Life-threatening disease, area cattle part of state test

Staff writer

Veterinarians in Marion County are helping with a statewide study aimed at determining prevalence and risk factors of a life-threatening cattle disease.

The Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory has asked vets to test for anaplasmosis while working with cattle herds.

Often spread by ticks or horseflies, bovine anaplasmosis can cause anemia, jaundice, breathlessness, weight loss, abortion, and sudden death. If an animal survives being infected, it remains a carrier, posing risk to others in the herd.

Veterinarian Jessica Laurin, of Animal Health Center in Marion, said stockmen in the county have seen quite a few deaths from anaplasmosis in recent years.

When the weather gets cool, cattle are more likely to get infected, Laurin said.

Veterinarian Brendan Kraus, of Spur Ridge Vet Hospital, said testing began Oct. 1.

Calves are less susceptible to the disease, Kraus said.

“Here the prevalence is high,” Kraus said. “I think it could be as high as 70 percent.”

Kraus said the antibiotic chlortetracycline is used to fight anaplasmosis in cattle who are known to be sick. Sometimes they show no symptoms of illness.

He said he’s heard that anaplasmosis can overwinter in the tick population.

Gregg Hanzlicek, director of production animal field disease investigation for KSVDL, said samples have begun coming in to the laboratory.

Hanzlicek said vets are asked to select 10 adult animals when they work with a herd specified for testing and take blood samples from each.

“It will determine the different strains of anaplasmosis in Kansas,” Hanzlicek said.

Cattle producers will be given information if their herd tests positive, Hanzlicek said.

Tests run through January.

Last modified Oct. 12, 2016

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