Texas officials say a case of Anthrax was confirmed last week in an equine located in Uvalde County. The premises, located about 25-miles northwest of Uvalde, is under quarantine.
Anthrax is a bacterial disease caused by Bacillus anthracis, according to the Texas Animal Health Commission, which occurs naturally in many areas, including parts of southwest Texas. The bacteria can surface, contaminating soil and grass when conditions are ideal. Animals ingest the bacteria by consuming contaminated grass or by inhaling the spores. A vaccine is available for susceptible livestock in high risk areas.
After exposure, death usually occurs within 48-hours of symptoms appearing in livestock. Acute fever followed by rapid death with bleeding from body openings are common signs of Antrax. Carcasses may bloat and appear to decompose quickly. Additional symptoms may include acute fever, chills, poor appetite, colic, and bloody diarrhea in horses. Experts say equines are less susceptible to Anthrax than cattle.
Anthrax affects mammals, including humans. If infected livestock must be handled, the TAHC encourages producers to follow basic sanitation precautions including wearing protective gloves, long sleeve shirts and washing thoroughly after to prevent the accidental spread of the bacteria.
TAHC regulations require vaccination of susceptible livestock on quarantined premises, as well as the proper disposal of the affected carcass by burning it. Quarantines are usually released by the TAHC 10 days after all requirements have been completed.
Livestock displaying symptoms consistent with Anthrax should be reported to a private veterinarian or a TAHC official.