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Animal Health

Riverton – In early February, Wyoming State Veterinarian Jim Logan updated livestock producers on brucellosis, trichomoniasis and livestock identification at the annual Fremont County Farm and Ranch Days in Riverton.
    “The only real changes with brucellosis and trich are where they are this year,” said Logan of the diseases that continue to plague Wyoming livestock.
    “Since 2010 we’ve had five cases of brucellosis, one of those being an ‘almost’ case, where one cow out of a couple hundred in Sublette County showed up positive,” said Logan. “All the other cases turned up in Park County in late 2010.”
    One of the Park County cases showed up in a group of heifers that were being sold as breeding stock near Meeteetse.
    “According to our rules, any sexually intact female sold for breeding has to be tested, but there are many underage heifers that get sold for feeding and circumvent the rule, though we know they’ll end up in a breeding herd,” said Logan. “Our main rule is that any cattle 18 months and older have to be tested, and had this group of heifers not been tested, it would have created a mess someplace, whether in Wyoming or in another state. They would have gone through without being detected, until someone ended up with a case of brucellosis in their cowherd, and it would have been a bigger mess if it had happened to one of our trading partners. That’s when brucellosis testing becomes a trade issue.”
    “All of the brucellosis cases we’ve had in Wyoming, going clear back to the Parker Land and Livestock case in 1988, have been shown to come from an elk source,” noted Logan. “We’re still struggling to get anything done to control it in elk, or even in wild bison.”
    Logan mentioned that the Brucellosis Designated Surveillance Area (DSA) was expanded somewhat in April 2011 to encompass all of Park County, a small part of Hot Springs County and more land in southern Lincoln County. Although conflict surrounded that decision, Logan said, “We have to protect marketability of all Wyoming’s cattle, not just those in the DSA.”
Interstate ID is coming
    “Interstate movement of livestock will affect everyone – cattle, sheep, horses and poultry,” said Logan. “Sometime in spring or summer, USDA will put out a rule that will, in all likelihood, require at least breeding cattle to have an official ID prior to moving across state lines.”
    “Horses will not be exempt from the new rule. Brands will work to some extent, but USDA will probably go with something like the L Form for Wyoming’s brand inspection program, which is the lifetime,” said Logan, noting that digital photos or microchips could be used in conjunction.
Trich remains a problem
    “The main reason to talk about trich this year is that it continues to be a problem,” said Logan of the disease that continues to plague Uinta and Lincoln counties, in particular.
    “Uinta County has had trich in the same area for the last four years, and it’s difficult to get it cleared up,” said Logan. “The people in Uinta County have suggested that the Wyoming Livestock Board should require a test on every bull in that county, and I agree, but I don’t think the Board will do it.”
    Logan said he has recommended a couple times to the Board that, since trich is circulating around the state, every bull should be tested one time.
    “In the last 10 years we’ve found trich in every county but three, and testing every bull one time would help us find the isolated pockets where it keeps popping up, and maybe we could get it cleaned up,” he said.
    Christy Martinez is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Andy Acton of Deep South Animal Clinic in Ogema, Saskatchewan reminds cow/calf producers that baby calves have to absorb antibodies from their mother’s colostrum because they don’t get any from her via the bloodstream while they are in the uterus.  

This passive immunity from colostrum is very important, he emphasizes.

“There is more to passive immunity from colostrum than the temporary immunity,” Acton says. “There are other factors gained from colostrum than just the antibodies absorbed when calves suckle the first time.”

Understanding disease

Illness occurs when the body is overwhelmed by infection, Acton explains. A healthy animal with strong immunity is less likely to become sick.  

“Immunity refers to the body’s ability to fight off pathogens, and this ability is developed in a complex process in which the body creates specific weapons for fighting specific invaders,” he says.

One method of fighting off infection involves production of antibodies.  When pathogens like viruses or bacteria enter the body, they start invading tissues and causing damage by multiplying and creating toxic products.  

Acton notes the damage stimulates the body to create an antibody to react with the invading agent and neutralize it.  

Antibodies are carried throughout the body in the bloodstream.

Acton comments, “A cow in a clean environment may not become exposed to very many disease-causing organisms, but cattle are often confined in corrals, small pens or pastures that have been contaminated by heavy cattle use and come in contact with other cattle, with more chance of disease spread.”  

