Anthrax vaccine recommended before turning cattle out to summer pasture


Jody Heemstra, DRGNews (SD)

May 4, 2021


Pierre, SD, USA / State Veterinarian Dr. Dustin Oedekoven recommends South Dakota cattle producers vaccinate against anthrax prior to turning cattle out to summer pastures.


Anthrax is caused by bacteria that can develop into an environmentally resistant spore form that can remain in the soil for decades. Under the right conditions, these spores can be ingested by cattle during grazing, after which the spores become activated and produce toxins that cause rapid death. Anthrax can be prevented in cattle by administering a vaccine which is widely available, inexpensive, and very effective.


While the anthrax risk has been well-documented in many parts of South Dakota, and anthrax vaccination of cattle is routine in those areas, it is not always possible to predict where cases may occur. Environmental extremes, such as drought and flooding, may aid in making anthrax spores available to livestock. The number of annual cases of anthrax in cattle has decreased significantly due to an efficacious vaccine.


If anthrax is suspected, contact your local veterinarian or the Animal Industry Board ...