McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Features

September 23, 2010

Prevent anaplasmosis in cattle

McALESTER — Many Oklahoma beef producers associate anaplasmosis with horse flies, and keep up a prevention program only during fly season. Unfortunately, many of these same producers are still experiencing anaplasmosis problems well into the winter, because biting flies are only a minor vector compared to other ways the disease can be transferred.

In many areas, especially wooded or brushy pastures, ticks are more important vectors than biting flies. Ticks are an all-year problem in many areas of Oklahoma, so the control program also needs to be maintained all year. Stockmen also spread the disease from carriers to susceptible animals by not removing all traces of blood from equipment when processing and working adult cattle. The organism can be carried by needles, dehorners, castration knives, ear taggers, or any other implement that draws blood. It is sometimes possible to determine the source of the outbreak by the way cases develop. When insect vectors are responsible there will usually be one sick animal, followed several weeks later by multiple cases. If human transfer is the case, several sick animals will show up at the same time, two to four weeks after the cattle were worked.

Signs of the disease include orange coloration of the mucous membranes due to breakdown pigments released from red blood cells that are destroyed. As more  red blood cells are destroyed, the animals become slow and short of breath. They may exhibit aggressive behavior due to a shortage of oxygen supply to the brain.

The most popular means of anaplasmosis prevention is the use of mineral mixes that contain chlortetracycline. When fed at a rate of 0.5 mg/lb. of body weight, CTC will prevent anaplasmosis infections. It is important to note, however, that CTC is added to mineral for several different reasons, including use as a growth additive. Make sure that the product you choose states on the label that it is formulated at a rate for the prevention of anaplasmosis.

In conclusion, beef producers can minimize the impact of this disease by  utilizing good sanitation concerning hypodermic needles and surgical instruments, and utilizing a preventative such as tetracycline in the mineral. Remember, your local veterinarian can help design a preventative program that is best suited for your location and operation.

Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability or status as a veteran and is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

David Cantrell is the Extension Agriculture Educator for the Pittsburg County Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service. Contact him at 423-4120, or e-mail david.cantrell@okstate.edu.

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