Saskatchewan warns livestock producers after confirming cases of anthrax

Laboratory results have confirmed that the recent death of nine animals within the RM of Piapot #110, was due to anthrax. The RM is located within the southern part of the province just east of Maple Creek.

Saskatchewan Agriculture posted a release August 24, 2022, reminding producers to be on the lookout for anthrax in their animals and to be mindful about the conditions that can prompt the growth and spread of the bacteria.

“Changes in soil moisture, from flooding and drying, can lead to a build-up of the spores on pastures. Spores can concentrate in sloughs and potholes, and there is increased risk of animal exposure to anthrax in drier years when these areas dry up and become accessible. Spores can also surface when the ground is excavated or when there is excessive run-off,” says the Ministry.

Animals that are the most susceptible are ruminants including bison, cattle, and sheep and goats, but horses can also become infected. Swine and birds are the most resistant. Although carnivores are somewhat resistant to the bacteria, the Ministry does warn that dogs and cats should be kept away from infected carcasses.

Carcasses of livestock that succumb to anthrax should not be moved or disturbed and producers should be wary of keeping them protected from scavengers such as coyotes and ravens to help prevent the spread of the bacteria. Those with suspected cases of anthrax should contact their vet for a diagnosis. If a laboratory result confirms the bacteria, the result needs to be reported to the provincial chief veterinary officer.

Animals can be protected against the bacteria through a vaccine, the province says.