Through vaccination and natural exposure to various pathogens, he notes the cow develops many antibodies and strong immunity.  

“During the last part of pregnancy, she puts these antibodies into the colostrum she produces, so her calf can have instant immunity right after he suckles,” Acton comments.

Inside colostrum

Along with antibodies in colostrum, Acton says, “There is also some absorption of white blood cells of different kinds in that colostrum from their mother.  These are not present in a colostrum replacer we’d buy.”

Calves get more actual protection from the dam’s colostrum than from a commercial product. 

“Some of the immune modulators that are not actual antibodies are also important to the calf,” Acton says.

Absorption window

Newborns have a limited window of time to absorb antibodies from their mother’s colostrum.  

“The optimal time for colostrum consumption is the within the first six hours of life,” Acton explains. “But, this window may be smaller in certain conditions. We may only have two hours of optimal absorption in cold weather.”  

“Some factors shorten this window, and some things lengthen it,” he says.

Biological factors

As soon as the calf suckles, the “open gut” starts to close to prevent absorption of pathogens. 

Acton explains suckling stimulates the gut to close up, because it’s always a race between the antibodies from colostrum and the pathogens the calf might ingest.  If the calf manages to suck a little bit or if producers feed it a little, the gut closes up quicker than if the calf had nothing.  

“The time window for the gut to absorb something in this situation is a lot longer than if the calf gets a small amount of colostrum,” he explains.

Heather Smith Thomas is a correspondent for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

After markup of the Animal Drug User Fee Act (ADUFA) reauthorization by the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Allison Cooke, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association  (NCBA) Government Affairs executive director, is optimistic the bill will move forward through Congress at a relatively fast pace.

“ADUFA is a program that is in place to allow for user fees to pay for employees at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to make sure we get animal drugs that our producers use every day pushed through and verified for safety and efficacy,” Cooke explained in a recent edition of “Beltway Beef,” NCBA’s official podcast. “This program ensures producers can turn around and use those drugs to keep animals safe and healthy.”

She added, “It’s an important program we have to reauthorize every five years.”


In about five minutes on Feb. 28, the committee marked up and approved ADUFA, and Cooke said, “We’re glad to see the committee pushed this through very quickly.”

Ed Frank, NCBA communications director, noted that, despite political differences from committee members, the bill was efficiently moved.

“Elizabeth Warren and Orrin Hatch were both in the room, and the bill still sped through on a 22-1 vote,” he said.

Cooke added, “Members on opposite sides of the political spectrum came together in agreement that makes sure we verify animal drugs and FDA does the job they are given. This is important to everyone who is eating beef.”

She also said the effort was very bipartisan, which is necessary to overcome the diverse backgrounds of the committee.


The bill must move through a full Senate approval, which looks promising, given the ease of passage out of committee, and early discussion with members of the House of Representatives, who must also pass the bill, are also positive.

“The committee on the House side is ready to get moving,” Cooke said. “They’re ready to see something from the Senate, also hoping it was a clean bill, and I think that’s what they’re going to receive.” 

Cooke further emphasized, “We need to get something done before the August recess because Sept. 30 is our deadline.”

“NCBA’s goal was to push through a straight reauthorization to the bill without a lot of extras added in or amendments offered,” Cooke said. “I think what we saw in  this approval was a committee that the agreement that the important thing is that ADUFA is approved in time so that animal drugs continue to be verified by FDA.” 


ADUFA was first authorized in 2004 when the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act authorized FDA to begin collecting fees for application of certain animal drugs to support testing and verification that new drugs are safe and effective for animals and post no risk to the public. 

According to FDA, “These additional resources support FDA’s responsibility and enhance the timeliness and predictability of application review for sustained performance.” 

The bill was reauthorized in 2008 by President George Bush and in 2013 by President Barack Obama, extending the program through Sept. 30, 2018. 

In addition to maintaining the current authorization, 2013’s reauthorization reviewed timeframes to further reduce timeframes for specific segments of FDA’s review. Changes were also made to allow FDA to adjust fees to account for inflation and add enhancements to technical considerations in the bill. 

“The reauthorization of ADUFA for Fiscal Years 2014-18 were targeted to generate $114 million in user fees over five years,” FDA said.

Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at

As the year progresses, Wyoming has thus far stayed out of the way of the long list of diseases that could threaten the state’s livestock industry, and Wyoming State Veterinarian Jim Logan says, “We’ve had a few situations with some reportable diseases, but nothing that is really scary or out of the ordinary.”
    From vesicular stomatitis, epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) and bluetongue to West Nile Virus and anthrax, Wyoming has seen no serious disease outbreaks.
Vesicular stomatitis
    “We’ve dodged the bullet so far,” says Logan of vesicular stomatitis. “We have had six reports of potential vesicular stomatitis in horses in the last few months.”
    While all reports were investigated by a foreign animal disease diagnostician and sent to Plum Island Animal Disease Center, none came back as positive for the disease.
    “In New Mexico, the last number showed 23 premises that had quarantined animals for vesicular stomatitis,” he continues. “Colorado had two premises that were quarantined.”
    All of the quarantined animals were horses.
    Logan notes that those numbers represent totals from the summer and some of the premises have since been released from quarantine.
Bluetongue and EHD
    “EHD is very similar in appearance to bluetongue in sheep or cattle,” Logan explains. “We have had suspicions of bluetongue or EHD, but none have turned out to be the disease.”
    Logan also mentions that the Wyoming Game and Fish Department says that some wildlife have died as a result of EHD, and Nebraska has seen a number of cases in cattle.
    “The most notable thing is that Nebraska has found numerous cases in cattle, and that is really rare,” he explained. “It is not something you expect to see.”
    Because the virus can potentially affect both cattle and sheep, Logan says that people need to be vigilant, for EHD as well as bluetongue.
    “The best thing for us this time of year would be if we can get a good, hard, killing frost,” he notes. “It would put an end to the likelihood of the disease for this year.”
    When looking for EHD in animals, Logan says that producers should watch for animals that slobber a lot or get lesions in their mouth, usually on the tongue, hard palate or lips. Animals may go off feed or water as well.
    “Wildlife does the same thing,” he explains. “Producers should report any vesicular or oral lesions to their veterinarians. We’re not out of the woods as far as EHD or bluetongue is concerned until it frosts hard and eliminates the insect vectors.”
    Because the viruses and vectors EHD and bluetongue are similar, where one exists, the other can be seen
    “With bluetongue, we did a pilot project,” Logan explains. “The state vet lab, with funding from the Livestock Board, did a vaccination study, which appears to be fairly successful.”
    The study’s small scale was likely not responsible for the lack of bluetongue outbreaks, but did show encouraging  results.
    “So far we’ve been lucky with bluetongue,” adds Logan.
    With anthrax showing up in northeastern Colorado in several locations, Logan says, “We’ve had some potential situations that have not turned out to be anthrax.”
    “We checked into anything that was suspicious and have not found it in Wyoming,” he continued.
    While producers may be able to notice the disease in live animals, it’s acute nature and rapid course means that infected livestock are usually found dead. Livestock with depression and showing difficulty breathing may just be breaking with the disease, but Logan says finding live animals is rare.
    “Both drought and flood years can give rise to the spores surfacing where they can affect grazing livestock,” he says. “People need to be aware that it is a zoonotic disease, and precautions should be taken around animals that have the disease.”
    Surrounding states regularly see cases of anthrax, but this year, none have appeared in Wyoming. Wyoming has not seen anthrax for several years.
West Nile Virus
    “As of Sept. 13, four horses have been found positive with West Nile Virus,” Logan says, noting that his numbers represent reported cases of diseases. “A lot of data is gathered by the regional veterinary coordinators around the state.”
    Wyoming’s nine regional veterinary coordinators work with the state’s health department and the Wyoming Livestock Board to report cases.
    “There have been cases in sage grouse,” he continues. “The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has been monitoring for it.”
    When looking for West Nile Virus in horses, Logan comments that there are a wide variety of symptoms that can be seen, and severe symptoms are seen only in extreme cases.
    “Sometimes the signs are very subtle. Most horses that get infected don’t ever show clinical signs,” he says. “Those that do will be lethargic, and it will affect their appetite. They can also show some degree of neurological symptoms.”
    Neurological symptoms vary from a droopy lip or eyelid to inability to stand or staggering when walking.
    “If diagnosed, a veterinarian can symptomatically treat with fluids and anti-inflammatories,” Logan says, emphasizing, “Every spring, people should vaccinate their horses for West Nile Virus, as well as for sleeping sickness and tetanus.”
    For this year’s animal health situation, Logan comments, “Occasionally we’ll find a non-quarantinable disease that we want to know is out there. We’ve found Johne’s disease and sore mouth in sheep, but really nothing that is super contagious or out of the ordinary.”
    For more information on animal health in Wyoming, contact Jim Logan at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Use of antibiotics in the animal agriculture industry is continually under fire, with calls from the public and Congress to significantly slow use of antibiotics in food animals.

