Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Livestock disease found in 2nd Mont. cattle herd
First Published Oct 04 2013 01:25 pm • Last Updated Oct 04 2013 01:25 pm

BILLINGS, Mont. » The livestock disease brucellosis has turned up in another cattle herd in the Yellowstone area — the second such case in just over week, state officials announced Friday.

Test results from a federal animal health laboratory confirmed the infection in a bull from a herd of about 550 cattle in Park County, Veterinarian Marty Zaluski said.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Another case was confirmed in a Madison County cow last month. The disease has since been found in two more cows from that 1,100-animal herd, Zaluski said.

Brucellosis can cause pregnant cattle to prematurely abort their young. It’s been largely eradicated in the U.S. but persists in wildlife from the Yellowstone region of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming.

The last time Montana had two herd infections within a short period, in 2007 and 2008, it triggered federal sanctions that hampered livestock exports and harmed the reputation of the state’s billion-dollar cattle industry.

Although those rules have since been eased, the recent back-to-back infections illustrate that brucellosis remains an active problem in the Yellowstone area. And industry representatives elsewhere are paying attention: Texas last month adopted a new rule requiring additional brucellosis testing of breeding cattle imported from the Yellowstone area.

Yet Zaluski said Texas’s rule is unwarranted. He points out that more aggressive testing was put in place after the state temporarily lost its brucellosis-free status in 2008.

With frequent testing, cattle producers can catch the disease soon after it’s transmitted to cattle from wildlife such as elk, which in turn protects against infections spreading unchecked within livestock herds, Zaluski said.

All of the animals that were infected had received vaccinations. While the vaccinations don’t protect animals from initial exposure, they can prevent miscarriages that serve to spread brucellosis when other animals come into contact with an aborted fetus.

"We’ve succeeded in limiting transmissions with a herd, but unfortunately you aren’t able to entirely prevent infections," he said.


story continues below
story continues below

The infected bull from Park County was killed Sept. 23 so tissue samples could be taken after a positive field test. Brucellosis tests on animals from adjacent herds are underway in Madison and Park counties.

The new testing rules in Texas came partially in response to a brucellosis case that occurred there in 2011. State Veterinarian Dee Ellis said in announcing the rules that Texas "must remain vigilant in monitoring for new incursions of brucellosis and protecting the state’s agriculture industry from possible threats."

The number of cattle exported from the three Yellowstone states to Texas is relatively small. Montana, for example, exports only about 6,000 breeding cattle to Texas annually.

But Zaluski said the Texas rule could set a precedent for other states because it discredits efforts by Montana ranchers and animal health authorities to effectively manage the disease.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.