Anthrax in cattle farming – symptoms, treatment & prevention
Educating yourself about what Anthrax is and how it can affect your cattle will be a really smart move. Knowing how to prevent this disease is vital as it’s highly contagious and difficult to treat. Keep your animals healthy and happy by finding suitable equipment on AgriMag.
What is anthrax?
Anthrax is an infectious disease that affects grazing animals such as cattle and sheep. It can also affect humans. The symptoms associated with this disease are the result of an infection by the bacillus anthracis bacteria. This disease is easily spread because the tiny spores produced by these bacteria can remain in the environment and soil for extended periods. It can be spread through animals and their products, such as wool or animal skin. Breathing in the spores, or consuming infected, meat can also cause infection.
What are the different types of anthrax?
The different types are defined according to how the disease is spread. Cutaneous anthrax is contracted through the skin while inhalation anthrax is caused by breathing in spores. Intestinal anthrax is an outcome of consuming infected meat. The way that anthrax is contracted influences the symptoms of infection.
What are the symptoms?
The sudden death of cattle is the main sign of infection. Cattle typically die two to three hours without displaying any symptoms. In some instances, animals may tremble or have a high temperature. They may also struggle to breathe or have convulsions in some cases. An indication that their death was a result of anthrax infection is if their blood doesn’t clot. You may notice bloodily discharge coming from their nose or mouth.
A diagnosis is made according to these symptoms. A blood smear can be used to confirm the infection as the bacteria will be visible in the surface blood vessels when it’s tested. It’s important to note that a post-mortem shouldn’t be carried out if there’s a chance that the animal died from anthrax. In these instances, farmers should wait until the blood smear comes back with a negative result before they carry out further investigations. While it’s important not to open the dead body of the cow in these cases, if you do, you’ll generally notice a swollen spleen as well as cavities filled with bloodstained fluid.
What are the incubation and infectious periods?
The infectious period is typically between one to seven days but it can extend to two months. It’s rare for one person to infect another person. Spores present on articles or in soil are dangerous as they can be infectious for years to come.
How is anthrax treated?
The disease causes rapid death so it’s difficult to treat. Often the first signs of anthrax infection are the death of cattle, which makes it challenging to know that treatment is necessary. In some cases, high doses of penicillin have been used effectively. Inhalation anthrax can be treated using antibiotics. If people have been exposed to the disease, they may need to take preventive antibiotics.
How can anthrax be prevented?
As anthrax is difficult to diagnose in time to treat, prevention is vital. Prevention protects your cattle from death and it also helps to prevent this disease from spreading. If you notice cattle dying suddenly, it’s important to notify your vet immediately. If anthrax is suspected, your farm will be quarantined. When cows are infected, the rest of the herd needs to be vaccinated. It’s vital that the deceased animals are handled properly so that spores don’t contaminate the soil. In regions where there have been outbreaks of anthrax, cattle and other grazing animals should be vaccinated.
Now that you know more about anthrax, you can take the necessary steps to protect your cattle well.from this deadly disease. You can also find farming equipment for sale on AgriMag.