Department of Livestock Keeps Watchful Eye on Canadian Tuberculosis Cases

The Montana Department of Livestock (DOL) is actively monitoring the bovine tuberculosis (TB) investigation in Canada. In late September, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) initiated an epidemiological investigation after bovine TB was detected in a Canadian cow at a United States (US) slaughter facility.

As of December 2, 2016, there are six confirmed cases of bovine TB in Canada, including the index animal detected at slaughter in the US. Of the roughly 40 premises currently under quarantine, most are located in Southeast Alberta with about five premises in Saskatchewan. DOL has long standing requirements that cattle coming from Canada need to be tested for TB prior to import.

“Despite what feels like close proximity of this incident, Montana cattle producers remain safe,” said Montana State Veterinarian, Marty Zaluski. “Canada’s vigorous response, combined with our requirement that Canadian cattle be TB tested before entering Montana, keeps the risk low for ranchers in the state.”

Zaluski is not planning to place additional requirements on Canadian cattle coming to Montana at this time. “I am closely monitoring CFIA’s efforts and am ready to act aggressively if needed,” said Zaluski.

Historically, DOL has recognized the efforts of other state and provincial animal health officials to effectively deal with disease events, and expects the same in return.

CFIA policy requires that all positive animals and any animals exposed to positive animals be humanely destroyed. All exposed animals will be tested first and those that test negative will be eligible to enter the food supply. At this time approximately 10,000 cattle are to be destroyed. The strain of TB identified in the index case closely resembles a strain associated with cattle in Central Mexico, suggesting that wildlife are an unlikely source.

The mission of the DOL is to control and eradicate animal diseases, prevent the transmission of animal diseases to humans, and to protect the livestock industry from theft and predatory animals. For more information on the department, visit

MSGA has been closely monitoring the recent TB outbreak in Canada. We have corresponded with State Veterinarian, Dr. Martin Zaluski, DVM and the Montana Congressional Delegation in D.C.. We are feeling confident at this time, that Canada’s aggressive response to the outbreak is the right approach and that Montana’s cattle herd should not be impacted.  

Reproductive Vaccines and Technology Advantage | Stockgrowers College Preview

Scruggs photo 2014-2The 2015 Montana Stockgrowers Annual Convention & Trade Show is just a few weeks out. This year’s meeting offers a great lineup of speakers and educational workshops for Montana ranchers. To view all the highlights from this year’s Annual Convention, click here. RSVP on the Facebook event so you do not miss a thing. If you are following along on social media, share your experience (and anticipation!) with the hashtag #MSGA15 on Twitter and Instagram. View the tags from all networks on Tagboard.

Stockgrowers College sessions will be held at different times all three days of the Annual Convention. Times vary and some sessions repeat. Check the final meeting program for times and room assignments.

Zoetis Cattlemen’s College

New vaccine options for reproductive protection in cowherds

Time: Thursday, December 3 at 2:00 p.m.

Speaker: Dr. Daniel Scruggs

Heifer development is of course important to the lifelong productive of the cow.  Heifer development and cow vaccination programs may seem complicated and at sometimes awkward, but results from a 3 years reproductive study at Auburn University reveals some unique options available for cow herd vaccination strategies with solid data on expected protection in the face of BVD and IBR exposure.

Dr. CornersAre we really using all of the available technology to the best of our advantage on the cow calf operation?

Time: Thursday, December 3 at 4:00 p.m., Repeats Friday, December 4 at 10:30 a.m.

Speaker: Dr. Blaine Corners

Cattle producers have spent their lives and vast resources improving genetics on their herd.  Results are apparent in operation after operation.  The questions posed are these:  are we, as an industry, providing supporting management to fully capitalize on genetic gains?  Do we provide basic nutrition that promotes optimal growth, reproductive efficiency, and immune response?  Do we properly safeguard our investments with sufficient and proper vaccination protocol, deworming and strategic use of anti-infectives?  If growth-promoting implants have been pulled from our operations giving us opportunity to sell into niche markets, are potential premiums covering lost productivity?  Do our operations capitalize on time tested feed additives?  Dr. Corners talk will examine a few pieces of gold that we might step over, or just miss completely.

Our sponsor, Zoetis, makes these Stockgrowers College sessions possible. Be sure to visit their booth in the Trade Show – Thursday from 3:00 to 9:00 p.m. or Friday and Saturday from 1:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Why is Biosecurity so important in my cattle operation?

MSU Extension Montana Nutrition Conference and Livestock ForumBy Dr. Jeanne M. Rankin, MSU Extension, Agro-Emergency Projects Coordinator-

This is the time of year that people are showing their cattle at large exhibitions across the country and exposing them to many other ranches and farms and different diseases and parasites. We don’t often think about the potential to bring home disease from shows that we are so excited to exhibit our animals in to advertise our great breeding programs.

We are busy feeding, clipping and prepping our animals and getting all of the feed and tack ready to go, we often forget to think about minimizing our animals’ risk of picking up an infection at the show. Our animals are tied next to others and may have the ability to be nose to nose with other animals or to share feed and water buckets, thereby increasing the risk of bringing home a disease.

Most diseases of any significance to beef cattle are spread via the respiratory or GI tract- BVD, Johne’s, or any of the shipping fever diseases (IBR, BRSV, Pasturella, Haemophilus or PI3) and take several days to a week to develop an infection in our show animal. Most people might be feeding them separately at home prior to the show but afterwards they are often turned out amongst the rest of that age group, able to spread any respiratory or GI secretions with everybody. By simply keeping them or any new additions to the herd penned separately for 2 -3 weeks we can avoid spreading a contagious disease to our entire herd.

I have heard stories of people going to cattle shows and coming home with either BVD or Johne’s. BVD can be managed and treated- of course with reproductive losses as a potential; but Johne’s disease is completely devastating and impossible to remove from your landscape once it is present. If we can apply good Biosecurity practices for the common diseases we will be able to minimize the risk of highly contagious diseases like FMD, wiping out our individual herd as well as the national herd.

Top 10 Livestock Biosecurity Tips

My top ten taken from my Farm First Biosecurity ™ program:

  1. Have a Bio-Security Plan posted, review it annually and stick to it.
    • Assess your risks (Animal movement, Disease risk, Facilities, Feed and bedding, Veterinarian, Human movement)
    • Manage the risks after identification
    • Communicate the mitigation factors (Signs, Boot wash, Employees, Visitors)
  2. Keep a Closed herd-limit/restrict non-natural additions
  3. Isolation pen for sick or purchased animals
  4. House common aged animals together-“All in-All out” Neonates are very susceptible to diseases and many neonatal diseases can be prevented by reducing exposure to older animals.
  5. Reduce stress of crowding by having adequate bunk space, shelter and limiting additions
  6. Proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for environment- footwear, coveralls, foot baths, gloves etc.
  7. Separate cleaning utensils for sick pen and healthy pens. Different forks for hay versus manure pile
  8. Limit visitors from:
    • Similar species operations- Dictate fresh change of footwear and clothing before visiting your barn and pens
    • international visitors from livestock operations- Foreign Animal Diseases
  9. Wildlife/Pets Biosecurity
  10. Have an Emergency Preparedness/Evacuation Plan

Selected websites for further review

Please visit with your herd veterinarian for more information relative to managing/minimizing risks specific to your herd.