Montana cow herd infected with brucellosis
by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
May 22, 2007
Last week, a beef cow shipped from Baker, Montana tested positive for brucellosis, according to a press release from Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer and the Montana Department of Livestock. This week, cattle from a second herd are under quarantine and are being bled for brucellosis testing.
“We are concerned about our brucellosis free status,” said Schweitzer. “Federal and state agencies are investigating the test results now and we will continue to work toward solutions to keep Montana’s brucellosis free status.”
The state maintains its brucellosis-free status until two herds test positive under federal guidelines. If Montana loses status, all adult cattle going out-of-state will be brucellosis tested at the owner’s expense. “If we lose our status we will be looking at ways to help ease the burden on private livestock owners,” said Schweitzer.
The cattle testing positive for the disease belong to Montana legislator Bruce Malcolm of Emigrant, who runs a total of about 500 animals in his closed cattle operation. Malcolm, a Republican, reportedly suspects wild bison in the Yellowstone region could be responsible for the disease transmission to his herd, although the Democratic governor of the state claims such a likelihood is “remote.” With Malcolm reportedly adding only two new bulls to the herd in the last 15 years, the likelihood of transmission occurring from other cattle seems remote.
Montana currently has no state veterinarian, with the former vet quitting and the new vet coming on board in a few months. Montana is home to an estimated 2.5 million cattle. The second cattle herd currently being tested for the disease is located at Bridger, Montana, at a ranch operated by Malcolm’s children. Results should be available at the end of the week.
May 1, 2007: 51 head of Angus cows were tested for brucellosis in Baker, MT for destination to Iowa.
May 4, 2007: 1 Cow tests positive.
May 8, 2007: Cow was euthanized at Iowa State University. Blood samples were positive for brucellosis
May 16, 2007: Trace-back herd of 301 cows in Bridger, MT were tested at the MT Department of Livestock Diagnostic Lab.
May 18, 2007: Blood tests from trace-back herd: 6 of 10 are positive for brucellosis.
May 22, 2007: Investigation continues.