The Wyoming Livestock Board is testing cattle around the state for tuberculosis after learning that a herd in South Dakota was exposed to the disease. 86 animals from that herd were shipped to Wyoming in late February.
Wyoming State Veterinarian Jim Logan said TB in cattle is serious since it means producers with exposed cattle must quarantine their herds, and testing the animals requires cattle to do two trips through the shoot for shots three days apart.
And, worst of all, the symptoms of TB aren’t obvious.
“An animal that coughs and has a respiratory discharge, that type of thing,” said Logan. “But the disease has a long incubation period and can be, like I say, real, real subtle, even in animals that have developed that pathology. So frequently signs are not even noticed until an animal is well advanced with the disease.”
Logan says TB in cattle is also serious because humans can catch it from them.
“Human cases are not common but they do occur and we have had cases in this country in people who worked around especially dairies where there was TB,” said Logan. “And the milkers could pick the disease up. So people working around cases of TB in cattle need to be very cautious.”
Logan said, of the animals that have been tested so far, none have tested positive for tuberculosis.