Healthcare Tips

Livestock Producers Urged To Take Precautions Against Anthrax, Canada

January 02, 2020

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is reminding livestock producers to protect their animals from anthrax.

Anthrax can affect a wide range of animals. Although humans are susceptible to anthrax infection, it is rare to find a human case of anthrax associated with an outbreak in animals. As a precaution, producers should not handle or move an animal carcass suspected of being infected with anthrax.

Disease-causing spores are known to naturally exist in soil across the Prairies. The melting of last winter's heavy snowfall and wet conditions in parts of Western Canada increase the potential that spores are exposed and could be ingested by grazing animals. The first cases of anthrax for 2008 were confirmed in late May, following the death of 13 cattle on a farm in the Rural Municipality of King George, Saskatchewan.

Vaccination prevents anthrax in most animals. The CFIA encourages producers to consult with their veterinarian about making anthrax vaccination a part of their regular herd health program, and about the importance of giving booster vaccinations. This is particularly important for animals present in areas where anthrax has been recently confirmed. All detected cases are posted on the CFIA website.

By law, all suspected or confirmed cases of anthrax must be reported to the CFIA. As a precaution, producers should immediately notify their veterinarian of any sudden deaths in their herds.

When anthrax is confirmed, the CFIA quarantines affected premises while proper decontamination and disposal activities are undertaken. Producers of livestock affected by anthrax may receive an indemnity in the range of $100 to $500 per animal, depending on species, once the CFIA confirms that appropriate disease control actions are complete.

In 2007, anthrax was reported on 23 premises in Manitoba, six premises in Saskatchewan (four premises during the winter months and two premises during the summer months) and four premises in Alberta.

The CFIA works closely with provincial and municipal colleagues and industry to raise awareness, facilitate testing of suspect animals, and to provide recommendation to address the risk of anthrax across the Prairies.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency