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Animal Health

APHIS grants bruc. extension

Written by Christy Hemken
Cheyenne - The Wyoming Livestock Board (WLSB) has received an official letter stating the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has granted an extension for the depopulation of a herd in western Wyoming from which cattle have tested positive for brucellosis.
    The Daniel producer who owns the herd will test his cattle again on Aug. 25 and 26, after which the samples will be delivered to the state vet lab in Laramie. Wyoming Assistant State Veterinarian Jim Logan says results should be known by Aug. 28.
    “According to the extension, after he’s informed of the results of the testing he has two working days to make a decision about depopulation,” says Logan. For example, if he gets the results on a Friday he’ll have until the next Tuesday to make a decision. The original deadline for depopulation was Aug. 29, after which Wyoming would have lost its brucellosis-free status.
    If the producer does decide to depopulate his herd, he’ll have 30 days following his decision day to complete the action. If not, he’ll stay under quarantine until there are at least three full-herd negative tests taken no less than 30 days apart. The last one has to be at least six months later, if not more, and has to be after calving.
    “In the second test we took in July, 30 days after the first test, we found seven more positive, so it’s very possible that we could have some more, but it’s also very possible we could not,” explains Logan. “The reason we do these tests at least 30 days apart is because of the variation in the incubation period in any given animal. Although they all may have been exposed at the same time, they may not all test positive at the same time.”
    Logan says sometimes brucellosis can incubate for longer than a year, but that anywhere from two weeks to a few months is typical. “In rare cases there have been animals exposed as calves that haven’t shown up positive on a blood test for several years,” he says, explaining that Latent Heifer Syndrome is a mystery in that it incubates but doesn’t show up on a test.
    “Now we’re waiting on the producer and trying not to put any more pressure on him than he already has,” notes Logan. “It’s a big weight to have the status of the entire state on your shoulders.”
    In a mid-August meeting the WLSB adopted changes to the Chapter 2 Brucellosis Rules that expand the area in which brucellosis testing is required. Due to increased elk seroprevelance in western Park County, the WLSB is concerned about the possibility of the spread of brucellosis from elk to cattle in that area. Emergency rules that would go into effect immediately have been sent to Gov. Freudenthal.
    The emergency rules will be in effect for 120 days, during which the Chapter 2 rules will be out for informal comment for 30 days, followed by a formal comment period of 45 days. A draft of the proposed rules can be obtained from the WLSB at 307-777-7515, or on the WLSB website at http://wlsb.state.wy.us.
    Public meetings will be held to discuss the proposed rules in Pinedale at the Pinedale High School Auditorium, 101 E. Hennick Street, on Sept. 23rd at 7 p.m.; in Cody at the Park County Extension Office, EOC Room, Courthouse, 1002 Sheridan Ave., on Sept. 24 at 7 p.m.; and in Douglas at the Fairgrounds Cafeteria on Sept. 25 at 7 p.m.
    Christy Hemken is assistant editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..