Numerous animal health issues crop up in Wyo
The last several weeks have been a hotbed of animal health issues, and recently, Wyoming State Veterinarian Jim Logan explains that there are some things to be concerned about, but others that shouldn’t be overemphasized.
Among several hot topics are the recent discovery of atypical bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and the increased occurrence of blue-green algae in the state, as well as a renewal of rules for trichomoniasis.
On July 18, UDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced that an atypical case of BSE was discovered in an 11-year-old cow in Alabama.
“They key thing that people need to be aware of is that this is not classical BSE like was found in the cow in 2003,” Logan said. “This is not feed related, and that is important. This has nothing to do with anybody violating ruminant feed bans.”
Logan also noted that, while BSE may affect markets, it is important for people not to overreact.
“This is not the same BSE that the world worries about,” he commented.
APHIS affirmed in their announcement that BSE is not contagious, and the atypical variety generally occurs in older cattle, usually eight years old and older. In addition, atypical BSE seems to arise spontaneously and rarely.
“Atypical BSE cases do not impact official BSE risk status recognition, as this form of the disease is believed to occur spontaneously in all cattle populations at a very low rate,” APHIS said. “Therefore, this finding of an atypical case will not change the negligible risk status of the United States and should not lead to any trade issues.”
Of greater concern for producers, Logan emphasized, is the presence of blue-green algae blooms that have appeared across the West.
“Blue-green algae is an important topic that people need to be aware of,” he said. “We haven’t had any confirmed reports, but blue-green algae can be very dangerous to livestock and humans.”
Wyoming’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), the Wyoming Department of Health and the Wyoming Livestock Board (WLSB) advised the public to keep away from blue-green algal blooms, saying, “Blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria, can form harmful algal blooms (HABs) that produce toxins and other irritants, which pose a risk to human, pet and livestock health.”
HABs, says DEQ, are generally blue or green in color and may appear as scums, clumps, floating mats or spilled paint.
Algal blooms should be reported immediately to DEQ by calling 307-777-7079, and Logan says livestock should be immediately removed from the area.
“Don’t let dogs swim in waters that are impacted, and move cattle, sheep and horses away so they don’t drink it,” he said. “The toxins produced can cause two or three different syndromes that result in anything from skin lesions to production of neurotoxins that are deadly.”
DEQ emphasizes, “Do not drink or consume the water in areas where HABs are present. Boiling, filtration or chlorination will not remove toxins and will not make water safe for drinking.”
If people, pets or livestock come in contact with a bloom, they should be rinsed with fresh water as soon as possible, and medical or veterinary attention should be sought.
Finally, Logan mentioned that the WLSB renewed its special focal area for trichomoniasis (trich) in the southwest corner of the state.
“The special focus area includes most of Lincoln County, all of Uinta County and the southern part of Sweetwater County south of I-80,” he commented. “The old order had been in place since 2013, and it was well accepted.”
He also noted that producers wanted to keep the order intact, but it required several updates.
“The board order needed to be updated to disallow the use of culture testing for consistency with the new Chapter 15 rules, which were approved by the board,” Logan said. “Chapter 15 provides for polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing and allows pooling. We needed the order to be consistent with our rules.”
The order was renewed on July 11 and requires all bulls still not nursing their mothers and originating from or entering the special focus area to be tested negative for trich one time between Sept. 1 and May 31 of the following year or before being exposed to female cattle.
Any comments or questions on the order can be directed to Logan at 307-857-4140.
Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.