Please tell me about Anaplasmosis?

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Re: Please tell me about Anaplasmosis?

Postby Lucky_P » Sun Jul 01, 2018 6:48 am

Yes, Jeanne, we have 'spread it around' - a lot - by selling/moving cattle around the country. Misconceptions, misinformation, and poor diagnostic tests in the past have contributed to the problem.
We used to think that 2 doses of long-acting oxytetracycline (LA-OTC) would 'clear' the infection, and that animals that survived the infection would 'clear' on their own. Truth is that neither of those are the case. Clinically-affected cattle that are treated and survive, as well as animals that are infected as calves (which don't become ill because their immune and blood-forming systems are in high-gear since they're rapidly growing) will not be 'cleared', but rather will be chronically infected, with low-level parasitemia, and can serve as a source of infection for naive animals.
The old Complement Fixation test that we used to use to test probably missed as many as 80-85% of those chronic low-level carriers - resulting in a lot of false-test-negative animals being sold around. The newer cELISA test is, however, very sensitive, and quite specific.
Anaplasma strains present in most of the US are tick-vectored, and biting flies like horseflies are of minimal importance in spreading it within a herd.

Whole-herd treatment with a LA-OTC is a double-edged sword, though I'm not sure that it's necessarily falling out of favor. You can't get enough OTC in a cow to kill/clear the organism... you're just slowing it down, hopefully long enough for the cow to kick up production of new red blood cells and survive... but if you treat an animal early in the incubation phase, as soon as the drugs wear off, the parasite picks up right where it left off, and you'll have new clinical cases 3-6weeks later. I saw cases from one herd that lasted from August into December one year, because every time they had another clinical case, they treated everything... and they kept suppressing the pathogen in those animals that were freshly infected... but as soon as the drugs wore off... here we go again.
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Re: Please tell me about Anaplasmosis?

Postby Jeanne - Simme Valley » Sun Jul 01, 2018 3:05 pm

So, by all rights, if a cow is diagnosed with it, it should be a kill cow. Obviously, the meat isn't a threat to humans - errrr - right?
Kind of a catch 22 - if she's sick & diagnosed, do you ship her sick - untreated. That would be your only choice I would think. But, by the time she was sick enough for a vet to come out & run tests, you surely would have already treaty with something, so she couldn't be shipped for X number of days, and by then she would be sick again.
Well, that sucks.
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Re: Please tell me about Anaplasmosis?

Postby Bright Raven » Sun Jul 01, 2018 5:55 pm

Jeanne - Simme Valley wrote:So, by all rights, if a cow is diagnosed with it, it should be a kill cow. Obviously, the meat isn't a threat to humans - errrr - right?
Kind of a catch 22 - if she's sick & diagnosed, do you ship her sick - untreated. That would be your only choice I would think. But, by the time she was sick enough for a vet to come out & run tests, you surely would have already treaty with something, so she couldn't be shipped for X number of days, and by then she would be sick again.
Well, that sucks.


The proper disposition of an animal confirmed infected with Anaplama ssp. might best be distruction and incineration. A Seedstock producer in my area who raises Simmentals - a producer who I think is one of the most knowledgeable in the business; I have taken Fire Sweep to his operation twice - takes anaplasmosis more seriously than anyone I know. Every animal that leaves his property is tested for anaplasmosis out of concern that he could be at risk of damages for spreading it to a buyers herd.
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Re: Please tell me about Anaplasmosis?

Postby Jeanne - Simme Valley » Sun Jul 01, 2018 6:12 pm

I'm interested to hear Lucky_P knowledge about the meat issue.
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Re: Please tell me about Anaplasmosis?

Postby Bright Raven » Sun Jul 01, 2018 6:18 pm

Jeanne - Simme Valley wrote:I'm interested to hear Lucky_P knowledge about the meat issue.


