With summer heat kicking in anaplasmosis is top of mind for cow-calf producers across the country. The same could be said for attendees at Drovers Cow-Calf Cowboy College in Springfield, Mo. where many questions were fielded by the veterinarians leading the discussion.
Anaplasmosis is an endemic disease in many parts of the U.S. It is spread by insect vectors such as ticks and large flies like horse flies, says Mike Apley, DVM, and professor of production medicine at Kansas State University.
Not only do insects spread anaplasmosis, but so do cattle through blood contact.
“If you get anplasmosis positive animals from an endemic area, and they are carriers, using a needle on them on a susceptible animal is very likely to spread the disease to the susceptible animal,” Apley says.
Both Apley and Dan Thomson, DVM, professor of production medicine at Kansas State University, agree that using new needles and pregnancy checking sleeves are important to reducing the spread of the disease in infected cow herds.
“I’m to the point in cow herds that I’m changing sleeves between cows and changing needles,” Thomson says. He adds that you wouldn’t like it much if your own doctor used the same gloves and needles on you at the hospital.
To drive home the point losing a cow because of spreading anaplasmosis could cost thousands of dollars. A new sleeve or needle only costs a few cents. Thomson recommends that in areas where anaplasmosis is endemic that producers invest in a new needle and sleeve per cow.
This type of protocol wouldn’t need to be done in all herds because the disease isn’t found everywhere. However, it is a good idea to implement this strategy because more common diseases like bovine viral diarrhea can be spread similarly.
Doing a blood test for anaplasmosis is a way for producers to know if their herd is clean.
The disease is more susceptible in adult animals like bulls and cows. Young animals are better suited at surviving anaplasmosis, but they can be carriers of the disease.
An option for producers to help control anaplasmosis is chlortetracycline (CTC).
Apley points out that CTC requires a prescription through the Veterinary Feed Directive and approved for anaplasmosis prevention in cows. When CTC is put out in mineral and feed it is about the herd, so not every animal is going to get the right dosage.
A vaccination for anaplasmosis is available in some states. Apley has heard anecdotal accounts from producers who have had success with the vaccine, but he’d like to see further research performed. Kansas State is currently doing some research to see the efficacy of the vaccine.
This year’s Cow-Calf Cowboy College brought in more than 150 cattlemen from 14 states.