Herding blood-sucking pests away from cattle

By Connie Orcutt • Published: October 1st, 2016
Category: Animal Airwaves

Outdoor animals are prime targets for bugs and the germs they carry. That goes for big beasts as well as small.

For example, anaplasmosis [anna-plas-MO-sis] in cattle is a serious disease caused by a blood parasite. When a tick or biting fly takes blood from an infected bull, cow or calf, it picks up the parasite. Then it infects the next animal it bites. Calves born to infected cows can also be infected.

Anaplasmosis destroys oxygen-carrying blood cells, causing weakness, labored breathing and even death. The brain becomes oxygen-depleted, so infected animals can behave oddly.

Antibiotics only tamp down the disease—they don’t cure it. So try to keep infected cattle out of your herd. Ask your veterinarian for advice before bringing cattle in from elsewhere. And keep anaplasma-positive cows or bulls isolated from others.