Anaplasmosis occurs in humans, different species infect humans. The concern with sending animals that you know to be carriers to a stockyards is losing control of the final use of the animal. At our stockyards, a buyer may purchase the animal from the ring, put it in his herd, vaccinate the whole herd by reusing one needle and the way we go! As Jackie Gleason would say.
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Re: Please tell me about Anaplasmosis?

Postby Jeanne - Simme Valley » Sun Jul 01, 2018 8:53 pm

We can earmark an animal going thru the sale to strictly be for slaughter only. I just was not knowledgeable if the meat was affected.
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Re: Please tell me about Anaplasmosis?

Postby Lucky » Mon Jul 02, 2018 8:20 am

Is this the same thing as “Fly Fever”? If so It would be very hard to keep out of the herd. You could do everything perfectly and if your neighbor doesn’t do the same you could get it. I believe there a shot the vet can give to prevent fly fever. We buy mineral to prevent it but it’s hard to say wether each cow gets enough. The shot is fairly expensive so folks that do it around here usually only do the bulls.
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Re: Please tell me about Anaplasmosis?

Postby Bright Raven » Mon Jul 02, 2018 8:33 am

Lucky wrote:Is this the same thing as “Fly Fever”? If so It would be very hard to keep out of the herd. You could do everything perfectly and if your neighbor doesn’t do the same you could get it. I believe there a shot the vet can give to prevent fly fever. We buy mineral to prevent it but it’s hard to say wether each cow gets enough. The shot is fairly expensive so folks that do it around here usually only do the bulls.


As stated above, anaplasmosis is primarily carried by the bite of a tick. Flys play a very minor role in transmitting it from your neighbor's herd into your herd. Once it gets in your herd, it can be transmitted from cow to cow by reusing a needle that was stuck into a cow that is a carrier. Then, you stick the same contaminated needle in a healthy cow and then she is infected.

Using antibiotics in feed/mineral is generally considered ineffective.
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Re: Please tell me about Anaplasmosis?

Postby Lucky » Mon Jul 02, 2018 10:44 am

I read that it was transmitted by ticks and can only stay alive for a few minutes outside the host body. It also said horn flies can’t transfer it but I would think a horse fly could. I knew disease could be transferred while working Livestock but don’t know of anyone thats changes needles and syringes for every cow. Does anyone here do this? Might be interesting topic to discuss.
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Re: Please tell me about Anaplasmosis?

Postby Bright Raven » Mon Jul 02, 2018 11:15 am

Lucky wrote:I read that it was transmitted by ticks and can only stay alive for a few minutes outside the host body. It also said horn flies can’t transfer it but I would think a horse fly could. I knew disease could be transferred while working Livestock but don’t know of anyone thats changes needles and syringes for every cow. Does anyone here do this? Might be interesting topic to discuss.


I change needles between cows. Always have.
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Re: Please tell me about Anaplasmosis?

Postby TCRanch » Mon Jul 02, 2018 11:59 am

Lucky wrote:I read that it was transmitted by ticks and can only stay alive for a few minutes outside the host body. It also said horn flies can’t transfer it but I would think a horse fly could. I knew disease could be transferred while working Livestock but don’t know of anyone thats changes needles and syringes for every cow. Does anyone here do this? Might be interesting topic to discuss.

Lucky, it's a PITA to prep before working cattle but after 1 positive anaplasmosis & 2 with lymphoma I switched to a disposable syringe & needle for every cow, calf, bull & replacement heifer. The only time I use a repeater syringe is if I'm doctoring a cow for whatever reason.
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Re: Please tell me about Anaplasmosis?

Postby Lucky_P » Mon Jul 02, 2018 12:10 pm

No issue with regard to safety of beef from an animal that's seropositive for anaplasmosis.

Yes, I change needles. Have discussed it here on numerous occasions.
I do re-use syringes for administration of the same vaccine/medication to multiple animals.

