The Saskatchewan Chief Veterinary Office reported a recent case of anthrax on a pasture located 8 kms from the Manitoba border, west of Provincial Highway 83 in line with the intersection of the highway and Provincial Road 57. There was one confirmed death and two suspected but not confirmed in a large group of cow calf pairs. The area has a history of anthrax in past decades, exasperated by dry conditions and subsequent short term rainfall. The majority of the affected group had been previously vaccinated. All animals in the group were treated with antibiotics prophylactically and all unvaccinated animals will be immunized after an appropriate interval. Note in both Manitoba and Saskatchewan, burning on site in a pyre is the preferred method of disposing Anthrax infected carcasses. However, the dry conditions led to a high fire risk. The infected carcass was disposed of by deep burial with a formaldehyde treatment.
Producers and veterinarians are advised that anthrax remains a risk in many areas in both provinces, as anthrax spores can remain viable in soil for decades. Vaccination is strongly recommended for cattle grazing in areas that have a history of anthrax. As anthrax is a provincially reportable disease in both provinces, any suspect cases should be reported to the respective Chief Veterinary Offices. More information regarding anthrax in livestock can be found at https://www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/animal-health-and-welfare/animal-health/anthrax.html