The Edmond Sun

Features

October 8, 2012

Cattle owners must beware blood-borne disease in their stock

COLLEGE STATION — Fall’s arrival means it’s time for cattlemen to watch their herds for signs of anaplasmosis. This disease can be devastating if not treated properly or in a timely manner.

Anaplasma marginale is a parasitic organism transmitted through blood transfer by biting insects and ticks, or by surgical instruments such as needles. The organism attaches to red blood cells, which the body then removes, causing cattle to become anemic, explained Dr. Meredyth Jones, assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences’ Large Animal Hospital.

Anaplasmosis appears most often in the fall because symptoms surface 21 to 45 days after infection — typically after the busy biting fly season of late summer. Cattlemen in Southern states need to be particularly cautious because the disease appears most frequently south of Kansas.

“Many times cattle can be infected and show no signs of illness,” Jones said. “But during the fall months, if we are called on to examine a sickly, weak cow, anaplasmosis is high on our list of culprits.”

Cattle in the acute phase of infection may appear weak, “down” and generically sick due to anemia. Affected cattle may also exhibit white or yellow mucous membranes — such as eyes, muzzles, udders and vulvas. These membranes will appear white due to a lack of red blood cells, or yellow because of the pigments released as red blood cells are broken down and removed from the body.

Some cattle may even exhibit signs of aggressiveness, a behavior caused by lack of oxygen to the brain.

Anaplasmosis may appear in a chronic form, caused by a moderate level of anemia. Affected cattle lose weight over time, which can cause abortions in pregnant cows. The blood of infected cows in both phases will be thin in consistency, almost watery, when examined.

“For a clinical diagnosis, veterinarians will commonly test a cow’s blood for anaplasmosis with a blood smear,” Jones said. “We can actually see the organism attached to the margin of red blood cells with a microscope.”

In the acute phase, anaplasmosis can be fatal if not treated properly. Ill cattle must be treated with great care, said Jones, because the stress of handling cattle can be fatal if the disease is advanced.

“If you suspect a cow of being infected, don’t chase her with horses or dogs if you can help it. You really need to handle them delicately to reduce their stress as much as possible,” Jones said.

The most common treatment is the use of tetracycline antibiotics. Improvement in cattle’s symptoms can be seen within a few days, but it takes between two to four weeks to see a significant recovery of red blood cell numbers.

As with most diseases, prevention is ideal. Jones recommends fly tags, rubs and pour-on insect repellents to ward off biting insects and ticks. She also suggests changing needles between each cow when vaccinating or administering medicines. Another option is to add low levels of chlortetracycline to the feed to kill the organism before it replicates and attaches to red blood cells.

Unlike many diseases, which attack young and elderly populations, anaplasmosis mostly affects middle-aged cattle. In fact, most deadly cases occur in cattle between six and eight years of age. Younger cattle are better able to regenerate red blood cells and recover, often developing immunity.

Jones says cattlemen should pay particular attention to their adult cows and bulls as the season progresses, watching for symptoms characteristic of anaplasmosis.off the shelves.

PET TALK is a service of the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University.

 

1
Text Only
Features
  • Keep these tips in mind for May gardening

    Here are a few things to keep in mind as you head into your May gardening routine. Keep ahead of the weeds. We are always happy for the rain, but wet ground can keep us out of the garden and that allows weeds to grow by leaps and bounds. Now is the time to guard tender plants such as tomatoes, eggplant and peppers against sudden late frosts. During the first part of May you may be planting beans, early corn, okra and late potatoes. You also may be replacing tomato plants lost to late frosts. Finish setting out cabbage, lettuce, cauliflower, beets, etc.
    Here are some things to do:

    April 24, 2014

  • Cats outsmart the researchers

    I knew a lot had been written about dogs, and I assumed there must be at least a handful of studies on cats. But after weeks of scouring the scientific world for someone - anyone - who studied how cats think, all I was left with was this statement, laughed over the phone to me by one of the world's top animal cognition experts, a Hungarian scientist named Ádám Miklósi.

    April 23, 2014

  • clock edit.jpg Antique clock collection on display at Edmond Library

    In a world that’s often hurried and brief, the Sooner Time Collectors have nothing but time. Oklahoma chapter members of the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors have provided antique pieces from personal collections to display at the Edmond Library until the end of April.
    Since the 1950s, Sooner Time Collectors have gathered to learn about the inner workings of clocks and to admire one-of-a-kind finds. Of interest to the community is their involvement with repairs for the Cowboy Hall of Fame clock and the UCO tower. They now have 35 members who meet monthly as a chapter of the 16,000-member NAWCC community across America and the world.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Be on the lookout for termites

    Warming temperatures and spring rainfall means swarming conditions for the homeowners’ nemesis in Oklahoma — the termite.
    Termites are Mother Nature’s way of recycling dead wood, as well as aerating the soil and increasing its fertility and water percolation. They are an important food source for other insects, spiders, reptiles, amphibians and birds within the food web, and they are essential for the wellbeing of the environment.

    April 23, 2014

  • McCain 1 House Republicans are more active on Twitter than Democrats

    Your representative in the House is almost certainly on Twitter. Your senator definitely is. But how are they using the social network? Are Democrats more active than Republicans, or vice versa? Who has the most followers on the Hill?

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Do your genes make you procrastinate?

    Procrastinators, in my experience, like nothing better than explaining away their procrastination: General busyness, fear of failure, and simple laziness are just a handful of the excuses and theories often tossed around. Now researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder have added another option to the list: genetics.

    April 22, 2014

  • VIDEO: Moose charges snowmobile, flees after warning shot

    While snowmobiling in New England, Bob and Janis Powell of Maine were charged by a moose and caught the entire attack on camera.

    April 22, 2014

  • 6th annual run event in Guthrie to benefit Free to Live

    The sixth annual “The See Spot Run” will take place at 9 a.m. May 10 in downtown Guthrie. This 5K, 10K and 1-mile run/walk event benefits Free to Live, a nonprofit animal sanctuary located Logan County. In the past five years of this event “The See Spot Run” has welcomed more than 3,000 runners and raised $30,000 for the Free to Live Animal Sanctuary.
    “The See Spot Run” will offer all participants the opportunity to compete in either the 5K or 10K event in addition to a 1-mile “Fun Run.” Walkers and runners (both two- and four-legged) are welcome and can register directly at www.theseespotrun.com. Visit www.freetoliveok.com. Donations also can be sent to “The See Spot Run,” P.O. Box 292, Guthrie, 73044.
     

    April 21, 2014

  • Touch-A-Truck event draws families to UCO

    Edmond Electric and Edmond Vehicle Maintenance are co-hosting the Edmond Touch-A-Truck from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 17 in the UCO parking lot off Second Street. Touch-A-Truck is a fundraising event that provides children of all ages with the opportunity to experience life-size vehicles and interact with community support leaders like police officers, firemen, construction workers and many more. Families will have the opportunity for a hands-on exploration of many vehicles such as Edmond’s own fire trucks and police cars, an Edmond Electric bucket truck and even a solid waste truck.
    Admission for the Touch-A-Truck event is a suggested $2 donation with the proceeds going to the Edmond HOPE Center. For more information, contact Edmond Electric at 216-7671 or email michelle.gumaer@edmondok.com.

    April 21, 2014

  • Why do wolves howl?

    Of all the myths that dog the wolf, none is more widely accepted than the idea that wolves howl at the moon. Images of wolves with their heads upturned, singing at the night sky, are as unquestioned as a goldfish's three-second memory or a dog's color-blindness (both also myths).

    April 20, 2014