Not at all my normal kind of thing for here on Traveller’s Haven Farms, but just imagine… You are a farmer. You are just getting going with your Sunday morning routine and you get a call. The caller says they have some questions for you, but the most important thing is the information they have for you. Information that you have an entire herd of dead cattle out in a pasture. Numbering around two hundred head in fact. What a way to ruin a perfectly good day otherwise. Anyway, this or at least something similar to this, occurred in Wisconsin today. Facts are still sketchy and of course there is still a good deal of speculation, but this is what is know at this point.
First, of course there is all the speculation that the world is ended. After all we have had several incidents of birds seemingly just dying in mass at this point, going back the first day of the year, mostly in Arkansas and the latest large-scale incident in Alabama, but also including Kentucky and Missouri. We have added in a massive fish kill that at least initially also seemed to be inexplicable. And now, around two hundred head of cattle just dropped dead overnight. Clearly the world is coming to a very rapid end, right? Probably not.
Someone spotted the dead cows in a field near the Stockton, in Portage County Wisconsin. After spotting what appeared to be a mass group of dead cows the Portage County Human Society and eventually Portage County Sheriffs Deputies were notified and headed up the process. They located the farmer who was the owner and after some questioning, the farmer is alleging that he was working with a local large animal vet to treat the cows something that was ailing them.
Suspicions were that it was either IBR or BVD. IBR, or infectious bovine rhinotracheitis and sometimes called red nose, is a contagious virus that effects the air passages and hence air flow for the animal. There is a vaccine for it, but any cow not vaccinated or having already had it could contract it if exposed, especially in a herd like environment BVD , or bovine virus diarrhea is as you would like expect, causing digestive and immune system problems, as well as impacting other systems. It would be likely that death would brought about by a combination of those issues combined with dehydration.
Questions still remain clearly though. At the latest reports I have read, the vet had not been located to confirm the treatment. Several samples have been collected and sent to the livestock diagnostic center. One has to wonder though, if the cows were being treated and the issues were so severe, why was a greater eye not being kept on the progress or in this case decline of the animals? After all, we all know a disease is likely to cause the death of a few head here and there in a herd, but by checking on them and ministering to the needs we save most.
Much remains to be resolved in this case. Still, it would be day that just sucks, regardless of the cause.
** – Some facts in the case were garnered from the WisconsinRapidsTribune.com website.
** – Image from geograph.org.uk, by Mike Harris, Creative Commons licensing.