Anaplasmosis is also a pathogen that primarily affects White Tail Deer. No one has ever seen it in Mule Deer before. So they believe that this form could be a mutation. However, none of the tests that have been done on the cattle are confirming that Anaplasmosis is what is killing the cattle.
If this disease has in fact mutated...they have no idea of what all types of animals it could or could not infect. There are more questions than answers at the moment.
People in Nebraska are noticing a winter tick infestation on their horses as well. This is definitely a growing concern to animal owners all over this area. Primarily, it has hit particularly hard after the spring storms we have had. The animals are stressed and that is all it seems to take. Once they go down...it's over...they die. One of the primary symptoms seems to be rapid weight loss, weakness and hairloss. Some of the animals look like they have been starved for quite some time and yet only a few days before they were fine.
Can whatever is going on affect horses? No one knows. No one thought what was killing the deer could infect the cattle either. While they are linked, it is not the same thing. As awful as it sounds, I hope the only reason those horses are dying is from starvation. If this disease/pathogen has mutated to where it could in fact infect horses and there is no remedy, it will be worse than the West Nile epidemic that swept the country.
Cattle are dying in the western part of South Dakota. Numerous cattle!!
One place lost 51 head. Another 40+(and counting)...another 11 bulls...another over 100 head of bred cows, dead.
And you know what?
They don't have much of a clue of what this is killing them. The local vets are working overtime, running every test known, involving veterinary colleges and...the Game, Fish and Parks.
Awhile back I posted about the multitude of deer dying around my mom's place. Based on the condition of the deer-wasting away to nothing before dying...We assumed that it was Chronic Wasting Disease. Well, mom contacted G,F&P about these deer and for months, they blew us off.
Yea...not so much these days!
I'll back this story up a bit, so everyone knows what we know...at this point!
A few years ago, mom started noticing ticks on her horses in the winter. The first year, just a few. We thought it was odd. Normally, ticks just don't survive in the winters around here. But for many years, we have had abnormally mild winters. Sooo...we rather assumed that it just wasn't getting cold enough to kill them off or cause them to hibernate(or whatever they do).
Last winter, every horse at my mom's was absolutely infested with ticks. Hundreds of them. Plus, we were finding horse lice. We treated everything and that seemed to be the end of the problem.
This winter, we have kept a pretty close eye on everything and sure enough, in February we started finding ticks and lice on the horses again. Not everything this year though. So we treated anyone we found with them.
So, for the last couple of years, there have also been dying deer around the area. No one really seemed overly concerned...because it seemed that only the Mule deer have been affected and with the overpopulation, it seemed nature was just taking care of herself. This year, the deer have had a dramatic die-off. They would get thin and their hair looked like it was shedding in huge patches. They looked just awful and then they would just die. Wherever they happened to be standing. I'm not kidding. One was walking along the fence line and just fell over dead.
So far, we have removed about 20 from the yard this winter and after the last blizzard, the draw below the house has at least 6 dead deer in it. The thing is...these deer are all coated in ticks.
Then stories started surfacing about people losing cattle. Once those stories started to surface, you heard stories that people had noticed their cows didn't look very good and were covered in ticks, so they had had to treat them...in the middle of the winter!
Now, it's really coming out. The livestock papers are running stories of dying cattle and it even made the news. Some of the cattle tested came back positive for Blue Tongue. A disease that kills off White Tail deer. We had that about 10 years ago around here. But they do not know WHAT, specifically is killing the cattle.
The deer apparently are dying of Anaplasmosis. A tick-born disease that can infect ANY animal that is bitten by an infected tick. So far, the only known deaths associated with this disease is in fact the deer. They are not entirely sure that this is what is killing the cows, as the tests have not confirmed a definite disease or pathogen.
As they come out with more information...I'll keep you all posted. This is a new problem in our area and much like the spread of West Nile, nothing has any immunity to it. All they have been able to conclude is that it is most likely being spread by a new type of winter hatching tick. So far, no equine deaths have been associated with this disease, but that does not mean that horses, or pets or people cannot be infected.
Link to News story and video provided curtesy of SunnyinSD...Thanks!
Oh, and hey....That's my primary veterinarian!! Norma rocks. Don't get on her bad side though.;-)