Today’s Topic: Cattle owners should be on lookout for anaplasmosis

By on November 5, 2013

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler sits down each week with Southern Farm Network’s Rhonda Garrison to discuss “Today’s Topic.”

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Cattle farmers in North Carolina should be on the lookout for anaplasmosis, a disease that could harm or even kill their animals. The disease has already been confirmed in 11 cattle herds in the state this year, and results on a 12th case are pending at the Rollins Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory. The state had eight cases of the disease last year.

Anaplasmosis is infectious and affects the circulation of red blood cells. It can cause fever, severe anemia and death. It is common throughout the country, and it can be spread by ticks, other insect bites and the sharing of contaminated needles. This disease is more often seen in the fall. It mainly affects adult cattle, but can harm cattle of any age. Symptoms include lethargy, loss of appetite, muscle tremors or weakness, pale gums, labored breathing and dry muzzle.

The disease can also affect sheep and goats, but is not a threat to humans.

State Veterinarian David Marshall recommends that cattle owners contact their veterinarians if any of these symptoms are noticed. The sooner the disease is diagnosed and treated, the better for the herd. If severe anemia sets in, any stress on the animal could result in death. The disease is fatal in about 30 percent of cattle who get it.

Cattle farmers should consult with their veterinarian on a plan to diagnose and treat a herd if anaplasmosis is suspected. The NCDA&CS Veterinary Division can assist producers and veterinarians as needed in diagnosing and eliminating the disease from a herd.

Click on the audio player below to listen to Commissioner Troxler and Rhonda talk about anaplasmosis and why the disease is more common in Eastern North Carolina.

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