North Dakota confirms anthrax in beef cow

North Dakota's state veterinarian recently announced that a beef cow in the state has been confirmed to have contacted anthrax.

State veterinarian Dr. Susan Keller said the recent case is the first in the state since the beginning of the year. North Dakota usually confirms a small number of anthrax cases in livestock every year.

"A case of anthrax has just been confirmed in Stark County," Keller said. "Cattle producers should be sure their animals are current on vaccinations." "Producers should contact their veterinarians to determine when and if their animals should be vaccinated and that their boosters are up to date. They should also monitor their herds for unexpected deaths and report them to their veterinarians."

Keller said that North Dakota's dry pastures and short grass are ideal conditions for cattle to ingest anthrax spores and develop the disease. In 2005, anthrax killed nearly 500 head of cattle, bison, sheep and llamas.

"Thanks to efforts by veterinarians and extension agents to encourage producers to vaccinate their animals, we saw a dramatic reduction in livestock deaths the following years," Keller said. "We need to keep up that vaccination effort to prevent another major outbreak."