnipeg. Results are often available within 24 hours.
Manitoba’s chief veterinary officer is encouraging livestock owners to vaccinate their animals before turning them out to pasture to prevent or reduce the potential for anthrax. Information on anthrax can be found on the Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives website at www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/livestock/anhealth/jaa02s00.html.
Anthrax is a federally reportable disease in Canada and, when suspected, must be reported to a local veterinarian or the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).
To promote reporting and help cover the costs of proper disposal, CFIA will pay up to $500 per head for cattle confirmed dead from anthrax. Indemnity is also available for horses, bison, sheep, swine, goats and farmed elk and deer.
For general inquiries about anthrax, call 1-800-442-2342 (toll free) or visit the CFIA website at www.inspection.gc.ca.
CFIA also lists cases and maps for positive anthrax at www.inspection.gc.ca/english/anima/disemala/anthchar/situatione.shtml.