Any cow born here after 2007, and any heifer which has the slightest possibility of staying as a replacement ALWAYS gets her own new, sterile needle each time we 'work' them.... I may reuse needles on the SAME animal... for instance, giving a mlv, then switching that needle over to a syringe containing a dose of Clostridial or Lepto bacterin... but a needle that's been in an animal never goes in and out of a bottle of vaccine or medication, and for the most part... not into another animal.
I will reuse needles on steers and heifers I'm not retaining... because someone will be eating them before BLV (MY concern, but if I had anaplaz in the herd, it would be consideration #1) would be a problem.

A clinically-ill Anaplasmosis cow will likely die without treatment... she'd likely never make it through the salebarn.
IMO, there's a huge difference in sales from seedstock producers and folks just running cattle through the local salebarn, but I don't see a positive test result as a need to kill and incinerate. If you have anaplasmosis in your herd... or you're in an endemic area and your herd is at high risk... vaccination is the way to go, IMO.

I know some of the folks here on CT live and die with salebarn cattle... personally, I would never consider buying an animal at the salebarn and taking it home... Maybe I'm wrong, but in my eye... if it's at the salebarn... there's a reason it's there, and I don't want it on my place.
With the exception of steers and feeder heifers that weren't good enough to stay (or, maybe they were crazy, etc.)... anything that leaves here probably needs to be going straight to slaughter... but I don't influence that, other than telling them... 'she's open' or, 'she's bred'. If someone's buying my stuff at the barn... it's 'caveat emptor'... I'm not selling something that I know is gonna die in the next week... but I wouldn't hesitate to sell a 'healthy' cow that's BLV- positive... or maybe even Anaplas-positive... I don't have to face the dilemma, as I don't have anaplasmosis in my herd... but I'm not sure whether I'd announce positive/negative status on a cull cow going through the local salebarn or not... if you're buying at the salebarn, I figure you're a big boy and you can take your chances.

I've sometimes suggested... and not necessarily jokingly... that if someone is testing their (commercial) herd for anaplasmosis titers, and they're finding a high percentage of positives... they might need to consider selling all the test-negative animals and keeping the positives! Those negative animals are at risk of becoming infected and dying; the positives are not... but they can serve as a source of inoculation for ticks that could transmit it to naive animals.
Calves born to those positive cows probably have a pretty reasonable likelihood of being infected early in life... becoming chronically-infected animals that also will never become clinically ill... but can serve as a reservoir for infection.

Valuable seropositive animals that you feel 'must' be restored to test-negative status can potentially be cleared by feeding high levels of CTC (2mg/lb body wt/day) for 60 days or so. It may take 3-6 months for their titer to drop back to 0... and they are susceptible to reinfection.
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Re: Please tell me about Anaplasmosis?

Postby Bright Raven » Mon Jul 02, 2018 12:50 pm

Thank you Lucky Pittman. Your perspective on how to dispose of infected animals is valuable info for me. Pays to be careful with anaplaz. I have heard one case where a law suit was filed because a seedstock producer passed an animal on at a major sale.

I would go grizzly bear hunting with an ice pick before I would buy stockyard cattle.
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Re: Please tell me about Anaplasmosis?

Postby Lucky » Mon Jul 02, 2018 1:20 pm

It wouldn’t be very expensive to use a new needle and syringe everytime but as TC says would be a major PITA for me. I’m just running commercial cattle and would never find any decent help that would swap needles everytime. We have discussed it though.
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Re: Please tell me about Anaplasmosis?

Postby TCRanch » Mon Jul 02, 2018 2:01 pm

Lucky wrote:It wouldn’t be very expensive to use a new needle and syringe everytime but as TC says would be a major PITA for me. I’m just running commercial cattle and would never find any decent help that would swap needles everytime. We have discussed it though.

I actually spend quality time a few days prior to working cattle preparing & filling the syringes. The syringes/vaccinations are separated by cows/bulls, heifers & calves and stored in individual coolers. Makes it easy when we're working cattle because I'll have a cooler of (for example) Covexin 8 giving shots one side of the chute while one of my crew has another cooler & is administering Triangle on the other - grab a syringe, give a shot, throw it in a bucket, one-n-done, run the next one through. I take the used needles to my vet, who disposes of them.
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