“I represent the industry, and I’ve seen a lot through my experience in my vet practice and now in the industry,” commented Animal Health Institute Vice President of Regulatory, Scientific and International Affairs Richard Carnevale. “While the regulatory environment going forward affects antibiotic use and development, there is a component to the discovery and development of new products and the public perception of what is happening.”

Carnevale noted that the public takes issue in the use of medically important antibiotics in food animas and marks it as contributing to antibiotic resistance. As a result, the discovery and development of new products is important.

Discovery and development

“In scientific discovery, it is difficult to find a new compound that is successful,” Carnevale explained. “Only one in 20,000 compounds are successful.”

Once a compound is developed, it first goes through preliminary trials including bacterial test and chemical screens. After passing those trials, drugs are introduced to pre-clinical trials, usually in the form of general lab animal acute, chronic studies and dose ranging studies.

“If it goes that far, the antibiotic goes into full blown clinical trials with the target animal or humans,” he continued. “It goes into controlled field trials, and if it is a food animal, residue studies and the regulatory review.”

Once approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Carnevale noted that animal drug approvals are then published in the Federal Register and ongoing monitoring continues.

On top of a limited chance of success, he added that the expense of developing new drugs is monumental.

“The process takes seven to 10 years,” he said, “and can cost $100 million.”

Each new pharmaceutical product costs an average of $38.8 million, but most companies agree that developing products for beef cattle costs closer to $100 million or more.

Rigorous approval process

The FDA approval process is extensive and rigorous, including quality, safety and efficacy trials.

“Quality deals with how well it is manufactured,” explained Carnevale. “With regard to safety, there are several components.”

Not only are animal drugs required to be safe to the animal and the environment, FDA also conducts human food safety trials to ensure residues in food aren’t present.

“FDA spends time related to toxicology, residue depletion, tolerance levels and withdrawal times,” Carnevale said. “With antimicrobials, there are additional requirements, including the impact of food residue on human gut flora.”

Additionally, guidance documents also require FDA to look for the potential for antibiotic or antimicrobial resistance selection and the impact to human health through food.

“The process is more complicated for animal drugs than it is for humans,” Carnevale mentioned, “which leads to added complications in getting animal antibiotics approved.”

New developments

“All new antibiotics approved in recent times have been approved for short duration, by prescription or by veterinary feed directive (VFD),” commented Carnevale. “There have been no new products for herd or flock administration.”

Since 2003 when FDA implemented Guidance 152, Carnevale said that drug approval has been limited to very targeted drugs distributed under prescription.

“Guidance 152 is portrayed as a qualitative risk assessment, but it is about risk management,” explained Carnevale. “They look at the antibiotic resistance in the animal, exposure in food and the consequence to human health.”

He noted that critically important human medical products would likely be very restricted, as a result.

FDA categorizes new drugs as low, medium or high risk, and all recent products have been rated medium to high risk, or categories one and two.

Future development

For future development, Carnevale marked that companies will prefer to research products with no human use or unique analogs will be preferred.

“It is highly unlikely that new antibiotics will be available over the counter,” he said, “and it is likely that administration will be very focused to individual injections and individual animal application.”

Additionally, future developments will focus on world food production needs.

“In development of novel antibiotics that meet animal health, food safety and human health needs, the challenge lies in whether the regulatory agencies are going to cooperate,” Carnevale commented. “If it is a risk-only equation, we aren’t going to get very far.”

Carnevale presented at the National Institute of Animal Agriculture’s One Health Approach to Antimicrobial Resistance and Use Symposium, held in Columbus, Ohio on Nov. 13-15. Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..