The death of 113 animals associated with the anthrax outbreak has led to the quarantine of about 28 herds in Saskatchewan. Spore-forming bacteria that can spread among animals through contaminated feed, pasture or soil during grazing cause anthrax.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has given the green signal for vaccination of all animals on farms tested positive for anthrax. However some veterinarians in private practice, have run out of vaccine.
According to Dr. Sandra Stephens, a Saskatoon-based veterinary program specialist with CFIA, "This is an area that doesn't typically see anthrax, so veterinarians don't typically have it in stock," adding that although there was no shortage of vaccine with the manufacturer, the only challenge was in getting it to the area quickly enough.
The CFIA's laboratory in Lethbridge, Alta has retested and confirmed more than half of the quarantined farms for anthrax. While most farms under quarantine raise cattle operations with horses, swine, bison and white-tailed deer have also been quarantined.
Farmers whose animals have died from anthrax can claim an indemnity of $500 a head for cattle and $350 per horse. This indemnity is mainly made available so that farmers report anthrax cases and properly dispose of carcasses.