After reports this month of anthrax deaths in bison in Saskatchewan and Wood Buffalo National Parkofficials are now reporting anthrax deaths in cattle in Saskatchewan and Alberta.

Image/Jean Gagnon
Image/Jean Gagnon

It has been confirmed that a cow, from a farm in the rural municipality of Harris, southwest of Saskatoon, died due to the dangerous bacterial disease, anthrax. CBC News reports anthrax is also suspected in the deaths of two other animals.

In addition, officials with the Alberta Agriculture and Forestry have reported confirmed cases of anthrax in two separate beef cattle farms in the Fort Vermillion area.

These most recent cases serve as a reminder for beef producers to be on the look-out for anthrax.

A few sporadic cases of anthrax are reported in western Canada nearly every year, typically between the months of July and mid-September, usually following periods of hot weather.

Anthrax is caused by the bacteria Bacillus anthracis. The bacterial spores can lie dormant in the ground for decades and become active under ideal conditions, such as heavy rainfall, flooding and drought. Animals are exposed to the disease when they graze or consume forage or water contaminated with the spores.

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